Do I want to fit in or stand out?
By now you may be starting to realize that by being more conscious of how you communicate and all the various parts of communication, you may be wondering “Will this make me fit in or will this make me stand out?”
That’s a great question – and one that only you can answer! How do you play the role for the situation at hand? Often, being in total agreement with the group gets the best results! At other times, you may want to play the maverick and take an opposing side for any number of reasons. If a group is going down the same path as always and not looking “outside the box,” you may want to strongly encourage them to do so. To do that, and do it well, you may have to change the role you usually are.
There is where having multiple roles at your fingertips allows you to jump into a role very easily and quickly. You’ve done the work and can immediately change your body language and voice to suit the role you have chosen.
Keep in mind that your body language and large gestures are what people will notice first. Standing up to make a point in a meeting will certainly draw attention to yourself. Barring that, a firm voice, direct eye contact, and significant arm/hand gestures will also create a more powerful character. I advise against such aggressive body language as pounding a table or pointing a finger. You are looking to be assertive and sure of yourself but not aggressive and confrontational.
Simpler gestures, such as, nodding your head or leaning forward shows agreement with what is being said. A closed body position with arms crossed or shaking of the head from side to side could indicate disagreement with the subject matter. And a smile goes a long way towards a sign of cooperation and goodwill.
The still position of your head is an important characteristic especially if you are in a sitting position. The head up and in a neutral position is indicative of just that – neutrality and listening. If the head is tilted back with the chin jutting out, this can be seen as an indication of conceit, dominance or fearlessness. Also, the position does lend itself to “looking down your nose” at someone which usually connotes a certain arrogance. The head and chin down can be a sign of negativity or disinterest. While you may have done any of these positions unconsciously in the past, you now have a better idea of how it may add or detract from your communication.
It really all comes down to doing the work and having at your fingertips, a variety of roles with accompanying characteristics that you can call upon depending on the situation. And keep in mind they are all authentically you!
To Being Heard,