In the same manner by which a conductor's movements are reflected in the performance of the orchestra, gesture is intricately tied to the formation and articulation of thought. Gesture and Thought mutually inform one another with physical and mental patterns that seek consistency in expression. Linear movements pair with clipped sentence structure and encourage the emphasis of consonants. Rounded movements pair with lengthy narratives and stretch the articulation of vowels. Combining this knowledge with the practice of Deliberate Gesture allows for self direction of performance, providing significant agency in circumstances of shifting context and improvisation.
What happens in the hands is an extension of what is happening in the body. By consciously building an understanding of how organic Gesture manifests in your own physicality, you can gain an understanding of how to make strategic choices about what gesture to deliberately employ to serve your communicative goals. By pairing two core Gesture Patterns- Rounded Gesture and Linear Gesture- with Frame, Stance, Physical Orientation, Horizontal, and Level you can create a defined and accessible inventory of Deliberate Gesture to select from and employ to meet any circumstance.
Achieving strong and focused vocal production is a great first step. To round out our foundation on Voice it's important to add the ability to intellegibly articulate every syllable. We also want to create the timbre and projection that will lend a sense of confidence and clarity to your thoughts and material. In this episode we add to our tool kit of exercises with additional vocal warm ups and explorations I recommend you return to again and again.
The voice is one of our most powerful avenues through which to communicate. We may not always consider it this way, but producing sound is a gymnastic exercise combing several muscle systems in close coordination. Just like with any physical activity, better performance can be achieved through warm up and preparation. The next two episodes are stand alone installments that you can come back to over and over when you need a refresher before an important moment.
Height, space, and distance all contribute to the dynamic of a communication. Level and Horizontal are tools that shift the elevation of Line Focus, influence the effects of our Frame and Orientation, and round out our vocabulary for understanding movement in three dimensional space. The relationship your body has to the physical conditions that surround it must constantly change and adapt to walls, obstacles, and vacant space. Be it a concert hall, a company picnic, or a doctor's office, adjusting Level and Horizontal is key to transitioning effectively between a range of organic and architectural environments.
Balance and Posture have the potential to support and underscore your communication. Consciously arranging the physical support system of your body to provide a strong platform for a full range of movement isn't difficult, but between the constraints of modern fashions and the broad spectrum of body shape and size from one person to the next there really is no "one size fits all" when it comes to the use of Frame and Stance. What is right for one body can be untenable for the next. Understanding Frame and how it functions will allow you to tailor your movement and placement of weight to find the Counterbalance that is efficient, unique, and comfortable for your own body.
In the next few episodes we will explore concepts pertaining to the body in physical space. Long before spoken words come into play, movement and positioning convey important information to your communication partners. Plane, the physical space forward and backward on a line, can be used as an effective tool to underscore your intentions, communicate your base emotions, and lay foundation for your verbal content. Incremental and full body interactions with the plane in front of and behind you provide crucial nuance and detail to your own interactions and can be used to understand the communications of others in a manner that only the physical body can make accessible.
Line focus is a valuable tool in both understanding and influencing a communication. Although the directions in which a body can orient in space are innumerable, there are 8 approximate positions that can be used to more closely describe the way that Line Focus can be directed. Taking cues from the performing arts, the next few episodes will focus one how we can internalize and describe physical positioning and movement in an accessible and communicable way. Expanding your Physical Orientation vocabulary will provide a strong framework from which to mentally and visually breakdown and comprehend the everyday interactions in which you find your self at home, at work, and under the spotlight.
Your body is constantly directing and receiving focus and attention. Eye focus is a familiar enough concept at work in today's culture, but another type of focus, Line Focus, is of greater fundamental importance in the nonverbal exchange of information. Line Focus in intricately tied to what many traditions and practices refer to as the Emotional Center. This area between your navel and torso work can be utilized to great effect, allowing you underscore and project passionate feeling when you need it, but its also a vulnerable area that needs to be kept safe. Learning how to control and harness your Line Focus is a powerful way to both protect the Emotional Center and employ it to full effect while avoiding over exposure.
You may not be aware of it, but there is an important connection between your breath and your thought process that is crucial in determining how you are able to deliver a communication. Not only is breath a verbal punctuator, your breathing patterns do a lot to inform your communication parter about how you are experiencing an interaction and can allow you to cue them toward how to receive your content. Ever wonder how filler sounds like "um" and "ahhhhh" find there way into your speech at every moment of pause or consideration? Are you ever self-conscious that you may be speaking too quickly or too slowly? Have you ever been trapped in a fixation about how your listener perceives you instead of confidently speaking what you know? Every communication, successful and unsuccessful, originates at the breath-thought connection.
Well before speech or gesture even come into play a basic function of the diaphragm has a profound influence on all other communicative systems. Breath lies at the foundation of every human interaction. How you breathe, when you breathe, how fast you breathe, and to what area of the lungs you direct your breath have a fundamental impact on preparing the mind and body for success.
Delivering your message face-to-face, one human being to another, has always been seen as a bit of a challenge- more than ever in our increasingly device-driven world. The modern tech revolution has opened up amazing new opportunities for the speed, outreach, and volume of communication, but in the wake of excitement in a progressively digitally-dependent society our analog human foundation is in neglect. There is no substitute for the ability to engender a strong personal connection or the impact of a finely cultivated presence. That isn't going to change. It's critical to our future that the personal and the digital grow together and support one another. Confidence, charisma, and clarity will always be your boots on the ground. It's not that these skills are getting harder to learn, It's simply that they aren't being taught. Communication Strategist Kathryn Kellner is here to see that the skill set of person-to-person interaction keeps its seat at the table.