Body Language

This was my first time at a London Comms Dojo so I wasn’t too sure what to expect, the topic was Body Language!  What we communicate when we aren’t saying a word . . . I was told that I’d learn some of the basics about body language, as well as how to handle contradictions in what people say and what their body language is telling us. I tend to have my arms crossed in meetings and have got feedback about this as they think I’m being defensive when I’m just cold, so I felt this could be interesting and potentially very useful.

The organiser, Lynn, walked us through some basics of body language but highlighted that you need to take a combination of factors to come to a conclusion, not just one. Then we got to play a game. Groups of 3, 2 standing together and the 3rd one has to walk up to the other 2 not saying a word. The two have to guess by the body language what situation the person was walking into, such as meeting friends in a pub, seeing family, meeting clients or job interview. Interesting this was easier than expected but I do feel you pull from personal experience and if your body language was like that what situation are you entering.

The next scenario you were in pairs and the situation was how would you get the other persons attention and the person is in deep concentration. This was quite entertaining and some people were “concentrating” more than others! The point was that tasks take about a third longer when interrupted, and that it takes workers an average of 22 minutes—and not infrequently as much as two hours—to refocus on a task after being distracted. If this is true then how can you manage and minimise the distractions. The discussion that followed was great, some people used timers so you could see when they would be free, others used post in notes and some actually felt they thrived on the interruptions.

The last section was based on things you want to discuss. You write ideas or issues you are having on a white board and then you group on the topic you want to discuss, either help with or learn how to deal with it. It was good to be able to talk freely about issues that you may be experiencing in projects and hear what others have tried in similar situations.

This was a great evening and although you feel quite concious at first, this quickly goes and you’re enjoying yourself before you know it. A lot to think about!