Both the guys and the girls groups had tremendous times at T&T Night. Not only did we discuss issues, but we began learning little nuances that go a long way towards not only fulfilling the bottom-line big-picture practical duties of becoming future men and women of God, but also the manner in which we learn to fulfill those roles.
At church, often times, we focus on what to say to people; we don’t spend enough time on how we say it … including our body language. While we want to make sure we don’t use learned external mannerisms as ways to portray ourselves or to manipulate how people think of us, we don’t want to go to the other extreme and not pay any attention to what our mannerisms may communicate to others.
When I saw this list from learnex, I immediately knew this would be useful for us at TD, as many of us can be … hmmm, let’s be honest … underwhelming … in the vibe we give and the impression we leave. Some of it may indeed be that we really don’t care much about the vibe we give people. For those of you who fall into that category, that needs to change. However, for others, it’s not that you don’t care; rather, it’s that you don’t know what needs to be adjusted or how to do it.
So, for the sake of continuing conversation with those around you – both outside and inside the church – check out these body language mistakes and see where you could improve (I’ve edited, added to, and adjusted some parts for conciseness and clarity):
The first one is avoiding eye contact. When you are not looking into the person’s eye, it shows that you’re either nervous or not confident about yourself … and you’re being a little disrespectful. So you definitely don’t want to show these emotions. You’re probably just nervous, but making eye contact is extremely important.
When you slouch in front of people while talking with them, it shows you’re not confident, have poor self-esteem, and don’t have the energy for them. It conveys that you’re bored talking with them.
Make sure that you give a firm but warm handshake to the people that you meet because it’s a sign of … of confidence and engagement. When you give a poor or weak handshake, it shows that you are least interested in shaking hands or dealing with that person. A very aggressive, very firm handshake is also not acceptable.
Folded arms can possibly show that you’re nervous, not confident, or uninterested. If you lean back with your arms folded, it could give off the impression that you are skeptical or wanting to keep your distance.
Frowning & Scowling
Frowning and scowling while conversing with someone may give the vibe that you have already jumped to a conclusion and made a negative judgment before knowing the context and considering all the facts. This could make someone more reticent to share openly and freely.
Invading Privacy & Space
There are people who love to invade others’ space. For example, you’re at your workplace and your co-worker comes in and just sticks around you way too much and you don’t want that. You want him or her to maintain distance. There are people who treat your possessions or your space as if it’s their own. They may be crossing personal boundaries. It’s important to maintain your boundaries when you are talking to a person or hanging around them. You want to maintain the appropriate space and distance commensurate with your relationship – not too close and not too far.
Fidgeting with an item in your hand, with your hair, or constantly moving are signs of nervousness and being uncomfortable in the conversation, which can lead the one you’re speaking with to become uncomfortable conversing with you as well.
Glancing at the clock/checking your phone
Glancing at the clock or checking your phone during a conversation gives the impression that you can’t wait for this conversation to be over or that the person you’re speaking with isn’t very important to you. You may have legitimate reasons to look at your watch or the clock, or you to check your phone – maybe you have another appointment afterwards and you don’t want to be late, or you are expecting an important text; just make sure you communicate that with the person you’re with, so you don’t leave them wondering and feeling unimportant.
1 Cor. 10:31 implores us, “Whether then you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” This includes working on glorifying God in the way that you converse with others; loving others enough to work on communicating with them considerately and with care. It’s something for all of us to consider, including me. Let’s keep working on it! – Arthur