Archive for Non-Verbal Communication

Remember the guy from last year’s office holiday party that was spilling his drink on everyone around him? Or the woman who came slinking into the party dressed with very little left to the imagination?

Of course you do! And so does everyone else!

We’ve all heard and/or seen people commit career suicide due to their inappropriate behavior (and dress) at the office holiday party.

Following are my 5 tips to insure you not only survive – but also thrive – at your office holiday party this year.

5 Survival Tips

  1. GO! Don’t even think about blowing this party off!

    Love ‘em or hate ‘em, it will serve you well to be seen at ‘em.

    Really – people will know if you’re not there. Sure, the invitation might say “optional” but you don’t believe everything you read now, do you?

    Like it or not, office holiday parties are in many ways business events masquerading as parties. You don’t want your absence to be mis-interpreted as being aloof, a snob and/or not a team player.

    (Also, don’t go too early or stay too late!)

  2. Network and make yourself visible! It’s not good enough to just show up. Since you’re already there – you might as well make the most of it.

    Take this as an opportunity to socialize with people you normally don’t get a chance to interact with outside office hours.  You might be surprised how much you enjoy your colleagues outside the constraints of the workday.

    This is also a tremendous opportunity to network with the movers and shakers of your company (i.e., upper management and executives) whom you would normally not have access to.

    If you’ve never met them before, make it your business to introduce yourself with a brief introduction and non-work related conversation. But whatever you do, do not self-promote or act like a nudge.

  3. Dress for Success (i.e. appropriately). The office holiday party is not the time to come slinking in with stiletto heels and a low cut blouse – or a stained shirt and tie.

    Yes, you are at a party, but it is not the same dress code as it would be if you were at a party with your friends.

    If you’re not sure what to wear, the general rule of thumb is the venue determines the dress code. If you are still in doubt (or clueless), ask someone in your office whom you believe will know.

    Every office has that someone who seems to know this stuff!

  4. Moderation – of ALL things!

    Don’t drink too much, don’t eat too much and don’t talk too much.

    I’m not trying to be a Negative Nancy but it really is important to remember how you behave at this party may potentially influence how others think about you – and by association, your career trajectory!

    You don’t want to be walking around with red meatball sauce dripping down your chin.

    And there is nothing funny about being drunk – period.

    Avoid speaking too much about anything – especially yourself! Nobody wants to hear about how brilliant your kids are – or their athletic prowess – ad nauseam! They really don’t!

    Taboo Conversations

    Absolutely no offensive jokes or inappropriate comments – including gossip. Don’t say anything to anyone that you would never dream of saying in a professional environment.

    Do not engage in any gossip – at all! (Especially in the bathroom – ladies, you know exactly what I’m talking about!)

    Avoid all conversational landmines, i.e., politics, religion, and any topic that pushes someone’s emotional “hot” buttons. Now is not the time to solve the immigration issue or the world hunger crisis.

    Note:  Minimize talking about your work.  This may be difficult to do because the one thing everyone in attendance shares is work, but I am sure you can find other similarities.

    If someone does ask you about your job, keep your response short and sweet. Remember- less is more. Don’t bore others with the detailed nuances of your work or achievements.  Nobody really cares.

    DO be Authentic   

    Be complimentary while being genuine. There must be at least one kind word you can say to everybody!

  5. Absolutely No Inappropriate Romantic Interactions – of any kind. Full Stop!

Final Thoughts

The office holiday party is a great opportunity to enjoy and hang out with people whom you spend most of your waking hours with. Whether you love or hate these parties, it’s a smart career move to go to them and make the most of them.

All success begins with relationships. Use the office holiday party as a way to develop deeper genuine relationships with your colleagues.

Besides having fun, you might be surprised as to how much it gives your career a boost!

Enjoy yourself while being responsible.  As I tell my kids, there are no do-overs!

#womenandmoney #womenatwork #womenandwork

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann


If Networking petrifies you, watch my @WTNH TV segment: Dr. Patty Ann’s Tuesday Tips for Success, on how to ease anxiety and network like a pro – even if you are an introvert! #businessexpert #communicationexpert #relationshipexpert

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann



Wouldn’t it be of tremendous value to know how to read someone’s body language?

Research shows approximately 55% of all communication comes from body language. Can you imagine what an advantage it would be to your career and your personal relationships if you were able to hear what is not being said!

(Guys, this might really come in handy for you one day – just sayn!)

High Emotional Intelligence & Body Language

Not coincidentally, people with high emotional intelligence are well aware of the importance of non-verbal communication. They pay close attention to body language and other non-verbal cues while communicating with others.

Here’s some really good news. Everyone can learn to read body language.

Following are ten secret tools of the trade for reading body language. With a little effort you can implement these tools and gain an incredible advantage (and boost) to your career and personal relationships.

10 Secrets Tools for Reading Body Language

Let’s start with the face.

1. When Someone is Smiling – Watch their Eyes. A true, authentic smile creates a crinkling of the skin around the outside corner of the eyes. This crinkling is commonly referred to as crow’s feet.

If someone’s smile doesn’t produce crow’s feet around their eyes, this suggests their smile may not be genuine. The person smiling may be hiding their true feelings or thoughts from you.

A happy smile is defined by crow’s feet – and you can’t fake it.

Read More

#womenandmoney #womenatwork #womenandwork

~ as published in the Huffington Post

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann


Everyone seems to be constantly talking about Emotional Intelligence (E.Q.). However, if I were to ask you exactly what the term “Emotional Intelligence” means, you would probably be hard pressed to define it. You might also have a difficult time explaining how it shows up in your business and your life. For the most accurate definition let’s turn to the guru himself, Daniel Goleman, author of “Emotional Intelligence” who states: “Emotional Intelligence is the master aptitude, a capacity that profoundly affects all other abilities, either facilitating or interfering with them.”

The above definition sounds great, however, it probably doesn’t amount to a hill of beans for most people. Therefore, in my work with clients and organizations, I’ve simplified the definition of emotional intelligence as being the ability to use your emotions intelligently, in real time, to build and sustain healthy relationships.

People with high Emotional Intelligence are in control of their emotions instead of having their emotions control them!

Think of all the brilliant people you know who would be more successful and happier if they had a clue as to how negatively others perceived them. These people possess a very low level of emotional intelligence, in spite of what may be a very high I.Q., so their success is compromised.

Without healthy relationships, your success is handicapped because as Stephen Covey, best selling author of: “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” wrote: “all success begins with relationships.”

Here’s the really good news. Unlike your Intelligence Quotient (I.Q.), your Emotional Intelligence can be exponentially increased throughout your lifetime.

Following are 3 critical ways to increase your Emotional Intelligence (E.Q.)

1. Increase Self-Awareness – Know Thyself. Learn what makes you tick, and perhaps more importantly, learn what ticks you off. Things that tick you off are commonly referred to as trigger points or “hot buttons” because they “trigger” uncontrollable emotional reaction(s) in you – ones that you often regret. How many times have you wished you could take back hurtful words spoken in anger, but they were out of your mouth before you even realized it? Increasing your self-awareness provides you with a greater understanding of your own emotions and is a critical step towards controlling them.

2. Learn Effective Verbal & Non-Verbal Communication Skills. The great comedian George Bernard Shaw said: “the biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Can’t we all agree with that?

Communication consists of three main components: verbal, non-verbal and active listening.

Verbal Communication describes the words we choose to use. The more emotionally charged a situation is, the more imperative it is we choose our words carefully. There are many words we can use to communicate our message, so pick the ones that will not alienate others.

Non-verbal communication involves every other aspect of communication other than verbal communication: body language, posture, tone, attitude, etc. Many times it is not what we say but how we say it that creates difficulties in our relationships. Therefore, it is vitally important to be aware of our tone and attitude and how we are coming across if we want to effectively communicate our message.

Active Listening. Active listening is not just about standing by silently as someone speaks. Active listening involves being fully present and totally engaged in a manner whereby the person you are listening to feels both heard and understood, regardless of whether you agree with them or not.

3. Show authenticity and genuineness. People with high emotional intelligence demonstrate sincere interest in other people. They genuinely understand that “it is not all about them!” They make it a point to learn the names of the spouses and children of the people with whom they work, and show a genuine interest in their hobbies and activities outside the work relationship. This promotes positive feelings and good will – an invaluable intangible necessary for one’s success!

In the final analysis, the heart of all business is people. Increasing your emotional intelligence will help you connect with the heart of your business – and increase your success!

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann


Confidence is at the center of a successful person. Regardless of how knowledgeable you are in your professional field, if you lack confidence you will not be able to effectively implement your knowledge and your success will be limited. Confidence is not something you are born with, it is learned over time.

Following are 3 key ways to increase your confidence so you can be successful at work and at life!

  1. Know Thyself. Take a long hard look in the mirror and make an honest and accurate assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. Continue to build upon your strengths, as this will increase your confidence while simultaneously taking a pro-active approach toward improving your weaknesses. We all have areas in our professional and personal lives that need to be enhanced; ignoring them does not make them go away; it only inhibits your success and keeps your confidence low.

  2. Steady As You Go. You can increase your confidence by seeking out one new challenge at a time. Research shows confident people consistently seek out new challenges. When one challenge is successfully achieved, move on to the next challenge. Challenges that are successfully met increase our testosterone levels, which are directly correlated to increased confidence – which encourages and enables you to take on more challenges. Success builds upon itself, increasing your confidence along the way. In other words, success begets success – all fueled by increased confidence!

  3. Dress for Success. Whether you like it or not, people make judgments about you based upon how you dress (this includes your clothes, make-up, accessories etc.). And you only have one chance to make a good first impression. From a confidence perspective, how you dress directly reflects how you feel about yourself. Research demonstrates people feel differently about themselves if they are wearing a business suit or sweat pants and a T-shirt. We carry ourselves differently and speak differently – based upon how we are dressed. Therefore, a great way to increase your confidence is to be cognizant about your appearance. Dress in a manner that reflects who you are and how you want to be perceived. There is a reason the dress for success industry is a billionaire dollar market.

Confidence can be exponentially increased if you take these 3 steps described above – it is your choice to make!

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann


What exactly is emotional intelligence? John D. Mayer, one of two psychologists who coined the term in 1990 defined it in the Harvard Business Review as: “… the ability to accurately perceive your own and others’ emotions; to understand the signals that emotions send about relationships; and to manage your own and others’ emotions. It doesn’t necessarily include the qualities (like optimism, initiative and self-confidence) that some popular definitions ascribe to it.” To put it even more succinctly, I’ve defined emotional intelligence as the ability to use your emotions intelligently, in real time, to build and sustain relationships.

Research consistently shows, utilizing modern technology such as FMRI – Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and other high tech equipment, the intrinsic link between intelligence and emotions (brain and heart) – and the fact that great leaders are highly cognizant of this connection.

The days of the autocratic ruthless business leader who leaves a trail of dead bodies in its wake are gone for good – and good riddance to them. Millennials for sure, will not tolerate being treated as garbage – nor should anyone else.

Unlike your I.Q., there are many ways to exponentially increase your E.I. (emotional intelligence) throughout your lifetime. However, the absolute essential way is to increase your self-awareness. Know what makes you tick, especially what turns you off and makes you angry. These are often referred to as trigger points because they often trigger an unbridled emotional reaction, which we often regret. (And of course it is important to know what makes you happy.)

The greater awareness and understanding you have of your own emotions, the better you will be able to modify their expression to fit the situation at hand. Since my earlier definition of emotional intelligence states: “the ability to use your emotions intelligently” you see the obvious connection between awareness of your emotion so you can control its expression – instead of the emotions controlling you.

There is no education, no position and no title that takes the place of self-awareness when one is in a leadership position. We cannot undo the damage of harsh words expressed to the wrong person at the wrong time in the wrong way. When this happens, our ability to lead is extremely compromised.

Therefore, if you want to become a great leader, begin with a sincere commitment to self-awareness.


The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann


The ability to develop and sustain healthy relationships is at the heart of success in business and life. Whether you are creating a consensus around your team(s) business goals and objectives or trying to close a deal with a client, the ability to read one’s body language is critical to your success. Following are 3 essential body language tips that will help you accurately read one’s non-verbal communication (body language) that may just help you seal the deal!

  1. Eye Contact: As the expression goes – eyes are the windows to the soul. Maintaining eye contact throughout your communication with someone is pivotal to not only holding their attention but allowing you to get a “read” on how they really feel about what you are saying (which might be very different from what they verbally express). If there is a discrepancy between what someone is verbally telling you and what their eyes are suggesting, try to discern what the discrepancy is about and then adjust your message accordingly.

  2. Mirror the other person’s behavior: Developing trust as soon as possible is the linchpin necessary for making a positive first impression on anyone – a new boss, colleague, client etc. Mirroring the other person’s body language as much as possible (in a genuine way) helps create this trust. In addition, when you first meet someone, turn your body fully toward him or her so you are directly facing each other. This sends the message that the other person has your undivided attention; this body posture also signals an unconscious message that the other person is both very important and special to you. Additionally, lean in while the other person is speaking to you, this demonstrates that you are listening and fully engaged in what they are saying.

  3. Smile: Research shows when people smile they make themselves and everyone around them feel really good. (This is due to a chemical/hormonal reaction(s) in the body.) A smile conveys positive feelings of happiness and hope; it suggests to others that they are welcome and accepted. And smiles are contagious! Therefore, smile and keep smiling. Who doesn’t want to do business (and work with someone) who makes them feel good!

The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann


Verbal communication, i.e., the words you choose to get your message across is extremely valuable to your success in business (and life). Just as importantly however, (if not more importantly) is non-verbal communication. It is essential to your business success – with body language being perhaps the most important type of non-verbal communication.

Being cognizant of the messages your body language sends out to others is often underestimated, and this underestimation can be an extremely costly business mistake. For example, have you ever left a business meeting certain that you closed the deal, only to find out later that, in fact, you did not get the deal, leaving you feeling confused and upset? You kept thinking to yourself: “what happened? What went wrong? I thought we said all the right things?” Research shows that many times business deals are lost not to what was said in a meeting but to what was not verbally said in a meeting – with the body language of the client often being ignored or overlooked.

To avoid this mistake, read below where I describe the do’s and don’ts of three (3) types of body language postures that will help you develop a more trusting relationship with others that will directly increase your bottom line.

  1. Standing Posture: The standing posture that sends the message that you are to be taken seriously as a confident, smart business leader is standing straight with your feet planted firmly under your hips and your back firm. Slouching, crossing your ankles or uneven weight on one leg evokes images of a young girl – unconsciously leaving others with the belief that this is a business woman who is not quite sure of herself; therefore, she doesn’t need to be listened to or taken seriously! Bottom line – do not undermine your presence and yourself with poor posture.
  2. Placement of Hands while Standing: The hand position while standing that evokes leadership, inspiration and influence is one that simply positions your arms alongside your body, with your fingers reaching towards the floor. Many women stand with their hands crossed over their groin; unconsciously sending the message that you’re afraid or of little consequence – diminishing your presence and therefore your message.
  3. Position of Head while Standing: Whether you are speaking or standing silently, people will be looking at your face – which is, obviously, attached to your head. To send the message that you’re confident and should be taken seriously, your head should be facing forward (not tilted to the side) with your chin slightly thrust forward – unconsciously suggesting to the viewer(s): look at me and hear what I have to say!

In today’s hyper-competitive business world it is important to take advantage of your physical presence via your body language. Utilizing the non-verbal body language tools described above will provide you with an added advantage while interacting with your clients, customers and your competition. Remember – often times what is not spoken is more important to creating the relationship you want than what is said.


The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann


Women know true success is found within our relationships – not money. The way we communicate with ourselves and with others ultimately determines the overall quality of our life – and the success or lack thereof – of everything we do!

Creating and nurturing a true partnership with your partner is predicated upon effective communication skills. Below are the 3 most effective communication skills necessary for creating a life you love, a business that makes money and a spouse who supports you.

  1. Verbal Communication. Many people fall into the trap of assuming their partner knows and understands the goals they have for their career and/or business. They fail to communicate to their spouse the positive way their business will impact the quality of their life together, from a financial, social and emotional perspective. Assuming and NOT communicating is practically guaranteed to backfire on you. We cannot ever assume our partner (or anyone for that matter) knows anything. Period. We must effectively communicate with our partner – with words – things we want them to know. However, it is not just an exchange of words that defines effective communication. Effective communication is a two-way street between partners; it requires an exchange of feelings, thoughts and beliefs between you and your partner.

    Another important aspect of verbal communication is the choice of words we use to get our message across. The more emotionally loaded a topic of conversation is – the more imperative it is to choose your words carefully and sensitively. Just because you are in an intimate relationship with someone doesn’t mean you can throw diplomacy out the window – or just blurt out your thoughts and feelings with total disregard for your partner’s feelings. Now is a good time to remember my strong belief that you can say just about anything to anybody – IF you know how to say it- by choosing to have your conversation at the appropriate time using carefully sensitive words.

  2. Non-Verbal Communication. Approximately 80% of all communication takes place non-verbally. The most important type of non-verbal communication is body language. For effective communication to take place, it is important your body language, and all other forms of non-verbal communication is consistent with your verbal communication. If there is a discrepancy between your verbal and non-verbal communication, your partner will be confused. Confusion leads to misunderstandings and misunderstandings lead to fights. Consistency in your non-verbal communication is assured if you say what you mean and mean what you say – because you have nothing to hide.
  3. Active Listening – notice I use the word “active” to describe the listening process. So what exactly is active listening? Active listening is the ability to listen without a hidden agenda. The way you do this is to listen with an open heart, an open mind and an open soul. Let’s be honest. Most people listen with their own hidden agenda and it usually occurs in one of two ways. The first way occurs when people listen with the intention of trying to “catch” the speaker providing false information so we can prove them wrong (and ourselves right). I often refer this type of listening as the: “Ah ha, I got you…” way of listening. The second way most people listen is by silently standing by and appear to be listening; but they are actually just waiting for the speaker to finish talking so they can say what they want to say. When we listen in this manner, we are not really listening to what is being said at all; rather we are listening with our own agenda.

The above 3 steps will provide you with the necessary tools you need for developing effective communication in your relationship so you can create a career and life you love!


The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann


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Like it or not, it’s that time of year again – the office holiday party! As a relationship expert I’ve seen and heard of many careers crash and burn related to inappropriate behavior at this event. Here are five “do’s and don’ts” to avoid career suicide during the office holiday party. Following the appropriate etiquette listed below may help make or break your career.

  1. Do not even think about blowing off the office holiday party. This could be tantamount to career suicide as your absence from the festivities could be misinterpreted as you not being a “team” player. If you absolutely dread this event, view it as a mandatory business meeting and put your best foot forward. Once you are there, be sure you say hello, with a smile, to as many people as possible who are in attendance.

  2. Find out who is on the guest list and learn a few things about them. Be prepared to engage in small conversation with as many people as is humanly possible. Small talk at holiday office parties is a great way to network and make a positive connection with someone whom you might not otherwise have the opportunity to do so with – carpe diem. (If you have difficulty with small talk – just ask people about themselves by asking open-ended questions that begin with: “Tell me about …” and they will proceed to do all the talking.)

  3. Dress appropriately for the occasion. Although you do not have to wear your business attire to the party, this is not a social gathering among friends – it is a work event. Therefore, this is not the time or place to wear clothing that leaves nothing to the imagination. These people are your colleagues and, like it or not, you will be judged by the clothes, and make-up you wear. When in doubt, dress modestly. Remember, you may have to conduct business with these people in the future and some of them may have input into your career advancement and review. Dress for success.

  4. Moderation is the operative word for all that you do at these events. Do not over imbibe or over eat. You are not at this event for the food or the drink – you are there for relationship building. Therefore, do not tie one on – no matter who else appears to be over-drinking! Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, potentially contributing to an inappropriate joke or remark that will come back to haunt you. When choosing food, pick ones that you may eat without slobbering sauces and juices all over yourself, or the person standing next to you. Take small bites, chew your food with your mouth closed and do not talk with food in your mouth. This shows not only poor etiquette but poor judgment as well. Also, do not talk too much; nobody enjoys a bore who babbles on and on. Listen more than you speak at these events.

  5. Behave yourself appropriately at all times. You do not want to be “that guy” or “that girl” whom everyone is talking about the next day. Behaving classy and with genuine charm might actually accelerate your career up the corporate ladder!

If you genuinely enjoy these work-related parties, that is great! You now have some tips to use to make the most of this opportunity. If you find these office gatherings annoying – or you just plain dread them – view them as an opportunity which comes along only once a year for putting a face to a name and for discovering some commonalities with people you would normally only interact with on a professional basis! You have to spend your time at these events, so you might as well make the most of it!


The Place For Relationship Tools For Success In Business and Life,

Dr. Patty Ann


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