Principal LSW coach: How to use gesture to your advantage


By Emma Serlin
July 9, 2019

Jamie Chapman, one of our Principal Coaches shares with us a story of one of his clients’ fantastic transformations that landed her the dream job.

“When Rachel came for an Elocution and Effective Communication course with us a couple of years back she was painfully shy and having real difficulty getting a job.

“As she walked into the room, it was as if she prefaced everything with an unspoken apology, “I’m sorry but…”. She told me stories that whenever anyone spoke to her on the bus she blushed. The thought of going to school reunions, in fact of speaking at all, filled her with absolute anxiety.

“This reluctance to speak, and terrible self-judgment of herself was really affecting her ability to get a job. She worked in school dealing with truancy and desperately wanted to move to another school—she feeling undervalued and stuck where she was.

“I could see she’d be a brilliant employee—she was conscientious and hard working. How to unlock that side of her in an interview?

“ What makes teaching this method and supporting clients with communication so fascinating is that there’s always a locked door somewhere—your job is to find the key that unlocks it for them.

“With Rachel, as soon as we started working on gesture and facial expression it totally unlocked her connection to her speech, and the results were incredible.

“That's because it's virtually impossible to gesture with your arms and face, and keep an absolutely monotone voice.

“Try for yourself—use your arms and face expressively, and say “I’m so passionate about this” BUT with zero colour or expression in the voice.

“Pretty hard, isn’t it?

TIP—If you’re feeling tired, or struggling to connect with your words in a high pressure scenario, get physically animated and it will feed into your speech as well.

“Once we’d worked on this together, something clicked for Rachel, and it totally transformed her communication. She’d been making good progress before, and this took her completely to the next level.

The end result?

“A little while after her sessions had finished, I got a text, “Can you see me tomorrow?”—she had got an interview for the dream job at her dream school.

“I managed to squeeze in 2 hours for interview technique work and we worked together on how to craft responses, how to enter the room, and importantly how to beat the shyness and engage fully.

“A day later I got a text on my way home “I got it!”. Amazing news.

“She’d seen someone going into the interview and said she saw herself as she was before, and knew the other candidate didn’t stand a chance of getting it.

“She on the other hand was safe in the knowledge that from the moment she arrived, she knew how to walk in. That she was going to breathe after every pause. To Smile. To Engage.

*Rachel's name has been altered for this case study.

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