Body Language

Here are some brief tips on thing to watch for and work on for your “non-verbal” communication with players, coaches and teammates.  These are general tips, to delve deeper into this subject try this excellent book: The Definitive Book of Body Language

Things to look for in someone who is confident, convincing, optimistic, happy and engaged:

  • Standing/sitting tall, good posture, head up
  • Solid eye contact
  • Clear, deliberate speech
  • Specific and purposeful gestures
  • Facing the person or group
  • Positive facial expressions
    Smiling, looking forward
  • Active listening/active in discussions
    Focused on speaker, attentive and actively taking part in conversation
  •  Focused on task, conversation, activity

On the flip side, things you can look for in someone who is disengaged, uncertain, pessimistic or in a funk:

  • Slouched, slumped, shoulders down, head down
  • Negative arm placement
    Crossed arms, clenched fists, hands in pockets
  • Eyes looking down or away from focus point, little to no eye contact
  • Distracted by everything around them other than the focus point
  • Playing with objects – clicking pen, doodling, kicking ground
  • Body is physically turned away from task or conversation
  • Not active in conversations, not engaged in discussion

As I said these are a few cues that can help you understand how to spot and hopefully start to deal with things you may do or your team may do that give off positive/negative impressions.  It’s not a catch-all or a definitive listing.  There are many things that people do out of habit or for other reasons that aren’t meant as negative but come off that way.  I know i have a lot of strange facial expressions when I’m in a competitive game and they aren’t meant to be negative, but may come off that way for those that don’t know me.  Sometimes you have to look at a series of things to really know what is going on.


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