Do your attitudes and body language speak louder than your words? What are you silently saying?
Posted February 8, 2011
A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance... Proverbs 15:13
I'm sure you are all aware that we speak silently through our facial expressions and body language. As a leader this becomes important because people are watching you. You don't want to sabotoge yourself just because you stood or made a face in a certain way.
You may have some facial expressions and body language habits that you have gotten into that you may not even be aware of. Sometimes my husband will tell me I gave him "that look" and frankly I'll have to ask him "which look" to see what he's talking about. I know his "looks" too. I know when he's bored, disgusted, upset.
We all use body language and people around us pick up on that. What's important to know is that it can be misinterpreted so we have to be very careful that we are aware of how we are silently expressing ourselves.
Nothing can give you away as to what you are feeling more than your facial expressions. Think of all the expressions our face can give. They display our emotions. Our facial expressions communicate the way we are feeling at a very moment in time. Here are some of the most common facial expressions.
I think it's amazing that we can show how deeply we feel about something just by the way we move our eyebrows, move our eyes, or move our lips. All those tiny little muscles within us can really add up. Makes me feel like an open book!
As a leader, especially when you are in front of a group of ladies, there are some expressions you don't want them to see on your face. Be on your guard. If your face says you are bored and down in the dumps, your ladies are not going to be too interested in what you are saying.
When you are communicating, especially about what's happening in your women's ministry, be upbeat down to your facial expressions. People do read your facial expressions on top of what you say so sometimes put together it may not be what you meant for them to read.
Body language is another one of those tell all's that give us away. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. How someone stands, holds their arms or tilts their head all have a message. Ever judge what kind of mood someone is in just by looking at them? Face it, we communicate with our body language.
- Shrugging our shoulders
- Pursing our lips
- Wringing our hands
- Drumming our nails
- Tapping our toes
- Crossing our arms in a certain way
- Clenching our fists
There are lots of interpretations to our body language. We can show how tired we are by how we sit or stand. How bored we are. How aggravated we are. All of these are shown by how our body language speaks silently, so as a leader this is something we want to be aware of.
As you can see, these are all almost involuntary. Sometimes you just can't help how you respond, but as a leader communication is one of the biggest things we have to learn. Our facial expressions and body language are keys to our communication. As a leader, especially when you are in front of a group a lot, you can set the tone just by your body language and facial expressions alone.
I'm not saying that we don't want to have any expression through our face and body language. I'm just saying to be aware of it because there are some expressions that we don't want to give. Other expressions are good. Sometimes it may just be a matter of the time and place. I'm not encouraging you to be stoic or anything. If a song or message moves you, I don't see any reason not to show that.
Remember how God used Nehemiah's body language to prompt the king to question him?
And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence.
Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid. Nehemiah 2:1,2
That got the whole ball rolling to have the king give Nehemiah his request to go back and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. I think it's always amazing how God uses those tiny little things to further his work and do big things. As a side note, if you aren't familiar with that story, Nehemiah's a great book to study.
People do read us. For example, if you were delivering a bible study on the joy of the Lord, yet you were standing slouched over, eyes and face drooping, a sad expression with your whole face, I image you wouldn't convey that you knew that joy of the Lord personally to your audience. You want to show the expression that you have some of that joy!
When it comes to facial expressions and body language, we just need to be aware of what we get in the habit of doing. We don't want people to misread what we are silently "saying".
Copyright ©2011 Julia Bettencourt
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