These two memories have stayed with me.

The year was 2005.  I was standing in the doorway of my kid’s room listening to an animated description of something that happened that day.  In my mind, I knew that this was a gift.  My child wanted to share a memory with me!  However, my body was screaming at me to get some sleep.  It had been a long day.  The argument between my mind and my body resulted in a strange stance. This is a good example of non-verbal communication.

Here is another memory.  Throughout the years, I have faced misleading situations in training environments.  I will be teaching, and a participant will be scowling at me.  The first time this happened, it was so distracting!  Imagine my surprise when that person came up to me during a break with some encouraging words and insightful observations.  He was not scowling; he was focused! Later, I notice that my focused face can look angry, too!  Oops.  I need to watch myself!

Back to the doorway memory of 2005.  I might have never noticed my strange stance had I not been teaching communications classes in corporate and municipal settings.  I love teaching this material.  It has helpful applications for both work and home.  In one section of the training, we focus on non-verbal communications.  We learn that things like posture and stance carry powerful messages.

I wonder what I was communicating to my child when she saw me standing with my head facing her, while the rest of my body was faced toward my bedroom.  I looked like a life-sized action figure whose head had been twisted the wrong way. I need to watch myself!

What is true of me may also be true of you.  Watch yourself!  There are times when you may be unconsciously sending an unintended, but powerful, message.  Pay attention to your posture, your facial expressions, and the direction you are facing!  The most positive message involves a smile and good eye contact, that comes from a body that is facing the other person and leaning a little towards them.