Body language and non-verbal communication exercises

I'm developing a workshop on non-verbal communication (body language etc) and wondered if anybody had any good role plays, exercises etc.

I’m looking for things that are relatively easy for an audience of non-actors to do – particularly in relation to the assumptions we make about people through body language, how to brush up our non-verbal skills. I’ve got stuff on rapport and matching and mirroring, but would be interested in ideas re power relationships, managing first impressions – that sort of thing.

All ideas gratefully accepted!

Judith Perle

Answers

Split into groups of three or four. Emphasise that if anyone is uncomfortable with role playing or acting they can just be an observer in their group and do not have to act out a role. Make sure there is only one observer in each group.
Ask the active participants to take it in turns to walk up to their group colleagues in a way which shows either pleasure, confidence, arrogance, nerves or distress. They should not speak.
Ask the other two to identify which of these emotions is being demonstrated.
End with a plenary discussion on how well the group members could spot the emotion. Record non verbal clues on to flip chart. Congratulate everyone on their acting skills.
This kind of exercise often produces lots of fun and laughter which creates a positive learning experience.

Hi Judith,
One way of observing BL without having to develop a role-play (which many people find difficult as any role-play inherently contains comparisons with the person playing it - so BL is more likely to be inhibited rather than exhibited), is to use simple improvisation games where you get each participant to move in and out of an improvised situation (in a round-robin) so they warm up to the way of working, and then introduce themes that will bring out more obvious body language. You will get some instances of obvious BL prior, in the warm-up as most people will be feeling self-conscious and may exhibite relevant BL.
I use this type of method a lot. Its more free-form and creative and thus contains flexibility of building many relationships between action and objective.
Hope this helps.
Nigel
(posted this in the prejudice thread as well).

I'd video Question Time and watch the body language on that - find some examples which illustrate your points and then play back and ask the group what they think. I've done this with the videoing of participants and play back, which is the most pertinent to them - but if you don't have the luxury of getting a video in, TV coverage can be helpful.

Hope this helps.

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