I grew up in Brazil, South America, between two worlds, that of the United States (where my parents were from, and whose culture I shared), and that of the Brazilians (I attended Brazilian-only school from first through fourth grades).
As a Brazilian (I have dual citizenship), I observed two types of Americans as a boy. One type of American didn’t care too much to learn the culture or the language very well. I remember listening to more than one American missionary who would make me wince when I listened to how badly he mispronounced the beautiful Brazilian language. His terrible accent communicated that he hadn’t cared to try to learn the language very well.
On the other hand, my father (I’ll brag about him :), studied anthropology (the study of other cultures) and language (he had specialized trainings in linguistics), in order to best learn the language and customs of the people he worked with.
As an Aspergian, you are a minority in a neurotypical culture. I could argue that Brazilians need to understand that Americans are different. But I would also like to let those former American missionaries that they would have communicated better with Brazilians if they had made the effort to learn the language and customs of the Brazilians.
Body Language Communication Examples
Here are some body language communication skills that can help you avoid stress and better communicate with neurotypicals.
1. Become aware of your own body language and what it’s communicating.
The Josh Speaks video talks about this is in a humorous, yet teaches quite a bit.
Your posture can communicate either shyness/fear, or confidence.
Your tonality (how loud or soft your voice is) will communicate comfort or discomfort to the other person.
Your eye contact and gaze will either make a person feel uncomfortable, communicate your lack of confidence, or communicate confidence and respect both for you and the other person.
Check out the video the Josh Speaks illustrate these tips, and how you can use body language to communicate the right message.
2. Grow your personal confidence with these body language tips.
Here are Common Signs and Signals that Neurotypicals give away when feeling confident.
You can observe people who use this body language, and then practice on your own until it becomes second nature.
- Posture – Standing tall with shoulders back
- Eye Contact – solid with a smiling face
- Gestures with arms and hands – purposeful and deliberate
- Speech– slow and clear
- Tone of voice – moderate to low. (However, I don’t know that you always want a moderate to low tone of voice – I thought these two articles were helpful as well, How to Develop a Friendly Tone of Voice. You’ll also enjoy watching Charisma Matrix’ video that explains the three types of tonality.
You might also enjoy this article from Inc. Magazine – 11 Body Positions and Gestures That Can Improve Performance.
3. Here are Signs a Group of People May Be Bored, when you’re giving a presentation-
- Heads are down.
- Eyes are glazed, or gazing at something else.
- Hands may be picking at cloths, or fiddling with pens.
- People may be writing or doodling.
- They may be sitting slumped in their chairs.
4. Here are Common Signs and Signals Neurotypicals Can Give Away When Feeling Defensive
- Hand/arm gestures are small and close to his or her body.
- Facial expressions are minimal.
- Body is physically turned away from you. Arms are crossed in front of body.
- Eyes maintain little contact, or are downcast.
5. Fake It Till You Make It – How Body Physiology (May) Help You
In his classic personal development book, Awaken the Giant Within, Anthony Robbins shares how how body physiology (how we hold and move our bodies) can affect our emotional states.
Per Tony Robbins, “Emotion is created by motion.”
Here’s an example:
Pretend you’re conducting a symphony, very slowly. Then switch to FAST – smile big, and start conducting swiftly and rapidly. Do you feel any differently? Just writing about it, I could feel my mood switch.
Tony recommends that you notice and label your emotional states, then study the types of body patterns that accompany your state.
For example, when I’m feeling down and discouraged, my shoulders tend to slump. I can break that pattern by sitting up, pulling my shoulders back, and smiling. It may feel fake at first, but if you stick with it, you will start feeling better after a while.
Here are some ways to change your body physiology and start feeling and performing better:
- Take deep breaths through your nose and exhale strongly through your mouth. (This gets oxygen into your blood).
- Commit to smile widely into the mirror for at least 30 seconds each day for the next seven days.
- Instead of going for a jog, go skipping! It’s great exercise, you’ll have less stress on your body than you do when running, you’ll feel foolish but inevitably start smiling.
- If you have a friend who laughs a lot, ask your friend if you can laugh with him. Ask him to teach you how he laughs his particular laugh. You’ll end up laughing more, and have fun in the process!
Tony Robbins and John Denver: How Body Physiology Helped a Songwriter Regain His Inspiration
Tony Robbins coaches many high level performers. John Denver, in case you’re not familiar, is a famous country/folk American musician. He was in a writing slump, and he hired Tony to coach him out of it. Tony asked him to identify the times when he wrote his best songs. They discovered that John wrote his best material after being physically active – skiing down a mountain, going for a plane ride, or driving a sportscar at high speeds in the beauty of nature.
Just by identifying these experiences and getting back into nature and movement, he was able to get his creativity back.
You and I have the capacity to make changes like this at any time. The key to success, then, is to create patterns of movement that create confidence, a sense of strength, flexibility, a sense of personal power, and fun. –Tony Robbins
Practical Steps –
IQ Matrix has a mind map, priced at $6, (http://store.iqmatrix.com/shop/physiology-of-excellence)you can download and memorize.
Or you can read the blog post. (http://blog.iqmatrix.com/physiology-of-excellence)
Bonus Viewing – Enjoy this History Channel in-depth presentation, called the Secrets of Body Language.
Keep an open mind. Not all of this apply to you as an Aspergian, but you can at least learn how to better read body language signals from neurotypicals.
Other articles you may find helpful –
I hope you found these body language communication examples helpful. Which one or ones did you like most? Which one will you learn this week? I, personally, and working on improving the way I carry myself in public. I’d love to hear from you! Please share below!