A blog where women are inspired and encouraged to grow in their relationship with Christ.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Gracious Body-Talk




 What does your body language have to do with hospitality?  

When you think of showing hospitality at this time of the year, you might think of having people into your home and creating a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere. You might make sure the bathroom is presentable, take extra care when setting the table, serve a hearty meal, and try to engage each person in conversation.   

Some people are a natural fit and easy to relate to, and some are a little tougher to get to know and may not immediately feel comfortable with you.  For the people in your life that you're having to work a little harder to connect with, here are a few 'tidbits' that might make it easier... 
 
An important piece in creating a welcoming atmosphere and forming 
‘real’ relationships is the awareness of non-verbal communication... 
Body language. 

We live in a culture of social media, texting, emailing, tweeting, and phone conversations... all non-visual  forms of communication.  Because we engage in so much non-visual communication, it can become easy to forget the immense impact of the non-verbal.  Our bodies can speak very loudly!
 
What are you saying without words to others, and 
what are others saying without words to you?

Developing the ability to ‘read’ someone’s posture, facial expressions, and gestures helps you to get to know the ‘real’ person and enables you to help set them at ease, feel welcome and comfortable .

This is by no means meant to be universal, all-inclusive or diagnostic.  
 It’s simply a fun way to become more aware of how you 
present yourself to others and become more attuned
 to the 'person' behind the body language. 

1.  How can you encourage the 'hesitant talker' to feel comfortable enough to open up and converse?  

Leaning slightly toward them (without invading personal space) and making eye contact tells a person that you’re carefully listening and interested in what they have to say.  It says, "You matter... You're important".  

Years ago I knew a woman who was fabulous at this. She made me feel that whatever  I said was incredibly important... simply by leaning forward, making eye contact and being present with me.  I've never forgotten her...

2.  If you see a person with a finger (many times the index) in their mouth, they may be feeling under pressure or insecure and in need of reassurance.  (Or perhaps it's time to get them to the dinner table, pronto!)

3.  When a guest begins to support her head with her hand it could signal that she’s becoming bored with the conversation.  It might be time to change the subject!


4.  Folded arms may signify a number of attitudes and feelings. 

·   Arms folded across the chest may indicate a negative or defensive attitude.  Often, when someone feels unsure or insecure, they may cross their arms in front of their chest or across their abdomen.  We can probably each identify with this... I don't think there's a woman alive who doesn't have some insecurities.  Most of us have a boat load!    (Of course, it could also just mean that she's cold!)

5.  Hands on hips may signify confidence or aggression.

If someone enters your home with arms folded across their chest (perhaps indicating insecurity or nervousness) how might they feel if you approach them with hands on your hips?  They will likely feel intimidated and defensive, resulting in holding their arms even more tightly across their chest.  To approach her with arms hanging loosely at your sides or arms slightly bent- palms up, and a warm smile, may help to dispel her nervousness.

6.  Eye contact is HUGE! 
 
·   Maintaining easy eye contact (not an intense stare!) may convey that you’re interested in them and that you’re ‘present’.  If someone is having difficulty meeting your eyes, it may be due to shyness or insecurity.  (In some cases it may be due to shame or guilt.)   It’s a perfect opportunity to lavish a little more attention upon them, letting them know that you’re pleased they’re in your home.

7.  What's a great way to invite conversation?  Sitting with legs uncrossed and hands laying loosely in your lap, palms up, will tell your guests that you’re open to conversation, without barriers. 
 
    
  How might you engage
 these ladies  to make them feel 
welcome  and comfortable
 in your home?

   I hope this has
 been a fun look 
     at some non-verbal ways to help 
you connect more 
deeply with those 
around you.


I'd love to hear your tips for making others
feel welcome and comfortable in your home!
 
"9 Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.   
10 God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts.  
Use them well to serve one another."
1 Peter 4:9 NLT
Living in His grace,
 Mary
  
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 Picture Source: 1, 2, 3,

30 comments:

  1. Hi Mary,

    I agree with you: eye contact is so important :)

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    1. Dolly, I think eye contact is such a meaningful gift we can give to others... it helps them to know that they 'matter'. Thanks for coming by today!
      Blessings to you ~ Mary

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  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Rose! I love to explore different ways to relate. Sometimes I focus so much on the verbal, I forget the non-verbal. Thanks for stopping in!
      Blessings to you ~ Mary

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  3. If I have prepared ahead, keeping it simple, it is easier for me to think of my guests and not just my list of things to.do.

    Fondly,
    Glenda

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    Replies
    1. Excellent advice, Glenda! Keeping it simple seems to be the key!
      I'm so glad you took time to leave a comment... I appreciate it!
      Blessings to you ~ Mary

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  4. What a wonderful and helpful post. I'm sharing this on FB. Stopping by from Titus 2 Tuesdays. Blessings from Croatia: Rosilind from A Little R & R: www.littlerandr.org

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    1. Rosilind, I'm glad you found this helpful! Thanks for sharing on FB and thanks for coming by! I look forward to visiting your site!
      Blessings to you ~ Mary

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  5. These are some good tips! So agree...face to face communication is an art form in itself! :) Love blogs with great resources & info like this! Thanks for coming by to UNITE today! So appreciate you joining our link up! Have a wonderful week! ~ jen

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    Replies
    1. You're right Jen. Face to face communication is so important and we can tell so much more about a person when we can see them! Thanks for hosting UNITE! It's a great linkup!
      Blessings to you ~ Mary

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  6. Replies
    1. Thanks so much for coming by today! I appreciate you taking the time to comment!
      Blessings to you ~ Mary

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  7. GREAT post! I love this. I have such a passion for Hospitality and think it is such an important thing to be practiced in our churches today. But sadly it often isn't. Thanks for these tips. It really makes you think about how you portray yourself!

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    Replies
    1. Jami, I'm thankful that extending hospitality is so important to you. It's such a wonderful way to 'really' get to know someone. I'm sure many lives have been blessed by your willingness to give of yourself. Have a wonderful week with our Lord!
      Blessings to you ~ Mary

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  8. I love to have friends to our home, and body language is so important to making your guests feel at home.
    Stopping by from A Pause on the Path :)

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    1. I agree! Being aware of body language is certainly valuable in helping guests feel comfortable. I'm so glad you linked up today!
      Blessings to you ~ Mary

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  9. Hi Mary,

    Watching for non-vrbal cues and being aware of which ones I am displaying are intriguing, aren't they?

    Have a great evening!

    Jennifer Dougan
    www.jenniferdougan.com

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    Replies
    1. You're right, Jennifer. Being aware of non-verbals can certainly add an additional dimension to communication. Thanks for stopping in and taking time to leave a comment.
      Blessings to you ~ Mary

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  10. I don't really think about my own body language very often, but it is something I usually notice in others. I especially notice when people check their watches or look past me instead of at me when I'm talking. Good signals that they aren't interested. : )
    And, in a culture where everyone seems busy, I think it's really important to let people know we aren't too busy to listen to them.
    Thanks for these reminders.

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    Replies
    1. Gail, the other day, a woman was talking to me, but looking over my shoulder the entire time. I kept looking back to see what she was looking at, only to finally realize that she was just uncomfortable making eye contact...mystery solved! I concur that it's so important to help people feel listened to. Thanks for adding to the list!
      Thank you for coming by!
      Blessings to you ~ Mary

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  11. Mary,
    I work in the health care field, and one of the best non-verbals I try to give my patients is a kind (brief and appropriate) touch. Perhaps I touch their shoulder as I welcome them back to the treatment room, or pat their arm as they sit in my chair. Many of my patients are elderly, and that may be the only kind touch they get all day. I remember reading in a continuing ed course about an exit poll taken. though the patients in both groups received identical care, one group received a touch, and the other did not. Can you guess which group expressed a greater level of satisfaction with their visit that day?

    I'm a new visitor from Be Not Weary today. Thanks for the reminder :)

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    1. Lori, you're so right. There's something so comforting, healing, and encouraging about the simple, yet profound touch. I'm so glad you added that to the list. I appreciate your work in the health care field. What a wonderful opportunity to share the love of the Lord. Thank you for coming by today.
      Blessings to you ~ Mary

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  12. I love this! We learned some of these things in our leadership class at church. I lead a Bible study and one of the most important things I have learned is to lean it a bit when talking with someone and making eye contact. There is a Pastor's wife who has always done this and makes me feel so special. It's a wonderful thing to do and it makes such a difference to those on the receiving end. Thank you for this wonderful article! I am also a new follower. Thank you for coming by my blog and becoming a follower. :)

    God bless you - Julie

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    1. Julie, It's amazing how just leaning in and making eye contact helps a person feel they 'matter'... Your pastor's wife was a wise woman! I so appreciate that you lead Bible study...that's awesome! I'm glad you came by today and thanks for following!
      Blessings to you ~ Mary

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  13. Great points! It's important to be able to read body language so we can discern whether or not it matches the words that are being spoken.

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    1. Rebecca, you raise a great point. When the non-verbal cues don't match their words, perhaps we can gently go a little deeper and help them express what's 'really' on their mind. Thanks so much for stopping by today! I'm on my way over to your site.
      Blessings to you ~ Mary

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  14. Just letting you know that I really enjoyed reading this post!

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks so much for coming by and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate it!
      Blessings to you ~ Mary

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  15. I found your blog via Cornerstone Confessions, and LOVE this post. As a military family we often open up our homes to new friends, and I rarely think about body language! Thank you so much for the insight!

    +God's Peace to you and yours!!!

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  16. April, you're so welcome. I love to hear that you graciously open your home to new friends... Now, you'll probably be watching for crossed arms and eye contact! I want to sincerely thank you and your family for your service, sacrifice, and commitment to our country... much, much appreciation!
    Blessings to you ~ Mary

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Your comments mean so much to me. I love reading each and every one! Thanks so much!