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Power Skill: Non Verbal Communication Part I

I've been thinking about writing a book about the social impact of COVID and ways we can begin to put the pieces back together. The trauma, the fatigue and even the loss of social muscle memory that many are experiencing. We are in a season of rebuilding what it means to connect. Connect with plans, connect with joy, connect with future goals and connect with each other.

For our kids and teens, it's not just about reconnecting, it's about building. They literally missed key steps in social development. Their bodies and ages have progressed, but their social muscle wasn't exercised and the opportunity for age appropriate application simply wasn't there. So the most important thing we can do -- aside from giving teens a lot of grace -- is help them build strong social muscles with Power Skills that not only help with reconnection but also build VERY important social confidence.

Enter the Power Skills of Eye Contact & Posture.

This has been the focus of our past couple of weeks of Leadership & LeadHERship (6th & 7th graders) students the past two weeks. Here's what we worked on and how you can help apply the skills at home.

Eye Contact:

COMFORT ZONE: When eye contact feels awkward we can find comfort by looking on the bridge of the other person's nose. This gives the illusion of eye contact but we can avoid the pupil to pupil stare.

Serious / Professional Zone: This zone is anywhere a pair of glasses would rest or a rectangle across both eyes.This is an important zone for teens to get comfortable with as it's the Power Skill they should use most when communicating with adults. Often times, they think that listening is all they need to do, and so they may be tempted to listen but look away. Practicing looking in this zone not only helps them listen but communicates care and respect to the person talking

Social: Anywhere on the face. This is where we look on friends, family (not in serious conversations) teammates etc. This is a zone that communicates respect but in a more casual manner.

Judgmental Zone: Dropping eyes below the shoulders. If you've ever been looked up and down you know how uncomfortable it can be. As I remind our Leaders and LeadHERs if you do happen to give an "up and down" give a compliment... even if you are judging:). And if you are judging maybe think twice before you do it next time.

Posture: This might sound odd, but studies show that a strong posture not only helps others to feel like we are happy to see them or interested in connecting, there is also a direct link between confidence. When we keep our body in a POWER posture for two minutes our body actually produces the hormone testosterone. Likewise, when we sit in a powerless posture our body produces cortisol, the stress hormone. Suddenly the spike in mental health issues and the increased use of devices (phones, iPads and computers) begin to make more sense.

For Parents of our Leadership / LeadHERship Students

Home Habit:

This week, the LeadHERs are challenged to find times in their daily lives when they might be tempted to not show strong posture or make eye contact. Specifically thinking about awkward times, when they might be too tired or simply not want to. If your student has a teacher they are sure “doesn’t like me” or that they thinks "is SO boring" then this would be the class:). More often than not, teachers show signs of frustration or short with students who show disrespect / disinterest non-verbally (and verbally, but that’s another week). Goal setting for these more awkward moments are strong social muscle builders and also make for GREAT conversations at our next class.

Car and Kitchen Questions to help with Class Review:

1. Tell me about what happens when you have Open / Power Posture or Powerless Posture

2. What are the hormones that your body produces based on Power or Powerless Posture

3. Tell me the zones of eye contact

4. What are your Home Habit goals for the week?

5. Did you recap your Home Habit experience?

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