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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.

SWOT analysis helps us develop

Appmoms blog: Swot Analysis for self development

SWOT Analysis helps us Develop

Another tool that we have been using to develop ourselves, as individuals, and within organizations is SWOT analysis. There are several variations to this theme- NOISE Analysis, and so on.

However the basic method is to identify what we do well (STRENGTHS); areas we need to improve to meet our goals (WEAKNESSES); Explore possible options to add value proactively (OPPORTUNITIES) and what pitfalls we must watch out for (THREATS).

SWOT can be used as a planning technique of looking at what is working and identifying areas to improve. It gives us a format to explore opportunities that we may know about or can explore, often with inputs from our superiors, mentors, peers, clients and so on . While using NOISE (a variation of SWOT- considered a solution-focussed analysis) , we understand the NOISE conditions, and so, can create a roadmap or goal towards the future that allows us to blossom. This is true for individuals (children or adults); teams or organizations.

One precondition for using SWOT or NOISE analysis is that it should be judgement-free and free of pre-conceived notions. I did try to be as objective as possible.

I did a SWOT analysis of my blogging activities recently. There are several goals that I could derive from it. Most of it was towards networking with other leaders in Learning and Training.

For STRENGTHS, I asked myself:


  • Which of my achievements am I most proud of?
  • What do other people (and my mentors and mentees, in particular) see as my strengths?
  • What advantages do I have that others don’t have (for example, skills, certifications, education, or connections)?
  • What do I do better than anyone else?
  • What personal resources can I access?
  • What values do I believe in that others may not value as highly?
  • Am I  part of a network that no one else is involved in? If so, what connections do I have with influential people?


  • In what areas do my peers outperform me, inspite of my extra efforts?
  • What tasks do I usually avoid because I don’t feel confident doing them?
  • What will the people around me see as my weaknesses?
  • Am I completely confident in my skills, inspite of my education and training ?
  • What are my negative work habits (for example, am I poor at handling stress)?
  • Do I have personality traits that hold me back in my field? For instance, if persuasion and influence are required,  a fear of confrontation would be a major weakness.

I am still working on the Opportunities and Threats part. I plan to use an enhanced SWOT template, which I can share with anyone interested (size is large).

I also realized that one of the weaknesses of SWOT was its limited value, if the analysis was done through self-reporting. SWOT analysis can be valuable when enhanced by multiple viewpoints. So I plan to include peers and mentors to add to my SWOT template. I am talking to some of my community in India. Any other Educational/ Training leaders that I may not have discovered yet is welcome to join me in my journey of self-awareness and improvement. May I request Walter McKinzie, Brian Paige, Brad Hock and others contribute to my template. Please test-mail me at when you can spare me some time. Calling from India is expensive…excuse me. Mail or Skype or Hangout may be better. Whats your preference? Thanks in advance, Prasanna

Goal setting – Social, interpersonal goals

Appmothers blog: Happy New Year e card

Happy New Year

I prefer to make my social goals as the calendar pages turn. Not my work goals or professional goals.

Year end or New Year reminds us about our other roles in life, especially as children, parents, brothers and sister, spouses, friends. Therefore, this a good time to set non-work goals.

Year end reminds me that we are all part of a larger picture. That there is a continuity in this generational journey and we are capable of unconditional love. We are enriched by unconditional love. Psychology tells us – we are who we are because of the unconditional love we have received.

It is time to nurture all the larger community. Thank you, parents. Thank you, brothers and sisters. Thank you, neighbours. This quarter, I took up voluntary teaching assignment with under-served children. This does bring me 4 days a week of happiness. What voluntary work gives you happiness?

The Starbuck’s Way

The Starbuck’s Way.

Resilience in Leadership

Resilience in Leadership.

Playing with Expectations

Playing with Expectations.

Quiz for you Multiple Intelligences- Take the test

personality quiz

Discover your multiple intelligences

Another way to look at developing yourself, and growing is Multiple Intelligences. Each one of us has multiple strengths:

  • Verbal/Linguistic
    People with Linguistic intelligence are naturally good with writing or speaking and memorization.
  • Logical/Mathematical
    People with Logical intelligence are driven by logic and reasoning.
  • Visual/Spatial
    People with Visual intelligence are good at remembering images and are aware of surroundings.
  • Bodily/Kinesthetic
    People with Kinesthetic intelligence love movement, have good motor skills and are aware of their bodies.
  • Musical
    People with musical intelligence are musically gifted and have a “good ear” for rhythm and composition.
  • Intrapersonal
    People with intrapersonal intelligence are adept at looking inward.
  • Interpersonal
    People with Interpersonal intelligence are good with people and thrive in social interactions.
  • Naturalist
    People with Naturalist intelligence have a sensitivity to and appreciation for nature.

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Quiz to help you discover your strengths- Personality type

personality quiz

Discover your strengths

December is a good time to look back, introspect and plan ahead. I like to discover my strengths and work on it. I would say, my strengths are writing, sharing, helping kids and others discover their dreams, their hidden plans and make them come true in a structured, step-by-step manner. I am a great believer in setting goals- both long-term and short-term. Thats how we can build focus and not get distracted.

I know many friends(esp. at- home mothers)  who feel that its no use planning, because it will never come true. Also it takes a lot of reflection, in-depth planning, syching with other family members and so on. No time for that. To them, I’ll say it will all be worth your while because slow and STEADY is the only way we can live our values and make our goals come true. I will not yet say DREAMS. We’ll come to that in a few months.

One way to begin this journey is to take a personality test. Lets take any one of these free tests (no need to take an expensive For Fee test):


Simplifying the Four dimensions of personality:

  • Extraversion/Introversion: this dimension describes our approach to managing our energy levels
  • Sensing/Intuition: this dimension describes our style of thinking about facts and ideas
  • Thinking/Feeling: this dimension describes our orientation to personal values, biases, beliefs and other subjective inclination.
  • Judging/Perceiving dimension describes our approach to goals and time management or how we make desicions or the big picture of life.

The goal of the personality test is to help us find our personality type, out of sixteen possibilities, which best reflects our attitudes and behavior.

Top questions in my mind:

1. Can a quiz give an objective view of our personality, when we are not consistent from day to day?

2. Can the results help us find ourselves and guide us to remain our authentic self or our true self?

3. Is this a valid way to set our goals? There are so many Personality Tests. Have you taken any?

What are your views? Do respond in the comments box ot write to me at

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