It certainly wasn’t a bawdy language workshop. That wouldn’t be remotely safe for work.

How are you doing? How are you feeling. Hmm, I see. *Nods*.

Don’t mind me, I’ve just spent most of my day in a vocal and body language workshop, so I’m auditing everything I do and say. We looked at the connotations of body language, how we ourselves presented to the group and tried to decode deeper meanings behind the words. In all honesty, it was very much excellent.

We were asked to stand up in front of the room one at a time and say our name, our department and what we’d hoped to get out of the workshop. We then were then scrutinised and picked apart in the friendliest critical way possible. Some nitpicking involved deriding fidgeting, posture or foot shuffling. Some slumped or oscillated. Hands were held in “fig leaf” pose, clasped in front of their laps. Arms were folded or clenched, weight shifted between legs. As we went around the room, presentation picked up. The sacrificial lambs who went first gave guidance for those to follow. I’m used to public speaking. I like public speaking. Still, it felt like I was stepping up waiting for the axe to fall. It didn’t. I managed to survive as the only one unscathed by criticism. The accent wins again. Red faced and grinning, I took my seat.

The more we talked about posture, the further I tried to control mine. I’ve always been fascinated by body image and I’ve tried to pick tips to control my output. I’ve unabashedly used things like mirroring before to see if dates are interested. If we’re talking across the table from one another, I’ve tried shifting my posture or arm position to see if she follows. In an entirely non-empirical sense, it’s worked sometimes. So who knows? Sitting in the workshop though, I kept trying to adopt an open, non-confrontational stance that showed engagement. Shoulders and scapula back, sitting in my seat with my legs firmly planted on the ground. My hands were on the table, peaked in a steeple position. As soon as I found out this was meant to imply competence I tried opening them up further. I was trying to shift as far away from any arrogance as I could. I’m no expert, but I was keen to let the facilitator know that I was enjoying everything that was coming our way. Also the head of marketing was there, so I wanted to put forward a solid front. Meeting her for the first time, I think I made a good, confident impression. She seems like good people. She’s probably taken this workshop already.

An excellent refresher of things I haven’t touched since first year university. A slightly more complex version of my old favourite, the Sender/Message/Receiver model was in there, as well as an excess of amazing stock office photos. We had to look through a bunch of them and try to read how everyone was reacting, what they were feeling and if they were trying to hide anything. We had a fun exercise where someone would get up to tell two truths and a lie, we had to try calling them out on it. I can tell you one truth, I’m useless at poker. I’m fine managing my own communication and how I present myself, but when it comes to reading others… Well I’m not gonna run for Prime Minister any time soon. I don’t know what it says about me that learning all this stuff, well it seems like an amazing way to maneuver your way to a strong position. Maybe I should cut back on the House of Cards. This all seems so Machiavellian.

Yeah, I’m not gonna run for Prime Minister. How about that Presidential seat though?


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