What you do with your body affects how you think with your head. Here is a simple way you can use this fact as a leader to get people’s attention and take control of a group.
Hi, hey, could you come here for a minute – you need to hear this. Good. You know, when it is your time to be in charge of something, you want people to take notice and follow your lead. Here’s a simple technique that you can use to get their attention and start off on the right foot.
The Effects of Overt Head Movement on Persuasion
In 1980 some psychologists published a study* that showed that simply having people nod their head up and down while listening to a radio editorial made them much more likely to agree with the speaker’s opinion. Those who shook their heads from side to side were much more likely to disagree.*
This shows that a person’s physical movements directly affect their mental state.
How can this help you as a leader? When it is time for you to take over, do something that causes a physical movement in your teammates. Getting them to physically move in some way reinforces in their minds the fact that you are currently the leader and makes them more receptive to what you are planning to do next.
Putting it into Action
Here are several ways you can do that:
- If you are starting a meeting, hand something out and have people pass it around, like an agenda
- If you have been asked to come forward and speak to a group, immediately ask a question and ask for a show of hands or some other physical response
- If you are the next speaker in a long line of speakers, get people to stand up and stretch for a moment
- your team is part of a larger group meeting and there is designated time for your team to meet, move them to a different location, even if it’s just a little distance away.
- As teammates arrive with equipment or supplies, show them where to put the gear.
- When you need to say something to the team, have them gather in closely so they can hear
All of these actions cause people to physically move. And those movements are their bodies responding to your directions. As they do this, their brains are processing the idea that you are the leader.
Here’s the takeaway: There’s an old saying, “when in charge, take charge” – and that’s what this is all about. Getting immediate movement will help get their notice, and fix in their brains the idea that you are the leader and they should pay attention.
And that’s your RapidStart Leadership Two-Minute Tip for the day.
* Gary L. Wells and Richard E. Petty, “The Effects of Overt Head Movement on Persuasion,” Basic and Applied Social Psychology (1980), vol. I, no. 3, pp. 219-230.
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