Decades ago, psychotherapist Virginia Satir identified five body language positions people use when under stress. Satir called these Stress Responders. She taught that we can use these signs to:
1. understand how people react differently to stress
2. elicit particular responses from other people with whom we are communicating.
Here at Corporate Events Indianapolis, we pay attention to body language, because, at every Mind Tripping show, we create rapport by interacting with the audience. The only way to do this is to listen not only to what people are saying, but to what their body language is telling us.
You see, all of us, throughout the day, assume one or another of those five Satir positions. Because of that, often without meaning to, we end up “broadcasting signals” about our own feelings and intentions.
Today, let’s look at just two of Satir’s five body language positions. (It will be fascinating, as you go about your event planning work today, to “practice” picking up one or both of these two signals from others.)
Placater position. (This body language conveys a request for others to stay calm. The speaker may be giving bad news or asking for something.)
- Palms are facing up
- Feet and body are facing forward
- Head is vertical with eyebrows slightly raised (pleading or questioning)
Computer position. (This body language means the person is evaluating and considering, often holding back from making a decision about your proposal or request.)
- Body may be resting on a rear leg
- Arms may be crossed, or perhaps one arm is under the chin
- Eyebrows are slightly in
So if you see someone in the Placater position, you may want to let that person know that you are calm and able to listen. If you see the Computer position, say “I see you are evaluating what I am saying. Let’s talk about your concerns.”
Virginia Satir wanted to help family members and co-workers communicate more effectively with each other. The more able we are to pick up the “signals” other people are sending, the better we can understand what they are really trying to express and the better we can find ways to help each other.
For weeks and months ahead of any performance, we’re used to seeing our master entertainers Christian and Katalina communicate with the corporate event planner to tailor each Mind Tripping show to that client’s precise objectives.
- Is this a customer or employee appreciation event?
- Is the purpose to educate the audience about a new service or product offering?
- Is the event intended to introduce new company procedures, personnel or policy?
(Think how important it will be to notice the body language of the audience as they receive this new information!)
Serious stuff, this body language? It can be, but, you know what the one “position” Indianapolis event planners always tell us they most appreciate about every Mind Tripping Show?
It’s the Fun position. (This body language means the mouth is curved upwards at the ends, the eyes are shining, the hands clapping, with the entire torso relaxed.)
– by Rebecca of the Corporate Events Indianapolis blog team