October 13, 2011

Physical Feedback

If you've been channeling an ostrich as your spirit animal, it's time for an upgrade.  How are we going to be more awesome if we just stick our head in the sand and pretend we're perfect?  I've got a newsflash for you Walter Cronkite, you won't.   That's why we've dedicated this whole week at The Happy Homunculus to getting ourselves some feedback.  However, while previous Daily Mind Games focused on verbal communication, today we're going all non-verbal on this feedback thing.  Say wha?

Body-language.

Information about our performance can come in diverse forms.  Ideally, someone we respect and trust will sit us down and tell us, gently, all the ways we can improve.  Less than ideal, someone we dislike but must listen to (The Man) will tell us not-so-gently all the ways we can improve.  However, in most cases, no one will tell us anything.

So, often we must guess at our performance by looking for non-verbal cues from those around us.  In other words: body-language.  Now, I'm a big proponent of not over-thinking things, so the goal for today's DMG is to simply tune-in to the body language of those around us and note how it makes us feel.

Physical Feedback

Task: Observe the body-language of others.

Info: Don't over-interpret.  Just observe how other people react to the things you do.  How do they stand?  Any facial expressions?  What do they do with their bodies?  Then, after you recognize certain body-language, tune-in to how it makes you feel: trust your gut.  Do you get a positive or negative "vibe" from people?  Just see how you feel, instantaneously, after observing someone's reaction.

Goal: Link the body-language of others with your emotional response.

I strongly believe that most of us have an intuition about the body-language of others, so trust your instincts and beware websites promising tricks to "crack" the body-language code. If someone reacts in a way that makes you feel like you did something wrong, you probably did.  Either ask if everything is ok, or try to infer what might be the problem.  Use these instantaneous reactions to guide your interpersonal behavior.

Further Reading:

http://www.forbes.com/2009/06/23/body-language-first-impression-forbes-woman-leadership-communication.html
http://www.psychologicalscience.org/media/releases/2009/kraus.cfm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_language

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