Make Your Body Language Match Your Words — or Crash and Burn

July 5th, 2010

32 Comments

Does your body language show your confidence?

Ever attend a speech and something is off?

I mean, way off.

The guy says the right words, but you really don’t like him!

It’s likely that the speaker’s body language and words contradict one another.

Let’s face it together. We like things that match and that feel true.

For example, I have a friend who creates music like a Mozart. When she listens to my first draft of music I composed, her head bobs up and down in time with the beat. If she hears something that is a bit off — her head reflexively shakes “no.” [Oh, give me a break. It's a rough draft. How her "no" move feels like a dismissal! But I digress . . .]

And, that’s what happens when your body language fails to match your words. Inside, the audience shakes with “no . . . this is not truthful . . . I don’t like this.”

Now, I’ll share 3 Big Mistakes and how you can take action to really connect with an audience (or in a meeting).

Mistake #1: Your words say you’re confident and that your product will help — but your body language says, “Don’t hurt me.”

Imagine you hear someone say, “I’m confident that my product will solve your problem.” But the person is wringing his hands. Do you believe him?

Avoid “petting your own hand like a pet cat.”

Often when nervous, people pet one hand with the other hand. This looks like you’re doing some “self-comforting” — as if you’re saying to yourself: “There. There. I know you’re nervous in front of the big, scary people.”

Avoid the “Fig Leaf”

Another behavior to avoid is placing your hands together as if you’re covering or protecting yourself — near the bottom of your torso.

Avoid the “Mr. Spock”

Mr. Spock often held his hands behind his back. It’s almost as if he was saying, “I’d hit you Captain, but my hands are clasped back here.” [Okay, for non-Star Trek enthusiasts: Mr. Spock has emotions. He just restrains them.]

Here’s the solution:

Action #1: Use your peripheral vision, notice your hands, and gently undo nervous behavior.

So when you notice that your hands are doing something that reveals nervousness, just slowly and gently change your hand position.

Avoid moving your hands like: “Oh! I did it again!” Just move them slowly and gently away from each other.

Mistake #2: You try to answer a tough question, but your body language says “I’m lying” or “I’m scared” or “I’m incompetent”

Let’s say a speaker answers, “Thanks for your question.” But somehow, you feel that she doesn’t care — or that she doesn’t like your question — or she doesn’t like you!

How do you get this feeling? It is likely that only her face is pointed toward you.

It is reported that the FBI assesses whether a person is telling the truth by looking first at the feet, then hands, then the face.

Why is the face the last considered? Because many of us have been conditioned by parents to control our face (Every hear a parent tell a child: “Get that look off your face!”)

Here is the solution:

Action #2: Heart faces heart.

When you answer a question (even a tough question), turn your whole body and face the person. If appropriate, take one or two steps toward the person and include the person’s name.

Only say this if you can do it sincerely: “[turn your body so heart faces heart] Thanks, Sarah. I’m glad you brought that up. Now, I can mention . . .”

Mistake #3: You try to hide your real thoughts and feelings — but your body language “stutters”

Ever hide your feelings? (Am I kidding?)

Sure, we all do.

Now, when we make a speech, our body language is speaking so loud that our words are often drowned out.

The solution? Find something you believe in to include in your speech.

How? Even in a dry, statistics-driven speech, find a way to include a true, personal story. Your body language will line up with your words because you’re saying something true and personal.

I learned this during my training as an actor (and as a feature film director).

Often, you’ll see an actor start to slam a fist on the table — but there is a “stuttering” in the movement. Why? Because it is not true. The actor only just remembers the idea — or even a stage direction — to slam the fist on the table.

It is better for the actor — and for you as a presenter – to start with saying something true (to you) and then body language can flow naturally.

Action: #3 Find a chance to tell a true, personal story so that your body language expresses naturalness and truth.

How can you attach a personal story when you are just conveying a statistic?  You can relate your experience of how you responded upon first hearing that particular statistic.

*****

Remember to avoid these mistakes related to body language:

* Mistake #1: Your words say you’re confident and that your product will help — but your body language says, “Don’t hurt me.”
* Mistake #2: You try to answer a tough question, but your body language says “I’m lying” or “I’m scared” or “I’m incompetent.”
* Mistake #3: You try to hide your real thoughts and feelings — but your body language “stutters”

And, practice these positive actions:

Action #1: Use your peripheral vision, notice your hands, and gently undo nervous behavior.
Action #2: Heart faces heart.
Action: #3 Find a chance to tell a true, personal story so that your body language expresses naturalness and truth.

I’m glad to provide this information to you because your next speech can catapult your career or give you a career-scar. (And if you’re interested in one-to-one coaching, please contact my office at tomsupercoach@gmail.com).

Every moment you put into preparing your speech delivers a mountain of benefits.

Remember,

Courage is easier when you’re prepared.

Warmly,

Tom

Tom Marcoux
CEO,
America’s Communication Coach

Author of Nothing Can Stop You This Year: How to Unleash Your Hidden Power to Persuade Well, Get More Done, Gain Sudden Profits, Command Intuition and Feel Great – free chapter at http://bit.ly/8zQywm

and

Truth No One Will Tell You: How to Feed Your Soul, Save a Business, or Get a Job During an Economic Crisis free chapter  at http://bit.ly/8RTRk5

and

Be Heard and Be Trusted:
How You Can Use Secrets of the Greatest Communicators to Get What You Want, 3rd edition – free chapter at http://bit.ly/8H0rOO

 

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Categories: Double Your Sales, How to Be Trusted, Your Guide to Money and Abundance

32 Responses to “Make Your Body Language Match Your Words — or Crash and Burn”

  1. Judita Bacinskaite Says:
    July 5th, 2010 at 10:31 PM

    Thank you Tom, for these great tips! I really think that when you are giving a speech you have to face your audience to connect to them and tell a personal story to help you feel more relaxed and more natural so your body language is not distracting. Even in our daily life conversations we should practice these tips because a lot of times we do not even face the person we are talking to. How can we even understand each other….I think good communication starts with “Heart faces heart.”

  2. A Picnic With the French Language | Wine Reviews Says:
    July 5th, 2010 at 11:13 PM

    Tom, we have posted a link to your article “Make Your Body Language Match Your Words — or Crash and Burn”.

  3. Tom Marcoux Says:
    July 5th, 2010 at 11:16 PM

    Judita,
    about “Thank you Tom, for these great tips! I really think that when you are giving a speech you have to face your audience to connect to them and tell a personal story to help you feel more relaxed and more natural so your body language is not distracting. Even in our daily life conversations we should practice these tips because a lot of times we do not even face the person we are talking to. How can we even understand each other….I think good communication starts with “Heart faces heart.””

    Yes!

    Good point.
    I remember over the years walking with my father and
    we would be talking and looking at store windows and other things –
    instead of each other’s faces.

    Thanks for bringing up “Even in our daily life conversations we should practice these tips because a lot of times we do not even face the person we are talking to.”

    the best to you,
    Tom

  4. JoAnn Dahlkoetter Says:
    July 6th, 2010 at 12:11 AM

    Tom,
    Thank you – your excellent article on Body Language is exactly what I need to hear. I’ve made all the mistake you described, and telling a personal story is a great way for me to relax and have my body and mind be congruent. I love the way you use humor in your articles. You crack me up – very entertaining. And Thanks for incredible coaching for my speeches, my videos, and my marketing. Talking with you for 10 min. is like gaining 10 years of your experience. You give so much of yourself. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
    Here’s the link to the video you helped me produce, showing the good body language you speak of in your article above – Dr. JoAnn Dahlkoetter
    http://www.drjoann.com/media-room/

  5. Tom Marcoux Says:
    July 6th, 2010 at 12:19 AM

    JoAnn,
    about “Thank you – your excellent article on Body Language is exactly what I need to hear. I’ve made all the mistake you described, and telling a personal story is a great way for me to relax and have my body and mind be congruent. I love the way you use humor in your articles. You crack me up – very entertaining. And Thanks for incredible coaching for my speeches, my videos, and my marketing. Talking with you for 10 min. is like gaining 10 years of your experience. You give so much of yourself. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

    Thank you :)

    about ” the link to the video you helped me produce, showing the good body language you speak of in your article above – Dr. JoAnn Dahlkoetter
    http://www.drjoann.com/media-room/

    In your video, I still appreciate your phrase: “Step into my running shoes, and imagine.”

    Well said. Also, I enjoy your humor in the video, too.

    Congratulations on your coaching that has helped numerous
    Olympic athletes and CEOs.

    the best to you,
    Tom

  6. Tom Marcoux Says:
    July 6th, 2010 at 12:47 AM

    Hello French Language team,
    about “Tom, we have posted a link to your article “Make Your Body Language Match Your Words — or Crash and Burn”.

    Thank you :)

    As you can see, my last name Marcoux is French, of course.
    And my mother is from Japan.

    the best to you,
    Tom

  7. Körpersprache bei Frauen » Blog Archive » Rosenmontag Mainz & 50grad 2008 part 4 Says:
    July 6th, 2010 at 1:17 AM

    We have a link to your article “Make Your Body Language Match Your Words”.

  8. Tom Marcoux Says:
    July 6th, 2010 at 1:36 AM

    Hello,
    about “We have a link to your article “Make Your Body Language Match Your Words”.”

    Thank you :)

    many happy moments,
    Tom

  9. Did anyone see the meeting between Bill Clinton and Obama today? | SEM Says:
    July 6th, 2010 at 1:49 AM

    Mr. Marcoux, we placed a link to your article “Make Your Body Language Match Your Words”

  10. Tom Marcoux Says:
    July 6th, 2010 at 3:40 AM

    Hello,
    about “Mr. Marcoux, we placed a link to your article “Make Your Body Language Match Your Words”

    Thank you.

    I am finding that a number of website are featuring a link to this article.
    I’m grateful that more people will have access to this work.

    a great day,
    Tom

  11. How To Identify The Lower Back Pain Symptoms? | Medical News for your Mind, Body and Soul Says:
    July 6th, 2010 at 11:15 AM

    We have a link to Be Heard and Be Trusted » Blog Archive » Make Your Body Language Match Your Words

  12. Tom Marcoux Says:
    July 6th, 2010 at 12:52 PM

    Hello Medical News for your Mind, Body and Soul team,
    about “We have a link to Be Heard and Be Trusted » Blog Archive » Make Your Body Language Match Your Words”

    Thanks :)

    much success and fulfillment,
    Tom

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    July 7th, 2010 at 12:16 AM

    Posted a link to your “Make Your Body Language Match Your Words”

  14. Tom Marcoux Says:
    July 7th, 2010 at 12:28 AM

    Hello belgianchocolatetruffles team,
    about “Posted a link to your “Make Your Body Language Match Your Words”

    Thank you.

    How fun :)
    the best to you,
    Tom

  15. Kawi gurl Says:
    July 7th, 2010 at 4:36 PM

    Excuse my English but, This post makes my mind spin at the speed of dark.

    Sent from my Android phone

  16. Tom Marcoux Says:
    July 7th, 2010 at 7:07 PM

    Hello Kawi gurl,
    about “Excuse my English but, This post makes my mind spin at the speed of dark.”

    Thanks for commenting.
    Perhaps, by “speed of dark”, you might mean “the speed of darkness falling”?

    Anyway,
    a writer is glad to hear that his or her words have an effect.
    I appreciate you sending a message.

    The best to you,
    Tom

  17. SDHorn Says:
    July 9th, 2010 at 12:27 PM

    Great tips, Tom. As a tall person, my mother nagged at me when I was young to stand straight. Now, as an adult, I see the importance of this. Slouching says “insecure.” Standing straight says “confidence.” And confidence is the key to absolutely everything. In my experience, who ever has the most confidence wins. As Tom points out, body language is a key factor to success.

  18. volgaparus Says:
    July 14th, 2010 at 3:07 AM

    I want to quote your post in my blog. I can?
    And you have an account on Twitter?

  19. cna training Says:
    July 14th, 2010 at 8:50 AM

    found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later

  20. Tom Marcoux Says:
    July 14th, 2010 at 11:55 PM

    Hello volgaparus,
    about “I want to quote your post in my blog. I can?
    And you have an account on Twitter?”

    Yes — please quote my article at your blog and please include:

    Tom Marcoux helps you accomplish big dreams. His 9 books and 21 audio programs have sold in 15 countries. An award winning speaker, Tom coaches people to success through public speaking and revising the text of their speeches. He has served as a speech writer to CEOs, award-winners and members of academia. Have Tom Marcoux do the heavy lifting with your speech: writing, revisions, and coaching you to your best performance. For success strategies visit Tom’s blog: http://www.BeHeardandBeTrusted.com And for free reports visit http://www.TomSuperCoach.com Visit Tom at facebook.com and Twitter.com

    Thank you.
    the best to you,
    Tom

  21. Tom Marcoux Says:
    July 14th, 2010 at 11:56 PM

    Hello cna-training,
    about “found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later”

    Sounds good.

    Thanks.
    the best to you,
    Tom

  22. Exercise Balls Says:
    July 17th, 2010 at 2:11 PM

    this post is very usefull thx!

  23. Tom Marcoux Says:
    July 18th, 2010 at 12:26 AM

    Hello Pausleal,
    about “this post is very usefull thx!

    Thanks for letting me know that you find this article to be useful. :)

    many happy moments,
    Tom

  24. Tom Marcoux Says:
    July 18th, 2010 at 12:30 AM

    Stacy,
    about “Great tips, Tom. As a tall person, my mother nagged at me when I was young to stand straight. Now, as an adult, I see the importance of this. Slouching says “insecure.” Standing straight says “confidence.” And confidence is the key to absolutely everything. In my experience, who ever has the most confidence wins. As Tom points out, body language is a key factor to success.”

    Thanks for the insight about “standing straight says ‘confidence’”.

    Yes – our body speaks so loud that it drowns out our words.

    With my clients, I have them picture a string that reaches from above their head that pulls their vertebrae into alignment (one vertebra on top of another).
    Three physical therapists have assured me that having our vertebrae aligned is actually less tiring than slouching.

    Thanks for your comment.
    the best to you,
    Tom

  25. pharmacy technician jobs Says:
    July 21st, 2010 at 12:55 AM

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  26. Tom Marcoux Says:
    July 21st, 2010 at 2:03 AM

    Hello pharmacy technicians,
    about “Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!”

    Thanks :)

    the best to you,
    Tom

  27. Body Language - Your Feet Say A Lot! Says:
    July 22nd, 2010 at 5:50 PM

    Body Language – Your Feet Say A Lot!…

  28. Tom Marcoux Says:
    July 22nd, 2010 at 6:46 PM

    Hello articles team,
    about “Body Language – Your Feet Say A Lot!”

    Yes.
    It’s probably because how we feel must “come out”.
    Also, we’re not trained to quiet down our feet — like we’re conditioned to change our facial expressions.

    Thanks for your comment.
    the best to you,
    Tom

  29. inwats Says:
    July 27th, 2010 at 3:19 AM

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    C CLass IP hosting!

  30. Tom Marcoux Says:
    July 28th, 2010 at 12:39 AM

    Hello C-Class,
    about “I don’t generally respond to content but I will in this case. Truly a big thumbs up for this one”

    Thanks :)
    The best to you,
    Tom

  31. Can You Answer a Simple Question? Says:
    August 5th, 2010 at 8:05 PM

    We have a link to your article.

  32. Tom Marcoux Says:
    August 7th, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    Hello Vincent,
    about “We have a link to your article.”

    Thanks.

    a great day,
    Tom

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