Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Review of Winning Body Language by Mark Bowden

Sometimes the title of a book just grabs you and you say, "why not?". Thus, with Winning Body Language (2010 Kindle), it just hit me at the right moment (or maybe someone referred to it, I don't recall). Anyway, the read proved worthwhile. Bowden breaks down the zones of the body and how each communicates to us. When you think about it (if you do), it makes sense. We are incarnate beings, and a lot of communication, probably most, goes on outside of our spoken words. We received messages not just from voice inflection, but through the whole body. Many of us don't know this in a way that allows us to use it, but you can bet that actors, professional speakers, and politicians (the good ones anyway) use it, at least instinctively. If we communicate with others—i.e., unless you're a hermit—you should consider this book and what it tells us about ourselves and how we send messages. Want to get people excited? Raise your hands above your head. Want to be perceived as forthcoming? Then keep your arms open at waist level. Want to speak from the heart? Then fold your hands in a prayer gesture at the level of you heart. This may seem simple and formulaic, and to some extent, it is, but these basis insights will allow you to become a more effective communicator (much as mirroring does). I think that these observations work, that this perspective involves deep evolutionary and cultural information, and that it's been refined by practice. It's worth trying--at least I am.

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