Monday, March 15, 2010

Body Language

We hear a lot about body language and what signals the indivial unconsciously sends with simple body posture. My parents told me never to cross my arms when speaking to somebody as it might send out the wrong signals - for me not doing that is a normal as common table manners etc.

Just before my vacation I facilitated a meeting with a foreign business partner - due to recent changes in the company, I have changed responsibities a bit (added some tasks and reducing the scope of others).

One of my colleagues started out with a body posture that was totally rejective towards the guest and the face - that was the scary part: I've never seen that person's face looking soo grumpy before, it was almost like a kliché. The guest obviously was aware of this and was really strugling to ease the tension.

Wish that I could have taken "before and after" photos of my colleague, because the guest luckily suceeded to get my colleage to relax and have a much more pleasant attitude towards.

Afterwards I had a cup of coffee with the guest who asked me for my honest opinion about my colleague: the colleague might appear harsh and with a fiery temperament but once you get to know the colleague you find out how gentle that person can be - yes might be feisty one minute, if you screw up, but holds absolutely no grudges and might be joking with you the next minute. I was not affraid to share this with the guest as other business partners have expressed the same description about my colleague: some of the business partners have actually been kind of afraid of my colleague, but once they got to know my colleague, they absolutely likes the colleague a lot, since the honest opinion is always aired.

When taking classes in innovation techniques, we were often discussing body language, but it is actually the first time that I have had the change to really observe what effect body language might have on meetings etc. So did I learn anything from this experience? Yes, I am more alert about body language when meeting other people.

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