What do you mean that your feet don’t lie?
by Barbara Chatzkel
Welcome to this month’s insight into business body language. It’s a place to get tips on the signals your body is sending and how to modify your body language to match your message.
Before we jump into feet and legs, let’s reflect back on last month’s post on smiles. What did you learn as you observed people smiling in different situations? How did you differentiate between a genuine smile and a “fake” smile? How did your selfies turn out? Did you real smile look genuine? Did you fake smile look like a grimace? Periodically check in to see which message that smile is really sending.
The second most important broadcast center of the body is the feet and legs. They don’t lie, but rather express your true feelings, so they provide powerful indicators of what is really happening. We may think we’re using our face to deceive or conceal, yet we tend to ignore our feet, which are broadcasting loud and clear.
Some tips on what your feet are saying:
- Look at the direction your feet are facing. We turn to what we like and turn away from what is disagreeable.
- If you are standing while in a conversation, make sure your feet are pointing toward the person speaking; this indicates that you are paying attention
- If you walk into a room and observe a group of people standing and talking, observe where all the feet are pointing – toward the most important person!
- Foot jiggling is a telltale sign of nervousness or discomfort. If you have a tendency to jiggle your foot, try to sit with both feet on the floor.
- The ankle lock – legs crossed at the ankles – is a form of “biting one’s lip” and signifies holding back a negative emotion, uncertainty, or fear. For example, in a study of 319 dental patients, all the patients locked their ankles while in the dentist’s chair.
Have an enjoyable month, and remember to periodically check to see that your body language actually mirrors the message you want to send.
- Over the next month, observe several conversations among people standing in a group. Can you tell which individual is the leader or most important person? Is there evidence that any person is unhappy participating in the group chat? What are the key clues for you?
- During the month, take a look at what your feet and legs are doing while you are:
- at a dinner table with friends
- seated in a meeting
- standing with two or more individuals and talking
- sitting and taking with someone in a one-on-one situation.
Think about the message your feet and legs are sending. Is it the message you want people to receive?
Barbara Chatzkel’s ability to provide a vibrant and behavior-changing book extends across industry segments – everyone uses business body language. Her coaching and consulting expertise on business body language grew from conducting union negotiations, managing difficult personnel situations, managing at multiple levels, and extensive business coaching experience. Her new book, Business Body Language: Your Visual Business Card, will be available in print in early 2015. Visit her website today for further information.
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