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Body language: Demonstrating respect

Reading body language is easy. Demonstrating body language is tougher. Do you agree? I have been reflecting on how to show respectful body language, while being assertive. I am kind of stuck by cultural aspects of body language, especially in showing respect; rather in creating level playing field. Need more inputs…

How to demonstrate respect using body language

Keep It Level

-Experience a level playing field of communication.
-Be aware of how facial expressions say more than words.
-Monitor your voice tone to diminish dual messages.
-Express your reactions directly without apology.
-Focus on demonstrating respect in every communication.

Bottomline is : Ask yourself:

“How are others who witness these events affected? For whom is demonstrating respect most important-those involved or those who witness the incident?”

Would appreciate lots of inputs in this area.


Eye contact is crucial

Soft firm voice to improve clarity

Any other tips that you can give?


How to raise my rates: watching Ramit Sethi youtube


What are the lessons from this lessons:

  • Add value
  • Relationship is very valuable

What else?

Body Language: remove barriers

More on body language:

Several body parts can be seen as barriers or discouragers of comunication. Time and again, we are told that crossing our hands over our chest says clearly- we are not interested in listening or we are not interested in engaging with you.

The thumb rule is to take away anything that blocks your view or looks like a barrier between us and the rest of the team. Even during a coffee break, one can be aware that we may create a barrier by holding our cup or glass in such a way that seems deliberately, to block our body or create a distance from others.

A senior executive is quoted a saying that he could evaluate his team’s comfort by how high they held their coffee cups. He observed that the more insecure a team-member or a new-comer felt, the higher they held their coffee.

People with their hands held at waist level were supposed to be more comfortable than those with hands chest high. I take most of these myths with a pinch of salt. What do you think? Any experiences to share?


Touch is a more powerful tool.

A study on handshakes by the Income Center for Trade Shows showed that people are two times more likely to remember us, if we shake hands with them. They also found that people react to those with whom they shake hands by being more open and friendly. They explain it as follows: Touch is the most primitive and powerful nonverbal cue. Touching someone on the arm, hand, or shoulder for as little as 1/40 of a second creates a human bond.


Smile is another powerful body tool to build rapport and enable friendly co-operative behavior When you smile at someone, they almost always smile in return. And, because facial expressions trigger corresponding feelings, the smile you get back actually changes that person’s emotional state in a positive way.


Mirroring or taking similar expressions or postures as the other person builds rapport and liking. When we mirror other people with intent, it can be an important part of building rapport and nurturing feelings of mutuality. Mirroring starts by observing a person’s facial and body gestures and then subtly letting your body take on similar expressions and postures. Doing so will make the other person feel understood and accepted.


Have you noticed, when somebody lowers his voice, speaking with clear, even pitch, one pays attention. To sound authoritative, keep your voice down. This tip comes from a Speech Therapist. He advised that before a speech or an important call, he lets his voice relax into its optimal pitch by keeping his lips together and making the sounds “um hum, um hum, um hum.”

We females, have to watch out for our voice not to rise at the ends of sentences- this may indicate a question or seeking approval. He says, “when stating your opinion, use the authoritative arc, in which your voice starts on one note, rises in pitch through the sentence and drops back down at the end.” Excellent advice, I think. More on voice language for collaborative work in the forthcoming posts.

Don’t miss the following the History Channel documentary on body language:

Building rapport before working together

As Tony Robbins says: RAPPORT IS POWER

In any work or relationship or home situation, the thumb rule is to PUT PEOPLE FIRST. ALWAYS RESPECT the people on the team. Watch the videos in the right column. They express my opinions better visually. Do let me know whether you agree or not.

Next we talk about listening effectively.

Interpersonal Quiz- Body Language

As I mentioned in my previous post – Interpersonal Quiz, building rapport is very important; after all, even in the Hi-tech business world, it is two or more human beings who do business. We like to do business with people whom we are comfortable with. Check out:

Look at yourself from the other person’s perspective   (not biased self-check) and answer:

Be honest! Answers in the next post…

Some tips for the previous polls:

1. Meeting and greeting: It’s good to initiate the introduction and introduce yourself with a handshake and smile.  If shaking hands is difficult, a quick head nod is a good substitute.  Initiating the introduction with a smile and handshake (or head nod) helps build rapport. Building rapport helps make others and ourselves comfortable in a conversation; or any situation.

We can get cooperation and productive results when there is openness and rapport. Otherwise, in this competitive environments, it is easy to take adversarial positions. That is quite unnecessary or even harmful. Do you agree?

2. Remembering Names: It’s good to call people by name whenever possible.  It makes a good, lasting impression, and it makes the other person feel important and special.  I admire a few friends who can remember names and address newcomers with their names. Something I am trying to improve upon. To help remember names, I try these techniques:

Repeat:   After the person tells you his or her name, immediately use it several times in the conversation.

“It’s nice to meet you, Jane.”
“I agree with you, Jane.”
“That was a great joke, Jane!”

Associate:   Associate the person’s name to something unique and special.
E.g. : “Gina has beautiful green eyes.”

In your mind, call her – “GG” –  Green Gina

“Josh tells funny jokes.”

In your mind, call him – “JJ” –  Joking Josh

Associate the name with a visual picture.

E.g. “Sandy” –  visualize a sandy beach.

“Glenn”  –  visualize John Glenn launching
into space.

“Lucy”- visualize the ‘I love Lucy’ poster.

Associate the name with a personal connection.

E.g. “Jeff” –  My uncle’s name is Jeff.

“Susie”  –  I had a kitten named Susie.

Jot:   Jot the person’s name down with an identifying description that will help your memory later.  It can be on Outlook contacts or behind his business card or a daily journal.

E.g. “Jack” –  tall;  glasses;  works in Accounting;  has twin sister; runs marathons;  new to Portland.

Facial Language:

Smiling when greeting people and at appropriate times greatly        helps build rapport. In some Eastern cultures, a serious face may indicate formality or superiority in status.


Do watch this video:


JUST FOR FUN::::Watch the body language of business leaders and answer the questionnaire below that:




Interpersonal Communication Quiz

Outcome of communication

Communication:Begin with the end in mind

As a trainer, self-awareness about ourselves; and each person in the audience can be the ideal. I cannot overemphasize the importance of building a rapport in the classroom ; or in any interpersonal context. For those who want to improve their communications, lets get down to the basics and check again to see that we don’t miss the following.

In my Communications trainings, I also  use this quiz to understand current communication styles and concerns: (a few questions in each post; with Best Answers and Tips in the next post):