[nagdu] the body language workshop

Lisa Irving lirving1234 at cox.net
Mon Apr 11 01:13:14 UTC 2011

I'm still hung up on the presenter's term, "hard of seeing". What the heck! 
I had a similar experience at a diversity training work shop. Go figure.

Lisa and Bernie
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Julie J" <julielj at neb.rr.com>
To: "NAGDU Mailing List,the National Association of Guide Dog Users" 
<nagdu at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Saturday, April 09, 2011 1:00 PM
Subject: [nagdu] the body language workshop

> Heya all!
> I just got back from that body language workshop I talked about a few 
> weeks ago.  I did learn some new things, but mostly it was common sense 
> things...eye contact is good, staring is considered intimidating and lack 
> of eye contact is interpreted as hiding something.  There was lots more 
> stuff like that.  She did a pretty good job of addressing physical issues 
> that could contribute to a difference in body language, a deaf/hard of 
> hearing person not responding to a question or a visually impaired person 
> not responding to a waved greeting.  Although it was extremely annoying 
> that she used the term "hard of seeing".
> She talked a lot about open and closed postures.  They are pretty much 
> exactly what you'd think.  closed is head down, eyes averted, arms and/or 
> legs crossed, hands in pockets and the body turned away.  All of these 
> indicate a closed affect.  She never really did get clear about what 
> exactly this means.  To the best of my understanding it can be different 
> depending on the person and the situation.  Closed body language can 
> indicate nervousness, lack of repor, lack of interest,being uncomfortable 
> or generally not wanting to participate in the conversation.
> Open body language is just the opposite.  Generally you would face your 
> belly button toward the other person with it not covered by crossed arms. 
> Looking toward the person, palms open held out such as in a high five, 
> wave or handshake, leaning forward and head held up  are all open body 
> language.  Generally these all indicate a willingness to communicate or 
> interest in the other person.
> To gain repor with another person she suggested mimicking their body 
> language.  they have their hands in pockets, you put your hands in 
> pockets.  They rest their chin on their hand you do the same.  This is 
> supposed to give people a feeling of sameness and familiarity.  Once this 
> repor is established you can do something using your body language and the 
> other person will mimic your action.  In this way you can steer a person 
> toward feeling more comfortable with you.
> All that said, I want to relate what happened when I first entered the 
> classroom.  I didn't tell them in advance that I'm blind, have a guide dog 
> and I didn't request any accommodations.  I wasn't taking this workshop 
> for any particular reason other than personal interest.  and part of me 
> wanted to find out just exactly how an instructor teaching body language 
> would handle a blind person in their class.  So as I'm walking by trying 
> to navigate the maze of tables to find a seat, the instructor flies out of 
> her chair and moves toward Monty and me fast enough that Monty felt it 
> important to move me out of her way.  While she's moving toward me she's 
> rattling off question after question without even a breath in between, 
> "What's his name?Can I pet him? and then she reaches for Monty.  You guys 
> have heard enough of my stories by now to know that Monty is not fond of 
> weirdoes touching him.  Come to think of it, I'm not either, so I can 
> totally understand where he's coming from.  Monty backs away from her hand 
> as I'm telling her that he's not into strangers touching him.  Fortunately 
> she had sense enough to back off and sit back down.
> For the next three hours I was thinking about this interaction and  what I 
> could have done to prevent it in the context of body language.  I didn't 
> make eye contact with her.  I didn't even know she was there until she 
> started spouting all her questions.  I wasn't facing her.  I had 
> intentionally turned away from her and put myself in between her and 
> Monty.  I didn't smile, nod or make any other gestures that were mentioned 
> in the workshop that could have been interpreted as an invitation to come 
> accost my dog.
> So what I am left with is that people are nutters and no amount of amazing 
> body language skills are going to keep them at bay.   Or maybe because of 
> my body language she got the hint and sat back down quickly.  Perhaps body 
> language can't prevent encounters, but it can end them more quickly.  I 
> don't know.
> Julie
> _______________________________________________
> nagdu mailing list
> nagdu at nfbnet.org
> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/nagdu_nfbnet.org
> To unsubscribe, change your list options or get your account info for 
> nagdu:
> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/options/nagdu_nfbnet.org/lirving1234%40cox.net 

More information about the NAGDU mailing list