In spare moments over the last month, I’ve worked my way through Nick Morgan’s book Trust Me, on public speaking. It’s full of interesting information about the interaction between the verbal and the nonverbal conversation. Morgan explains that the nonverbal conversation dominates; if there’s a conflict between body language and spoken language, the audience will default to body language, believing the speaker’s movements and gestures over the speaker’s words.
At the heart of the book is the message that you must form an intention before speaking. When you are firm and clear on your intent, your body language will convey your message. You won’t even have to direct your body language; that would make it seem forced. Instead, know exactly what your intention is, and move from there.
As a yoga teacher, I love this idea. We set an intention before every class, just as we do before every workout. As you begin some task today—your run, your practice, a meeting, lunch with a friend—take a moment beforehand to consider your purpose. What is it you want to convey? How do you want the task to be resolved? What emotions will be in play? Form an intention, repeat it to yourself, and if you can remember, check back and align with it a few times during the task.
And let me know how it goes.