Conversation Tip #3: React appropriately

Exude interest with body language and facial expressions

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

“The body never lies.”

-Martha Graham (1894-1991) American modern dancer

A conversation composed entirely of just words holds less meaning if there aren’t appropriate reactions and responses. Therefore, body language and facial expressions remain key, as both signal the way words are being absorbed.

Facing toward the person is just the first step to giving the person full attention. Avoid crossing arms or swaying from side to side–as these movements create barriers that reflect indifference or boredom.

Further, the face itself portrays our thoughts–remind your students to be aware that their expressions should be appropriate! For instance, an unchanging, unresponsive appearance creates an apathetic vibe even if their words reflect excitement.

As always, consistent eye contact is crucial, even when walking and talking. Looking at the other person’s eyes conveys interest and therefore adds another layer of connection.

How do your students react to one another during a conversation? What sort of body language and facial expressions do they use?

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Jessica Lu, a first-year student at the University of Chicago, interned for Chimayo Press and the Compelling Conversations blog through the summer of 2014. Over the months, she has perused ESL textbooks, analyzed newspaper articles and tested out mobile apps, seeking out ways to inspire discussion. During the fall, the Compelling Conversations blog published her top 10 tips to create compelling conversations outside of the English classroom.

Photo Source: “VirgilGriffithFace” by Meng Weng Wong – Photo taken by Meng Weng Wong. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:VirgilGriffithFace.jpg#mediaviewer/File:VirgilGriffithFace.jpg

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