Body language is louder than words.

27 07 2016

“Physical expression was my first language:  Before I was an actor, I was a dancer, an acrobat, a mime and a street performer.” ~ Denis Lavant

Many of you know that both of my parents are deaf, so American Sign Language (ASL) was my first language.  Luckily, we had lots of hearing relatives in the neighborhood, so English came as a close second.  While I appreciate the spoken, and especially written word (I’m always in the middle of a book), so much of my communication style comes via physical expression.  I’ve been told that I should stay out of negotiations when money is on the line, because I not only wear my heart on my sleeve, but I don’t do that “game face” well.  Poker is something else that I always lose at.

Leaders, know that whether or not you know sign language, you are speaking in signs all the time.  If you are rolling your eyes at an employee, they can see that, and know that you’re blowing them off.  If you say the right thing, but your body language is saying the wrong thing, then the wrong thing is what your team members are “hearing”.  There’s 2 choices for you, dear leader (anyone get the Stephen King reference?).  First, you can do the brave thing, and align your words and your body language with your real feelings, and stop “blowing smoke” towards your employees.  Second, and harder (though not necessarily the right thing) is to have full awareness of your body language as well as your words – if you have to say something you don’t believe.  Both of these are SOMETIMES needed in life (the second one when buying a car, for example), but the first is much more genuine, and will help you connect with more people.

Speaking of mimes…


Rubes cartoons used with permission.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: