R. Shawn McBride recently spoke to Leo Cardenas about the importance of body language. Here is the transcript:
Shawn McBride : Hey, everyone. R. Shawn McBride live with you here. I have my friend Leo Cardenas with us and we’re going to be talking about body language which is critically important. As all of you know, everything I do touches around planning and building your business and sometimes we have unintended consequences with things we’re doing and body language we’re giving off and it sends messages. This is somewhere Leo spends a lot of time training and educating and working with people to not bombshell our own work. Leo, why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you do and how folks work with you?
Leo : Thanks, Shawn. I’m actually a speaker and a trainer and I specialize in working with groups of people that deal with customers or deal with coworkers on a regular basis on how to communicate better with body language. Not only communicate better, but also understand their own body language. To me, it is very important that people become mindful of their body language before they worry about everybody else’s. You see a lot of articles and you see a lot of things that people read or watch about, “Oh he’s touching his nose, he must be lying.” I try to bring them back a little bit. Let’s watch you. Let’s observe what you’re doing. Be aware of what you’re doing and then communicate better before you start watching other people.
Shawn McBride : Exactly. I think so much of it’s just unintended, right? We’re doing things that we’re not really thinking about and perhaps we’re nervous or perhaps we’re just distracted by something else but the other person may be thinking completely something different. I guess the other side of it is too, you can learn a lot of soft information by paying attention to the other person you’re interacting with in a sales negotiation or other transaction.
Leo : Yeah, you want to do that because what I preach is I want people to be in alignment with what they’re saying. So congruence. If I’m saying something I want my body to match as well as far as the non-verbals. I think once we start thinking about those thing . . . once we become aware of what our own non-verbals are doing on a regular basis, then we start observing them on other people as well.
When we’re able to communicate in such a way that our verbals match our non-verbals, we become trustworthy and we become more authentic and we connect with people better. So it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, be mindful. Minding your body language is a huge, huge improvement to the way you communicate with people on a regular basis.
Shawn McBride : Yeah. I think it is very interesting. I was looking at your page recently and you’ve been posting some photos with people and you have compare and contrast. One person that’s holding their hand one way and there’s a very similar picture with the person holding their hands the other way and you ask who do you trust and it’s actually pretty clear when you get the comments. People clearly favor the same type of person. We just naturally do it as humans. It’s pretty amazing how little subtle things can make a huge difference.
Leo : Well you got to remember a lot of this is science, right? This is research that has been done and it all has to do with the brain, the way the brain perceives things. That’s why the hand thing is so important is because our hands are trust indicators. One of the poses that you were referring to for example, is the one where is the guy doing this and the guy with the hands under the table. A lot of people prefer the guy with the hands simply because that’s what the brain prefers. The brain needs to know that it’s safe, that it can trust you. If I cannot see the hands then I cannot trust you. That’s why handshakes are so important. That’s why speaking under the table is so important or keeping your hands above the table is so important.
Shawn McBride : Right. Exactly. I think a lot of us aren’t thinking about the fact that little things like that make a huge difference and like you said, put your hands out there so people could see them. Putting them underneath the table in a negotiation situation instinctually there’s an animal element here that’s causing us to think that, that person may not be up to no good even if we know them well or we have no reason to suspect something else.
Leo : Yeah, we have three types of brains. One of them is the one that is designed to protect us. It’s the fight or flight response, right? It doesn’t analyze log. It doesn’t look at anything else but do I need to run or fight this person right away? That’s why the hands are so important and that’s why I like to give people on my Instagram page options to see how their brain reacts to the photos that I’m posting or what they think when they see this situation in real life.
Shawn McBride : Yeah, I’ve been impressed by looking at them just because it does bring it home to me. As soon as I see that I wake up and I’m like, wow there’s an issue there.
Leo : You meet a lawyer, there’s a lot of body language involved with the jurors as well and the way the jurors actually look at defendants. This is a whole world, we’re throwing non-verbals out there on a regular basis anyway so it’s good for people to learn some of these things. I like to say that once you turn on that switch, you can’t turn it off. Once I teach you a few things, you’ll start observing those things on a regular basis.
Shawn McBride : Right. This is part of what you’ve been doing with the organizations, right? You’ve been out there helping them turn this switch on, working with them live in different presentations or situations where you help them see the stuff to get the ball rolling.
Leo : I like for them to see the light.
Shawn McBride : Yeah. What’s a program like? Let’s say somebody brings you in for an hour. What type of stuff will you cover? What will they learn? What would they take away from that?
Leo : My program is usually very interactive. I will usually focus on the three logical things that people expect from body language, right? Hands, feet and belly button. Everybody expects those three things, right?
Shawn McBride : Right.
Leo : No, my program is called the Full Frontal Factor so it’s all about being authentic and about actually creating trust and connection with people right off the bat. The way that I teach them or the way that I talk about it is talking about the hands, how important the hands are. And very importantly how to give the proper handshake. A handshake that gives people status. A handshake that gives people trust immediate. Then I talk about something I call my foot fetish. It’s how I like to observe people’s feet during networking events for example to kind of tell where the conversation is going or whether or not I can break into a conversation that is already happening.
Lastly, I also speak about the belly button simply because when we’re talking about the full frontal factor, that is the way that I recommend people talk to each other. When they’re fully engaged they have to be facing each other completely. If I’m talking to you like this right now, if I’m doing this, I’m not engaged. My body’s more engaged with what’s happening out here than what’s happening here. I always try to tell people engage by fronting, showing your vulnerable side to the people and their brain will react in a way that they can trust you even more.
Shawn McBride : Yeah, this is somewhat a similar principle you see with speaking, right? Be vulnerable. Show who you are. Let people build trust by understanding that you’re a real person and here we bring it all the way back to body language. Show that in your body language. Don’t be overly protective because you’re sending that wrong message, you might not be someone they want to collaborate with or they may not be able to trust. They might be up to something else.
I’ve certainly had the experience in networking events where I’ll be talking to someone and you see them start turning their body because they’re looking to move to another conversation. You know that conversation’s coming to an end pretty quickly.
Leo : Before that even happens people actually start turning one of their feet away. Once they start turning their body, it’s because you missed probably the previous cues that told you that they were ready to go.
Shawn McBride : Yeah, that’s interesting too because that’s a great cue. Thinking about the feet now, that’ll certainly be something I’ll keep an eye out in future networking events because that’ll give that early indication.
Leo : Absolutely.
Shawn McBride : Somebody in our audience is asking can you ever stand too tall? Can you ever be too erect? What is the proper posture?
Leo : There’s no right or wrong in body language. I always say that there’s how you want to be perceived. You want to be perceived as a very, very dominant person that takes a lot of space, then yeah standing very, very erect all the time will actually make you look like you’re taking space. Like you’re being more of an alpha person. Now you don’t want to be hunched over either. That sends a whole different message.
I want you to be yourself. I want you to be relaxed and if you’re worried about standing up like this the whole time you’re talking, you’re not relaxed and what happens is whatever you say it’s not going to match your body language so you’re not going to be congruent with your message. So if you find yourself straightening up it’s because you feel that you’re hunched over and you should do it, there’s a device that you can actually buy to help you with that but don’t do it just because you just feel that it would be better body language. I want you to be natural in congruence with your own message.
Shawn McBride : How do you do that? How do you coach people to be more natural? What are some pointers there? What are some things that people can do to be a little more natural?
Leo : Well the thing about being natural and being authentic is you can still practice being authentic. A lot of people say, “Well it’s not authentic if you have to practice it.” Well it’s not about faking authenticity. It’s about practicing certain things that will make you feel and make you look more authentic. For example, if you know that you’re going to be talking to people and you find yourself … that’s why body language mindfulness is so important, if I find myself pointing away from them that’s because my brain naturally wants to go somewhere else but that sends the wrong message to the person that I’m talking to. I will consciously turn myself towards them if I want to continue that conversation even though my brain doesn’t want to. Maybe I’m ready to go somewhere else, I want to give this person my full attention, I will point my feet and I will force myself to point my feet at them and that makes them feel that they are connecting with me more even if know personally I might not be as much as I should.
Shawn McBride : Yeah, there’s almost elements I guess … at one point I studied a little bit of the neurolinguistic programming, kind of connecting with people and you’re following their body language to create that connection. I’m hearing some elements of that maybe embedded in here.
Leo : Yeah, there’s a lot to do with NLP as well. We share a lot of similarities when it comes to the body language part. They also talk more about how people perceive us based on which direction we move our hand or which place on the stage we’re talking from. Yeah, that has a lot to do with it. I don’t specialize in that part. I specialize more on our own non-verbals and then learning to decode people’s faces and people’s non-verbals based on what you know about yourself.
Shawn McBride : Right. I imagine this could make a huge difference in an organization. If you come in there and train the sales team and get them to tweak their body language a little bit, I imagine that could probably have a tremendous impact on the outcomes of the course of the year.
Leo : Well there’s two industries that would benefit from this. Think about it. The sales industry, people buy from people they trust. Simple. So how do you establish trust right off the bat? Think about a car salesman for example. People are outside in the lot looking for a car and we always have that shark song in our head, right, when we see someone approach us like (verbal sound effect). We’re preparing ourselves to be attacked by this predator, right? I don’t want to say it this way but our brain is seeing it that way. If they cannot project trust right off the bat, then we are like prey we’re going to run away basically.
I try to help sales teams to understand how they’re being perceived so that they can improve the way that they go after a person or a prospect for example. Teams like training teams, training departments, corporate trainers for example. They have to project leadership. They have to project confidence while on stage or while conducting a workshop. I also help those teams find their congruence with their body language.
Shawn McBride : Sure. Perfect. Well that’s all very helpful stuff. I know you’ve got another meeting to get off to. I really appreciate it. I think this is very helpful information for folks. You want to let folks know how to get a hold of you if they want to follow up with you or maybe they know a conference or event that could really benefit from your expertise?
Leo : I appreciate that. My website’s probably the best place. It’s www.leocardenas.com which is L-E-O C-A-R-D-E-N-A-S.
Shawn McBride : Perfect. Thank you Leo. This is Shawn McBride here. As you know my mission is to help people build companies that stand the test of time, really executing those plans to make them work. I love sitting down with experts like Leo to really work on those details of the plan. As I get in with clients sometimes we see there’s a particular area that needs help and he’s one of my great resources if body language issues ever come up or we’re trying to make teams more effective. Feel free to reach out to me. You should find a link through here or check out my YouTube channel for more great videos. Leo, I’d love to have you back again sometime to talk some more.
Leo : Absolutely. Any time.
Shawn McBride : All right folks. We’ll see you soon. Talk to you soon. Shawn McBride, signing off.
Leo : Bye Shawn.
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This posting is intended to be a tool to familiarize readers with some of the issues discussed herein. This is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion and additional details should be discussed with your attorneys, accountants, consultants, bankers and other business planners who can provide advice for your circumstances. Each case is unique. Past results do not guarantee future outcomes. This article should not be treated as legal advice to any person or entity. Freeimages.com/photographer Konrad Baranski.
About the Author
R. Shawn McBride is the Chief Innovation Officer at McBride For Business, LLC. His signature keynote, The 3 Laws of Empowerment (www.rshawnmcbridelive.com/3laws), gives audiences an entertaining look at how they can prepare, plan and protect themselves. You can reach R. Shawn McBride at firstname.lastname@example.org or (214) 418-0258.
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