UMBC Wellness in the Workplace

« Sarah Leupen | | September 2012: Receiving Constructive Feedback Practice #3 - “Change the conversation and receive constructive feedback with anticipation” »

August 2012: Receiving Constructive Feedback Practice #2 - “Change your body language and receive constructive feedback with anticipation”

When we want to break old habits and learn something new, we often forget to consider that our body might be a barrier to new learning. Think about it. When you’ve received constructive criticism in the past, how often has your body been open and expansive? How often has it been closed and rigid? What difference did it make in your ability to receive the message and how might it have influenced whether your partner offered this feedback to you again? Part of being in relationships is cultivating the ability in our listening, our speaking, and in the way we show up ‘bodied,’ to traverse difficult conversations when they arise. The more we ‘wake up’ to how we ‘show up,’ the more effective we and our relationships become. Since it’s been proven that over 90% of communication is nonverbal, it’s important to start paying attention to the power of our body and how it communicates.

In the next month when you receive constructive feedback become aware of your body language. What do you notice? Where you notice tension, try releasing that tension by taking some deep breaths and consciously expanding into that spot. If your facial muscles are tight, try to let go, smile a bit, and soften your gaze. Also pay attention to your breathing. When we stop breathing we lose connection to ourselves and to our partners. By becoming aware of and regulating our breath, we increase our ability to listen and stay connected, even if the message is difficult to hear. What difference does consciously shifting your body language have on your ability to hear constructive feedback? What difference do you observe in the connection with your partner?


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