Tag Archive for: body language

Beyond words

Today, will mark the end of missionary interviews, the last two with our Assistants this evening.
After three years, I think Monic and I are now approaching some 6,000 coaching interviews.
We shall miss these special times; they have been a labour of love.

The Last Round

Whilst in one interview this week, a missionary inquired, “How do I ask good questions?”
Initially, I remarked about being fully present, by giving my full and utmost attention.
I mentioned the importance of deep listening, not only to the words used but the emotions felt and being guided by humility, compassion, and love.
Then, I introduced the power of clarifying.
Pausing, I said “Let’s do some roleplays…”
The missionary spoke and shared an opinion with me.
Carefully crafting the missionary’s own words in a different order, I drew attention to an aspect of the experience and asked a clarifying question.
In other words, I reflected the words back to the missionary and used them to ask a question in a different tone and a slower voice.
At first the missionary was startled by the insight, but after a little practice, soon cottoned on.
Then, I said, “You can also ask questions without words.”
“Huh?” came the response.

Body Language

You can ask questions in non-verbal ways through facial expressions, eye contact, a raised eyebrow, a puzzled look, tilting your head to the side, tugging your ear, placing your hand on your cheek, stroking your chin, using hand gestures or a combination of them all.
Self-awareness is paramount.
We practiced a little more.
To understand each other better, try slowing down and be silent.
Jesus Christ knew the importance of Psalms 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God…”
A favourite saying of mine often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi reads, “Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary, use words.”
Jesus asked perceptive questions and then waited for answers, frequently listening not only with His ears but with also with His heart.
Key is to focus on what you feel inside, rather than on what you see and hear outside.
A good example is the story of faith filled Bartimaeus in Mark 10:46-52, where Jesus stopped and healed him.
Often teaching without words, simply through His actions; that is the Master’s way.
How can you listen and ask questions more compassionately?

Be

Put your mobile down.
Set your tablet or laptop aside.
Turn the television off.
Put down your book.
Are you paying attention?
Just be here.

𝐁𝐞.

In a world filled with distractions it can be easy to get side-tracked and lose focus on the person or people that matter most of all.
In a recent coaching interview, one missionary asked me a question something like this…
“President, how can I improve my communication skills?”
Reflecting for a moment, as I observed the missionary and made eye contact, I asked a question that focused on being present and the unspoken dialogue I observed before me.
I asked, “Look at me and tell me what you observe?”
Hesitating the missionary responded… “I see you!”
“What else do you see?” I asked.
“You’re sitting comfortably”.
“Yes, I am sitting comfortably, but what else?” I said.
There were a few more interactions.
However, unable to see what I was driving at; I described my body language.
Then the missionary understood that I’d been delicately mirroring or matching the gesture’s, expressions, tone of voice and seating posture throughout our conversation.
What was I really saying?
I was indicating… “I am curious about you and making an effort to understand you.”
I had slowed down.
It was a moment of true bewilderment, to watch the reaction unfold.
Observing and listening, along with things we speak, are equally critical parts of communicating, that show you care.
“We must develop the capacity to see [others] not as they are at present but as they may become.” – Thomas S. Monson.
True disciples of Jesus Christ seek to follow His example in the ways they communicate.
I love this scripture from Ephesians 4:29 …“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
If you want to develop Christlike communication, then speak with a missionary today.