When people talk and write about body language, they describe movement as if they were talking about colorforms, those plastic stick-on clothes and accessories that we used to play with as kids in the ’50’s………do this pose, make this gesture, and presto! you’re conveying meaning, you’re expressing yourself in the language of movement, and the world can ‘read’ you/your meaning.
If only it were that easy…………the world wouldn’t be in the shape it’s in! meaning is not derived from simply accessorizing with gestures and postures. how we move about in life emanates from inside of us, from the inside out. ‘doing’ is ‘becoming’, much in the same way as inspirational speakers and thinkers tell us to ‘do’ an act of faith, and the ‘feeling’ will develop over time.
We carve new neural pathways by doing, by experiencing, at the level of organic, authentic, alive activity and process. the “body language” kick being hyped amongst management trainers as a tool for “executive presence” is a reductionistic use of the language of the body.
‘Presence’ is a state of being, derived from self-awareness, from an internal knowing of/comfort with being. the colorforms, stick-on method of creating ‘presence’ leads to false pretense and discomfort, a sense of manipulation rather than the self-discovery of authenticity and the expansion of possibilities through the creation of range and repertiore.
Movement is a constant, a continuous thread, phrases with connectors, transitions, not something static. movement has a vocabulary, a syntax, a logical sequence, an order, in the same way that spoken language does. it is this underlying ‘grammar’ that conveys meaning, not the static elements, poses and gestures. we know intuitively when the phrasing doesn’t flow, when the connectors are missing……….many of us don’t know/can’t articulate what we’re seeing and sensing, but we ‘know’ because the meaning gets lost in the translation.
Moving is self-expression at it’s most basic level, where we all began, before speech.
what we are looking to offer people in the workplace is a vehicle for self-expression, which opens the gateway to creativity, to initiative, to ‘presence’.
We, the two of us, Dr. B and Dr G, are ‘scientist/artists’……………what a cool concept!! we know the theory, the research, and also live as ‘movers’, as creative artists who remain rooted in the knowledge of the physical expression of the body as a prime mode of communication.
Now, how do we tell other people that this matters?