Body language in agile teams: 3 tips

You can't not communicate.

Did you know that your body language influences 50% of what you want to convey to your communication partner. This means you have the perfect chain of reasoning, but your counterpart also receives signals in addition to your spoken words, which you convey to them through your gestures and posture. As a result, the mix of your two “channels” of communication is what counts. You can consciously control the one “channel” – your words. But the other “channel” – your body language – you control unconsciously. Therefore, you should deal more and more with your unconscious parts in communication, so that in the long run you communicate in a way that your counterpart perceives the messages correctly.

Especially in agile teams, body language takes on an important role. Agile teams work quickly and with a lot of exchange among each other. Team members should accurately share their tasks and goals with each other to successfully collaborate on a project. Often the team members shuffle again after a short time and here it is especially important that the statements of the individuals are placed correctly. There is often not enough time here to get to know each other very well and to read between the lines whether what is said is true.

Posture in standing meetings

Since most meetings in agile teams take place while standing, below we give you three tips on how to successfully use your body language. We assume for these references that the teams are located at one site and are not globally distributed. This is because distributed teams face many challenges in terms of communication (time zone/channel of communication/language), which we will address in upcoming articles.

When offices share the same location, for example, collaboration is possible using whiteboards, status boards and other informal communication media. In meetings that take place at a whiteboard and there is no table to lean against in the office, we recommend the following tips for your posture:

1. feet stand

Place your feet hip-width apart, this will give you a fortified stance and you won’t get tipped over if you cross your legs, for example. Thus, they also unconsciously signal security. Roll your shoulders back and show an upright posture. Crossed legs can be a sign of insecurity. Constantly changing a foothold can also cause restlessness in your audience as you send out that you may need to get to the next appointment or are in a hurry.

2. posture at the whiteboard

If you are standing at the whiteboard, make sure you face your colleagues when you speak and don’t show your back to them. Of course, this won’t work if you write something down on the board, but turn back to your team members afterwards to give them attention. Your spoken words have so much more impact than when you speak to the whiteboard.

3. the use of your hands

Your hands have a great effect on others. Hiding them in your pocket, for example, shows insecurity, as does holding them to your face or neck. So use your hands skillfully to back up your statements. Use your gesture and also pause briefly before continuing. They thus give the gesture even more power and effect. When offering an idea or solution to your colleagues, you should point one or both palms upward. You show that you can give something and also take something.

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