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6 Ways You Can Feel More Connected To Others, With Your Body And Words

by | Aug 10, 2021

Do you feel like your words don’t land when you’re trying to talk to someone else? How do you communicate in a way that helps another person really hear what you’re saying?

In a time where our ability to connect has been modified or limited, it’s important to make the time we have count!

The truth is… the only thing we can control is ourselves. So perhaps the biggest tip is to develop the courage to speak your truth. It gets you out of any messy mumbo-jumbo that can take you down a painful path for hours, days, or even years.

The intention you begin with is what grows. If you speak from your honest truth (which means you love and accept yourself), you have the potential to create more love and connection. If you communicate from fear, guess what? You create more fear!

Remember, the silver lining of a challenge is that we get to grow, get better at something, and in this instance, find much more authentic connection with the people and the topics we love.

Here are six tips for more effective communication, whether it’s in a Zoom business meeting or hanging out in-person with your friends or family:

1) What are your eyes and hands doing?

Eye contact and hand gestures speak infinite words! A steady gaze vs. darting eye contact, or hands-on your face vs. placed on a table or your lap… We’re often not aware of our habits and the messages we send, but building this embodied awareness helps keep your communication clear.

Tip – Start paying attention to how other people use their eyes and hands and what information you pick up. Then test yourself. What if you keep your hands on the table while speaking with someone or try holding eye contact for a few seconds longer? Notice how you feel–vulnerable, empowered, uncomfortable, or open–and how the other person reacts.

photo by Chance Jackson at Michelle’s Receive, Renew, Re-Create Retreat

 

2) Do you limit how you move your body?

(Of course, as a contemporary dancer, this is one of my favorites!) As kids, we moved our bodies in all kinds of ways, with tons of freedom. But we learn to suppress certain movements, which turns us into talking heads, shutting down our magnetism, emotional connection, and bright expression.

Tip – Take time regularly to move your body in unusual ways so you can access parts of yourself that you may have hidden away years ago. Close the door and let yourself be free. You might tap into excitement, grief, anger, or sadness. When you can be present with those emotions in your body, you open up the range of communication through your words and actions.

3) Are you breathing?

Your breath says a lot about the state you’re in, and people pick this up subconsciously. When you’re calm and confident, you breathe with ease. When excited, your breath speeds up to carry that excitement. If you’re anxious or panicked, you hold and shorten your breath. We all have mirror neurons, which reflect what we observe in another person. The more conscious you can be of your breath, the more intentional you can be with what you communicate!

Tip – Take a moment to pause, notice your breath, and let it adapt to support the state you want to be in. Letting out sounds – sighing and releasing – as you exhale, frees up emotions and energy that have been pent up in your body. As you release anything that’s stuck, you’ll breathe with more ease and spontaneity that suits how you’re authentically feeling.

4) When’s the last time you touched your heart?

We want to feel moved by someone’s words and not just be engaged intellectually. The intellect is important for analysis and data, but when a person can combine that with “heart intelligence,” they bring coherence, harmony, and inspiration to their language, in words and body. This is when people really want to listen!

Tip – Touch your heart from time to time while you speak, as a reminder that you and the people you’re speaking with want to hear the truth of your heart. You might even try a game with a trusted friend of having an entire conversation with your hand consciously on your heart.

photo by Chance Jackson at Michelle’s Receive, Renew, Re-Create Retreat

 

5) Do you know where your words are landing?

This can be used in business, public speaking, or performing…knowing who your audience is and speaking directly to the person who needs to hear your words. This can be a very specific person you create in your imagination, like an ideal customer, or an actual or imagined friend whom you’d love to share your words with. We’re often more comfortable and effective when we can focus on a single person.

Tip – A voice teacher taught me to imagine my words literally landing in another person’s body when I was speaking onstage. If you’re visual you can imagine that your words are like objects literally traveling through space and landing like a gift in another person’s body. Online, let yourself look at the single person who seems to be engaged with what you’re saying and talk to them!

photo by Alex Escalante. Michelle performing in Miguel Gutierrez’s dance piece “Everyone”

6) Can you forget about yourself?

A performance will suffer if people are too caught up in how they look or what the “audience” is thinking. Learning to be completely interested in the message of what you’re saying, rather than the impression you’re trying to make, helps you be of service and get beyond your fearful ego’s desire to be loved and accepted.

Tip – Remember to believe you already are loved and accepted! Now you can focus on what you’re here to say and who you’re here to serve and connect with. Once you know what you want to talk about, study effective communicators. Notice how they stand or sit, use their focus, hands, or posture to convey something they’re interested in! Often their bodies are energized and easy. Now rehearse, regularly! Copy what you notice in that person as you talk out loud by yourself or with a friend who can give you honest feedback. Become an even better version of you!

photo by Ian Douglas. Michelle performing in Miguel Gutierrez’s “Age and Beauty Part 2”

 

I hope these tips help you! They come from decades of experience of studying communication in words and through my body (especially as a professional who danced, spoke, and sang on stages around the world).

Ultimately the desire is to bring more heart into the world. It’s only through practice (with lots of mistakes and understanding along the way) that we each individually get better at it and add to more heart in the world for everyone.

Try one or all of them out. Leave a Comment on how it goes below!

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