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  • Writer's pictureSusan Tatum

The Power of Body Language

Body Language is a non-verbal cue that can impact a conversation or presentation far more than the words coming out of your mouth. Kristin Bock is a Body Language and Communication Consultant at her company, Body Language Blueprints. Kristin shares examples of non-verbal cues and the real impact they can have in interviews, presentations, digital communication, and marketing.

Notes from the Show

Kristin Bock, Body Language and Communication Consultant and founder of Body Language Blueprints, calls non-verbal cues a gift to the speaker.

What is Nonverbal Communication?

  1. Body Language - facial expressions, posture, stance, gate

  2. Vocal power - tone, volume, cadence, pitch, question inflection

  3. Ornaments - clothing

Each of these in combination with verbal communication gives cues to your brain, which is subconsciously at the most basic level, picking up to protect and keep you safe.

Kristin explains a situation in which she interviewed for a position and the purely blank expression on her interviewer's face left her feeling negative…like she had done poorly. The same day she was called back with an offer. Her interviewer was as she says "cue-less", she did not empathize with her and provided non-verbal cues that she was engaged, interested or understanding of anything she was saying.

Aside from being completely blank and cue-less, others can have what many call an "RBF", a resting bothered face…anyone can have it. It's where your relaxed face has downturned corners of the mouth and your eyes reflect mad or sadness. You know you have RBF if you're engaged or zoned out in an activity and you often are asked, "Are you mad?" "Are you okay?" or people even say "You look mean." Kristin and I both admit we have this feature, and she points out the importance and impact it can have on interactions if people with RBF are more mindful to show positive engagement like smiles, nods, and eye contact.

Nonverbals aren't just about face-to-face communication, in today's world there are non-verbal cues even in digital communication, whether that's emails, Zoom meetings, and even marketing. Some may think emojis are unprofessional, but Kristin strikes the point that when used appropriately they provide important emotional context and tone. What about your camera? You may not want to show face during a meeting, but showing the speaker your non-verbal engagement can really add to a meeting or presentation. We even touch on "Bro Marketing", the infamous "buy this quick" countdown timer pushing a sense of urgency to buy for a deal, and how women leaders in this space are making a big change in the non-verbals associated with sales outreach.

You can find out more about Kristin Bock and her insight on Body Language by connecting with her on LinkedIn or trying her free DIY Body Language Audit.

What's Inside:

  • What is non-verbal communication and why is it important?

  • How your body language and non-verbal cues affect others.

  • Should you be more mindful of your “RBF”?

  • What do non-verbal cues look like in digital communication?

  • What is “Bro Marketing”?

  • How are women leaders changing the marketing and sales outreach space?

Mentioned in this Episode:

Transcribed by AI Susan Tatum 0:36

Hi, everybody, welcome back. And today my guest is Kristin Boch, who is a Body Language and Communication Consultant. She has her own company called Body Language Blueprints. And I'm very excited about this conversation because there's, there's a lot of good stuff here that I got the first time you and I talk, Kristin. So welcome. Looking forward to this discussion with you.

Kristin Bock 0:57

Wow, I am happy to be here and thank you for inviting me, Susan

Susan Tatum 1:01

tell us a little bit about what it is like what like what is a Body Language and Communication Consultant do and how did you how did you get into that?

Kristin Bock 1:10

Okay, well, there's several parts to this. So let me just okay, let me I'll begin with my story. Which is layered, I recently started thinking about this, like lasagna, I have layers. So let's start with a noodles. The noodles are my personality, my disposition. So I was born. pretty shy, hesitant definitely in the observant category, I would watch people do things before I try. I like to dip my toe in. So I think there is that personality of me that drew me to studying body language, because I would marvel at the people that just seemed to know how to do it all like how to show up and be engaging and mesmerizing. That was so alluring to me. Like I wanted to figure that out, crack that code, where was my secret decoder ring. So that's that layer, I needed it. Then there's sort of that second layer, like the sauce or the meat sauce, where I saw I went to college, got my degree in psychology, I graduated, and I was really drawn to making a difference. So I wanted to help people. And I took a job in a nonprofit working with adults with cognitive disabilities. So that without even trying was such fertile training ground for this line of work where I was working frontline, yeah, direct care with individuals that were both verbal and nonverbal. And that just knowingly, unknowingly really sharpened my observation skills, I just started noticing that wow. You know, if things go better when you approach it this way, or if you say it this way, or that staff member just has no problem interacting with a person, where another person does, I started to really kind of take note of that. So that was kind of really where my interest took off. And then that final layer, I'm going to call it cheese is when I was asked to do training for the company, by the way, I stayed at that company for 26 years, I worked in a variety of positions, and they asked me to do the training. And specifically, one of the things they wanted me to teach about was, for lack of a better word like behaviors, how to interact, how to notice,how to anticipate things. And I was really afraid of public speaking. So as so many people hopefully can relate to is it was me needing to stand in front of a group confidently, that really pushed me over the edge. That's where I thought I need to seek out certification, I need to become proficient at this. So that is my backstory.

Susan Tatum 3:49

So good story Ilike it, it drove you into I mean, you have that you have the emotional attachment to it, you had the interest in it. And then you put yourself in a situation where you had the opportunity to learn more about it.

Kristin Bock 4:03

Right, right. The perfect spire, The you know, all conditions have to be right.

Susan Tatum 4:08

So when you talking about nonverbal communications, I mean, I think for a number of years, we've been talking about the way people are sitting or the way the looks on their faces. And you kind of don't know what to do with it. Right? You know, like, you noticed that somebody's like, zoned out or is pissed off or whatever. But yes, I assume that it's not a great idea to ignore it. Usually.

Kristin Bock 4:38

No, no, so okay, if I'm gonna go into lecture mode here, so you've hit the button. So let me just kind of break this down. Nonverbal communication is really built up of three different things. So we've got body language, that is facial expressions, posture, stance, gait, all of those things, and that's, I think that's what you're targeting, and that's what most people think of which is a really big part of it. Then you have the vocal power. In, which is the tone, the volume, that cadence, the pitch the question inflection, where you're going up, that also is part of that blueprint. And then you have like, the third part of it is the ornaments, which your clothing, so that all those things tie into this idea of nonverbal communication. That is what our brain uses to really make decisions. And I like to say that our brain is like a software program running in the background at all times, is literally just trying to keep us safe. So it is picking up that it almost certainly picking up verbal communication as well, but all of those nonverbals to protect us and keep us safe. Right.

Susan Tatum 5:46

Okay. So, what do you do when you mean, but how do you use this? And? Give me an example. I gotta hear you're in a meeting somewhere or your your?

Kristin Bock 5:55

Yes. Okay. So I'm sitting in a meeting. Well, okay, actually, let me share a story with you. When I interviewed for that job that I took for 26 years. That person that interviewed me did not give me any kind of cues. So in the interview, she was really expressionless, which is what I call social quicksand. It's where you feel like you're sinking, you're flailing, you're you know, you're trying to grasp because I wasn't getting any kind of facial cue that told me, You're doing well, or you're doing poorly, like I just didn't know. And people will say, Well, you know, she's an HR, she does, she wants to be very neutral. She doesn't want to give that away. But I left that interview. First of all, not knowing how I had done. You know, I was told you'll hear back by the end of the week. And I heard back really quickly, like within an hour, they wanted me to interview for a management position. So I had done well, but I didn't know that. Right. And that is a huge deal when you are trying to attract and retain talent, gigantic, that I left with kind of a negative not kind of I left with a negative perception of the agency from that.

Susan Tatum 7:02

Interesting. Interesting, right.

Kristin Bock 7:03

So those cues. For me, this all boils down to empathy, that I can be a better communicator, if I can read the cues that I'm getting. Because then I can respond in real time, which allows me to show the person I see you, I hear you. And when I understand the cues, I can be really intentional. How I'm showing up. Yeah, so that gives me some influence or leverage because I can be mindful about it. But it really taps into that empathy piece. So like Susan, you Okay, so I like to think of it as like a thought bubble hanging over people's heads. So with you, we are on a zoom call. And you have a podcast. So I already know this about you. But you are, you're giving me the cues of curiousness. So that your thought bubble, if I was having a conversation with you, that's what I would identify like, Oh, this is Susan. She's really curious. She's giving me the cue. She's nodding. She's asking questions. This is, you know, what, how she's responding to me. And then I can validate that I can answer questions, I can ask you questions, I It makes our interaction much more rich. And so that's where I think the power of this really comes into play is empathy, just being able to relate deeply.

Susan Tatum 8:13

So it seems like you're saying, we owe it to other people to what did you refer to it as? Don't be culus? Was it something like that? .

Kristin Bock 8:25

Yeah. I talked about queuelessness. Right, that you need, it's a gift to another person, to let them know, you're engaged, that you're paying attention, you're giving them cues that they can build off of.

Susan Tatum 8:38

So what just popped into my mind was what if they're boring you to death? You want them to stall off?

Kristin Bock 8:45

Right? Well, then you can give cues that you need to go and there's etiquette and ways that you can wrap that up, you know, very diplomatically professionally. It was really great talking with you, Susan, I look forward to our next conversation. I need to go and do this now. Or you know, where I can do that. Because, you know, because I legitimately have something or I need to get out of there.

Susan Tatum 9:07

Um, that's legitimate too.

Kristin Bock 9:09

But I should let me just okay. One One little, not a fact that a lot of people don't pick up on our feet. And our feet often point to what we are really thinking about or engaged in. So imagine you and I are having a conversation and I'm fully facing you. They call that fronting. That's facing on your head, your top, your torso and your toes towards someone. When we genuinely do this, when we fully face someone, that is the ultimate nonverbal respect, people literally feel like that's when you feel like someone was really listening to me.

Susan Tatum 9:43

You have my attention. Yeah,

Kristin Bock 9:45

right, right. Or, like imagine you're in a meeting and someone actually turns in their chair to face you. Like you can just feel it's more intense. Like they're, they're paying attention. So that's great nonverbal respect. Now, I can be facing you. But if my feet are turned a little bit, like to the door, towards the food towards the restroom towards the person whom I'd rather be speaking with. Our brain does pick up on that. So if I'm fully facing you, and I need you to get going, or I need to get going, even just shifting my feet, I'm going to do it for you here. To feel that and people know nonverbally. Oh, she's gotta get going.

Susan Tatum 10:23

Yeah. It's a subtle especially on especially on Zoom, because I'm not seeing that much of you. It's a subtle thing. But yeah, right. So then my subconscious is gonna say, Okay, we gotta wrap this up.

Kristin Bock 10:32

Right. So that is, that is a cue that I can send you.

Susan Tatum 10:35

Okay, so there's the sending, there's the sending, and then there's also the receiving, which is, I mean, certainly in well, you know, when I go to sales conversations or conversations with clients is what naturally comes to my mind is that you can, you can be giving them the right cues of, you know, I'm, I'm just blown away by everything you're saying, right? If but you but you, it also makes sense to watch them for these cues that you're talking about that you're losing them. Right. And I see that I record a lot of I try to record as many conversations as possible, because my Note taking is so bad. But when I go back and look at it, and it's got video on it, and I think oh, I didn't even realize that he or she was was doing that. I should have caught that.

Kristin Bock 11:25

Right. And when you study this, you do get better. I still miss it. The classic is someone will say what do you do? And I say I you know, I am a body language trainer. They either are fascinated or they want to run, you know, like it's really polarizing. But they also they are people become incredibly self conscious, because they think I'm tracking every move. And I'm not, you know, really for me, the longer I do this, the more I just lump the cues into positive or negative, that I'm seeing some things that might be negative. Oh, they might be stressed out or having anxiety or this is an uncomfortable topic for them. Positive. Good. So it's it's pretty, pretty simplistic when you think about it. It's just it's positive or negative. But I can respond to that then. And that is where I think the ability to read the cues comes in to play.

Susan Tatum 12:12

Yeah. Well, so let's talk about, like, because we talked about before building rapport. And connection in a in a virtual world. And you're you are looking directly at me, because you've got your camera set up correctly. I do not. So I am looking at directly at you. But I don't think it looks like I'm looking at you.

Kristin Bock 12:31

Right. Okay, so let's talk. And actually, when we talk when you said Cues and cues Less, I do want to just mention that one of the things that I noticed really early on in the pandemic, is that I personally when I am on a zoom call. So right now, I'm looking at the camera because I want to stimulate eye contact with you. So I'm not looking at you or me, I'm really just looking at the camera. When you look at the photos on the screen, you're not making that eye contact while you speak. It's important to talk to the camera because then it's like we're having a conversation. If you're talking I can just kind of take in and then I can take in some of your cues. But one of the things I noticed, okay, is when I was on Zoom calls when or when I am on a virtual call. If I'm paying attention like someone is presenting or I'm in a meeting, and I'm not speaking, I tend to just I'm really paying attention. I'm taking notes so my face is relaxed. It's not giving off cues.

Susan Tatum 13:27


Kristin Bock 13:28

if you've heard the term RBF

Susan Tatum 13:31


Kristin Bock 13:32

yes. Okay, I'm gonna say resting bothered face. You might have heard a different b word but I'm gonna say resting bothered for a very important reason is I want this to be gender specific or not not gender specific that our RBF is geared towards women and men and women both do it.

Susan Tatum 13:52


Kristin Bock 13:52

it is. It's when your face is relaxed. If the corners of your mouth turned down, turned downwards, or kind of pulled a little bit to the side, and your eyes, it makes you look either sad or mad. And so people will say, this is how you know you have it. If you are minding your own business, you are typing an email, you're washing the dishes, you're doing whatever and someone says to you, are you mad? Or are you okay? That is a big sign you have RBF? It just means when your face is relaxed, it gives that expression.

Susan Tatum 14:24

Oh, I totally have it. Or they'll say you look mean.

Kristin Bock 14:25

Yeah. Yes. Yes. And it is just it is your face in a relaxed state. So yeah, and yeah, you see the celebrities, Kristen Stewart is known for it, who are the other big ones, but Victoria Beckham, where their face is just blank, but it's their faces relaxed, and it gives us a look of being angry. So I did notice, because I also have it. Thank you, Mom and Dad. But I noticed on Zoom calls when I was just paying attention, I would catch myself doing that. And so I do mindfully when I think of it, I will try to smile, tilt my head, not I'm just trying to show engagement, that I'm not just simply staring at the screen and judging. I'm actually engaged. And admittedly, it's exhausting. If you are on a lot of calls. It's it gets long. But it's helping the speaker the person that you're listening to by giving cues and you're they're listening. You're engaged.

Susan Tatum 15:27

Yeah. Interesting. So you just have to practice that?

Kristin Bock 15:30


Susan Tatum 15:31

it's a minor thing to think about when you're trying to think,

Kristin Bock 15:33

right, yeah, I know. I know. But I have to say so I did a presentation last week. And it was like on a an event by event bright platform, I couldn't really see faces, but two people turn their cameras on. And that made the world of difference. Because I could tell when I said something, they would nod or laugh. How helpful was that? I mean, that's the cue I needed, like, oh, they can hear me they're understanding there. They thought the joke was funny. That is incredibly helpful. And I was so thankful for that.

Susan Tatum 16:06

I think there's a whole group of people and I don't know, many of them younger, that just won't turn their cameras on. I hadn't really thought about it the way that you're talking about, it's that you're disrespecting the speaker a little bit because you're not giving them the the value of your feedback rather than because you think, okay, so they're doing their email, or they're doing something else, or they're definitely not paying attention. Right.

Kristin Bock 16:32

Right. Yes. And it's complicated, because in a big, you know, that was, I don't even like 100 people on a call, like, I can't see everyone. So of course, turn your camera off. That is that's not a problem. I a lot of teachers early on in the pandemic, that was a struggle, but then you get into the economic disparities that some people don't want to show their home accent. I mean, it. There's so many layers to this, but pretty much. My example is would you go into a meeting with a bag over your head? The answer is no. So if the other person's camera is on yours should be too unless the valid reason.

Susan Tatum 17:08

Yeah, yeah. It's just just being polite, isn't it?

Kristin Bock 17:11

Right, right.

Susan Tatum 17:11

So I want to talk, I want to this is wonderfully interesting. I want to make sure that we have the time to talk about what your thoughts are on things that are changing for consultants, and, you know, in marketing and sales out there, before we leave this topic, what is for somebody that wants to learn more about body communication, nonverbal communication, body communication, whatever? Where can they go? You got anything that we can go look at?

Kristin Bock 17:39

Well, there's heaps of books out there. So you can start with that. YouTube, I mean, there's, there's so many people doing this. So it really is kind of what you're looking for. I'm interested in helping folks tap into and understand charisma well which is really combining warmth and competence, because then that is that attracts people.

Susan Tatum 18:02

And so that ship isn't?

Kristin Bock 18:02

Absolutely, and there's, there's different flavors of charisma. It's not just the bubbly extrovert, which I can play, but that's not truly who I am. So I, you know, understanding how to be more of the quiet leader or to surround yourself with people that do have these other, you know, if you're a highly competent person, having someone who's more warm on your team is usually a good thing. So just figuring out how to pair that, how to do that, but also communicating digitally, with, there's nonverbals in our communication, are the words that we use. You can you can sense that in a response, and crafting emails accordingly. Or so there's, there's copy body language, there's virtual background, body language, there is, you know, whatever, it's bigger than just body language, it's not nonverbals are everywhere, you need to know what they're saying.

Susan Tatum 18:59

Well, you know, I remember a long time ago, someone told me that and I found it to be true that it people if you're sending in, let say an email. Human beings will automatically take the negative, negative, the most negative interpretation possible. So you really have to think about what you are saying.

Kristin Bock 19:18

Which is why emoji writing are huge, because they give the emotion. So because if I say, okay, or Sure, you're like, sure. Hey, are you mad? I mean, so that's why that kind of stuff. The emoji has been helpful with that, but then you get into some people, you know, then too many emojis is not competent. There's so many things.

Susan Tatum 19:44

Well, I think there are a lot of people that thinks the emojis are not professional. But you're right. I mean, they do it provides that, you know, I'm saying this, this is sarcasm, or I'm being funny or tone. That tone. Yes. Right. Interesting. Yes. Okay, so, um, well, but do you you said your work is you prefer to work with charisma. So, is that do do Who do you work with on that? What are who are your clients? What kind of people do you work with?

Kristin Bock 20:12

Right businesses, where I will speak to groups, ideally, like emerging leaders, people that now have been promoted and have to lead a team. And that's, they've done very well, they're very competent, but now they know they need to know how to have the people skills, the finesse the things that you didn't learn in school. In school, we learned the hard skills. And I I shine with the soft skills, like giving people an understanding of that finesse, that ability to do both and lead influence and influence through your nonverbals and and your actions and, you know, everything. So like the executive presence.

Susan Tatum 20:50

Yeah, that makes sense. Alright, so then I do before we run out of time, want to ask you, I think you've got some really interesting views on changes in how we go about, I guess maybe it's communicating in our marketing as well. marketing, sales, outreach, whatever. You've you've used the term bro marketing, which I think is hilarious. Tell us that, what you mean by that? And then where it's going, where you see it going?

Kristin Bock 21:17

Well, okay, someone who really, I'm this business where I've gone for I've been doing body language for, you know, seven or eight years. But I went full in during the pandemic, where I'm creating this business and figuring it out. So I feel like I've been swimming in those waters of marketing and how do you do it? And bro target bro marketing is not my term. I've heard it, you know, kicked around. And really, it's just it's one way of marketing that is incredibly successful. It works for a lot of people where it's, I had this problem, I figured out the solution. And if you buy this, within two hours, you'll get a deal kind of thing. You know, I this is what it was so incredibly successful. So I'm not minimizing that I'm just I'm starting to see especially women lead a little bit differently. And what I'm seeing there, there's a couple things I'm seeing is where they're really placing a high, high value on privacy and autonomy where people can opt in or out of your sales funnel, like if you know, if I'm following you, and I don't want to buy whatever you're pitching, I can just opt out of that. And I will still stay on your email, email list. And when you're done, and back, you know, I'm back getting your emails where they're being super transparent. Hey,

Susan Tatum 22:30

we're talking, we're talking something different from an unsubscribe link on a marketing email.

Kristin Bock 22:35

Right Okay. Yeah, but it's like unsubscribe for what I'm pitching right now. And just the transparency of that, like, I have a program coming up, and I'm gonna be promoting it for the next month. I would love to have you join, if this isn't of interest, you know, just opt out of this. And I'll catch you in a month. I'm seeing that more. So that transparency, so I don't feel like I'm getting sold too. If I that's not what I'm interested in. I'm also seeing people standing up and really calling in their people by showing what they value. So different causes, where they'll identify, you know, this 5% of the sales will go to this cause that's a way to attract people, or to not attract the ones that wouldn't be a good fit for you. I'm seeing more of that.

Susan Tatum 23:22

Right. It's a filter that can be applied there. Yeah. Yeah.

Kristin Bock 23:25


Susan Tatum 23:28

So would you agree that a lot of these changes that these types of changes are being driven by women taking greater roles in this area? or having their own businesses or you know, whatever?

Kristin Bock 23:39

Yeah, personally, yes. And this is, this is one woman's opinion, but I think there's many different ways to lead and there's no one right way. But I feel like I'm seeing admittedly, I'm following women. So that's why I'm seeing it. But yeah, I think it's, it's leading in a way that a lot of people, men included, just feel like it's a more authentic way to lead that is less slimy or sleazy, or, you know, the countdown timers, which again, are still effective, I'm it's great. They work. But there's people that are choosing to do it in a different way. And I think because so many women are getting into the entrepreneurial game, we're seeing more of it.

Susan Tatum 24:21

Well, I applaud it. And I think there should be more of it, because it certainly it, it would help take away the feeling that you're trying to ram something down my throat, and every time I open my, my email, there you are, and I but I have noticed kind of the opposite. Lately in that I've run across several situations in where I am unsubscribing from something, and unsubscribing and unsubscribing and unsubscribing. And it continues to come. Right. And I don't know whether there's that many glitches in the programs.

Kristin Bock 24:53

Yes. Or check our inboxes Yeah.

Susan Tatum 24:55

Are they waiting to see, you know, if I send her enough, she's just gonna I'm gonna wear down and she's she'll do something and I do I reach out on LinkedIn and tell them to go away in a kind, in a kind way.

Kristin Bock 25:08

Yes, yes. But not to be cheesy. But that look at the nonverbals of that. I mean, that's sending you a message. If they continue on, or they're giving you the opportunity to opt out. That's that's a message.

Susan Tatum 25:23

Yeah, well, I think it's just respecting the other person's ability to say no, and make the right decisions and letting them it puts them back in control of it. And I think that's a much better thing to do in a sales or marketing situation than to try to overpower somebody.

Kristin Bock 25:39

Well, it goes to trust. It goes to trust, like this person, and that is at the core of really everything know, like and trust. I need to feel like I'm having a conversation with you. That I'm a real person and so are you and this is mutually agreed upon

Susan Tatum 25:54

and This is especially true when you're selling consulting or coaching or professionals, any kind of services that you if they're especially something that's a fairly high price and the risk of of the decision to work with you being wrong. There is such a need for that. Well, the know, like and trust factor that we've been talking about for a long time, but I think trust is really essential there. Right,

Kristin Bock 26:18

Right.Yeah, no, I agree. I and if someone signs up for something of mine, I don't try and flood it. I mean, that does work. But it's, I think your inbox is sacred that, you know, if I'm going to show up, it better be something of value. And it's a way for you to get to know me more. And for us to have a, you know, a relationship and you can reply back and I've had people do that. That's always wonderful. But it's building. Yeah. It's that building that connection and that trust.

Susan Tatum 26:46

All right. Well, Kristin, thank you so much. This has been very interesting. And I think that we can all do a better job, or most of us do a better job of being present. Especially it's, it's hard on Zoom. It's really hard when the other person is not seeing what I think they're seeing.

Kristin Bock 27:04


Susan Tatum 27:04

And yeah, I think I know I am going to try to do a better job of it. And anybody that I talked to please call me out if I'm not. And I'll try to change.

Kristin Bock 27:13

Well, the personal development person in me applauds that.

Susan Tatum 27:17

Alright, well, thank you very much again. But before we hang up, though, for people that do want to follow up with you, how is the best way to get in touch with you?

Kristin Bock 27:24

There's a couple ways. LinkedIn, Kristin Bock, Kristin with an i. You can connect with me there. I love meeting professionals seeing what you're up to. You can also find my website body language blueprints. And I do have a Facebook group. It is body language learning and it is worldwide. So we're learning from people from around the globe. I mean, any of those bats.

Susan Tatum 27:48

All right, well, thank you again and have a wonderful rest of your day.

Kristin Bock 27:52

Thank you.


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