Too often, when we’re speaking in front of colleagues, peers, or stakeholders, our nervous system engages in the fight-flight-or-flop response, leaving us anxious and tongue-tied. We know what we want to say, but our body gets in the way. During this hour-long session, you will learn ways to recognize this stress response and then dismantle it using both physical and verbal techniques. It’s time to step out of your own way and harness your personal power to get your point across with skill and ease.

Key takeaways:

  • The importance of acknowledging the moment at hand and discovering the gifts it holds
  • Ways to release counterproductive judgment and convert it into useful curiosity
  • Social engagement techniques that foster connection and reduce self-consciousness
  • An accepting, conversational mindset that challenges our zero-sum narratives and allows us to adapt to dynamic circumstances
  • The use of humor and play as a means to enliven your presentation skills

Webinar presenter Jim Robinson, PhD, has three decades of experience both as a psychology professor and as a professional improviser and actor. His workshop, “Improvisation and Mental Health,” evolved from his work in both fields and recently was the basis of his Fulbright Specialist project and Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund grant, both in Pakistan. 

Presented on January 17, 2024.

Embodied Communication Takeaways

To effectively get your message across, you need to connect with your audience. Most people can tell when somebody’s engaged with them and when they’re not. They’ll know if someone’s engaged by their eye contact, their poster (e.g.leaning forward), etc. 

Sometimes called “body language” but encompassing much more, in embodied communication we use our five senses; we use our voice and posture, the muscles in our face, particularly the muscles around our eyes and in our forehead, to send out cues to the people that we're talking to.

When our words, physicality, and vocal technique are not in sync, that is, when our body is saying something different than our voice, the people we’re trying to communicate with may not receive the message. So, with embodied communication, the goal is to find a way to relax and be in our body so that when we speak our body is supporting the words we're using. 

We can’t control other people, what they think, or how they react. But we can create communication that allows for connection that may make us more understandable, and perhaps more agreeable or more persuasive.

Things in our control are:

  • our boundaries
  • our thoughts and actions
  • the goals we set
  • our energy
  • how we speak to ourselves
  • how we handle challenges

Those are things we lose track of when we get nervous. We begin to think that we’re completely out of control because our body is telling us that it is.

Ways to connect with our body to get back in sync are:

  • humming
  • deep breathing from diaphragm
  • shaking our hands and body
  • chanting or humming
  • practicing non-judgement with ourselves
  • doing a body scan and relaxing the areas of tension or stress

The above are actions we can take to get in touch with our body while preparing to communicate or present. Watch the webinar to find out what to do when our nerves take over in the middle of a presentation.