In the last edition of the ‘Factory’, I started a two-part discussion on how we taught a leadership lesson on BODY LANGUAGE and EYE CONTACT a couple of months ago. If you have not read Part 1 make sure you access it to get the whole enchilada. There is a power point attached at the bottom of this post but to get the most out of it you will need to read part 1 as well as this post.
Part 1 (the previous ‘Factory’)
- WHAT IS BODY LANGUAGE AND ITS IMPORTANCE
- HOW YOU CAN USE BODY LANGUAGE TO GAIN CONFIDENCE
Part 2 (this ‘Factory’)
- WHY THE FIRST THING THE MILITARY TEACHES NEW SOLDIERS IS HOW TO STAND
- THE IMPORTANCE OF EYE CONTACT
- PREY VS. PREDATOR EYE PLACEMENT
“Players don’t realize their body language is like a billboard showing their toughness level.” Ron Naclerio
“Confident people are always looking up, never down at the table, the ground, or their feet.” Dr. Lillian Glass
I am proud to say, my son, Russ, who is a high school senior has enlisted in the National Guard and will report for boot camp this summer. The first thing he will be taught is how to stand at attention. Why? Because it is not only a sign of respect and discipline but a ‘power stance’ that signals the brain to be confident. Just like George St. Pierre talked about in the video in part 1 (the last ‘Factory’) every member of every branch of the military benefits from standing at attention. Their brain is changed by their body posture.
My favorite definition of mental toughness is ‘mental toughness is how quickly an athlete can get over a mistake’. For example, a fast-paced sport like basketball requires an athlete to get over a missed shot or a perceived bad call by an official quickly. A golfer has much more time to ‘park it’/’flush it’, etc. before he or she has to hit the ball again. In our program, we talk A LOT about how great body language after a mistake is a sign of mental toughness.
About once a week, usually on ‘juice Mondays’, we will take the power of body language to an extreme and start our training session with something we call JUICE FACTORY. How you move affects how you think, feel and behave. How you move literally causes a chemical reaction in your brain to feel different. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain that has several functions including our mood. Just standing up straight increases our serotonin levels (standing at attention for example) so imagine how much serotonin is released during juice factory! Your motion changes your emotion and your movement changes your mood! After our guys jump around and yell ‘YES, YES, YES….’ continually on a Monday morning at 7:00 a.m. we have a much better chance to have some juice in our workout.
II. THE IMPORTANCE OF EYE CONTACT
If you have ever made eye contact with someone across the room and still got your message across (think pep rally and a student needs some correcting) then you understand how much communication can be made just with our eyes.
- direct eye contact indicates confidence
- looking down can show respect, but can also show guilty of something, sneaky, frightened or disinterest
Great eye contact shows intensive listening. Like most coaches, we correct any athlete who is not looking at the speaker during our leadership time. We ask them to “lock in” and show proper respect for anyone speaking to them. This is reinforcing and training our guys that it shows confidence, shows honor to the speaker and is what winners do.
III. PREY vs. PREDATOR EYE PLACEMENT
To finish our lesson we explain to our guys that we are designed to be predators. Predator animals have eyes facing forward, just like humans. “Eyes in the front, the animal hunts. Eyes to the side, the animal hides.”
We strive for our ‘goons’ to be confident predators with excellent body language, juice and eye contact. This lesson was one of my favorites to teach. If you have any questions about it please do not hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
CLICK BELOW TO DOWNLOAD THE POWER POINT WE USED TO
TEACH BODY LANGUAGE AND EYE CONTACT
A GREAT CULTURE STARTS WITH YOU – GET 1% BETTER EACH DAY
Tony Robbins uses the acronym ‘NET’ – No Extra Time to emphasize the need for continual growth. A young coach asked me in Portland a few months ago this question, “what is the one piece of advice you would give a 22-year old just starting out on how to become the best coach possible?” My answer was and will always be, “work on yourself as much as you work on your craft, focus on your health, read books, listen to podcast, network and ask questions.”
Sleep – set an alarm of when to go to bed each night so you get at least 7 hours. Olympic athletes average 9 hours and 15 minutes!
Morning Routine – one of the #1 characteristics of the ‘uber’ successful is they have an a.m. routine that starts early and is intentional.
Sweat Each Day – studies show if we sweat at least 30 minutes each day our body will release endorphins that will give us energy for the next twelve hours. Most of us must make this part of our morning routine before the day gets in the way.
Auto ‘U’ – listen to a podcast instead of music when you are in traveling to and from work. There are several great ones of various lengths. Audiobooks are also tremendous.
Read – ‘we are paid to read’! Even if it is just 30 minutes before you go to bed each night make it a habit to read. Watching reruns of ‘King of Queens’ is not growing you into a leader (although it is greatness).
Ask Questions – There are two ways to become an expert; spend the next decade or more researching and learning as you go or interview the experts. Dr. Rob Gilert, the servant genius who does the Success Hotline each day, told me a story of a tennis pro who wanted to become the free throw expert of the entire U.S. Dr. Gilbert encouraged him to call John Wooden and he did. After speaking with Coach Wooden he became energized and began to call other basketball coaches. Within five years he was the free throw coach of the Miami Heat. The greatest part of the story is he had NEVER PLAYED BASKETBALL before! Interview the experts.
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