Most communication classes teach that 93% of communication is non-verbal. Crazy right? Sometimes it’s not what you say but how you say it with your body and voice.
I learned this several years ago when I got feedback that stopped me in my tracks. I had been teaching anatomy courses to yoga teacher trainees for about 5 years, something I love love LOVE to do, when the dreaded feedback came in. Some of the students reported that my tone made them uneasy at points during the course and made them wonder what was wrong with me. WHAT?!! How could this be what I was projecting when teaching anatomy courses, especially to yoga teachers in training, was so enjoyable to me and my focus was to inspire and share knowledge?
So I did what had to be done. I recorded myself teaching. No video, just audio. And I listened to every word. Not only to the sound of my own voice, but to my content and delivery.
And there it was. The ‘tone’.
I heard it. And I cringed.
This exercise was so incredibly helpful because what it revealed is not only my enthusiasm for the content, but also the stress I was feeling to a) get all the information out in a limited amount of time (these 20 hour workshops are literally crammed full of content with hardly a break) and b) to answer each and every question thoughtfully (and let me tell you, yoga teachers are some of the most inquisitive peeps). What I heard was, in my haste, when I was worried about time, or afraid I’d get thrown off track if I stopped my flow to answer too many questions, my tone would change and instead of reflecting my concern, it sounded curt. Something other than what I was feeling and not at all warm, grounded or inviting. Wow.
I really practiced being aware of when I felt activated while teaching and I’ve since adapted my teaching to include that awareness. Now when I’m feeling pressed for time or that we have veered off topic, I’ll say exactly that out loud to the group.
The most magical outcome of all is the feedback began to change, almost instantly. Now I hear that the students feel heard, supported and that I’m approachable and available to them. Amazing. The onlything that has changed is my tone, the course content and length is exactly the same. In fact, I answer fewer questions now J.
A few weeks ago, Sarah Ouellette reached out to me on this very topic. During our conversation we discussed the influential impact connection and relationship has on our lives.
Sarah created the FREE INTERVIEW SERIES: “Maximize Your Platonic, Personal and Professional Relationships Live” to help you learn how to create meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships, and invited me to speak about body language and communication.
I’m thrilled to be featured as one of the 30 leading experts in this series. You can view my interview and gain exclusive access to my GIFT give away July 9, 2015! As always I love sharing ideas and strategies that I know will serve you, make a huge impact and optimize your life!
All the best,