written by Hilary Blair

Sometimes we shake our head “no” without realizing it.

It can send mixed messages.

If we are sharing good news, great findings, or encouragement while shaking our head “no”, it has a tendency to muddy the message at the least and at the worst, contradict our intention. Contradictions in messaging can undermine trust – the bedrock of our communication.

Why do we do that?

  1. Voice Freedom. Sometimes our voice can feel stuck. Physiologically when we shake our heads it can be a subconscious way of releasing our voice.  In our attempts to be professional or not too enthusiastic, we sometimes get a bit tight vocally.  Our bodies seem to be drawn instinctively to a release and the headshake sneaks in.
    1. Fix: Release your shoulders and neck and let the breath flow easily and fully on the exhale as you speak. (We speak on the exhale* link to other article
  2. Curb Your Enthusiasm. Sometimes the headshake seems to be almost a mute or dampening of our enthusiasm.
    1. Fix: Permission granted to you to share your feelings about what you are expressing. Gone are the days of monotone covering of our emotions. Get with the times and heighten your effectiveness by vocally revealing your connection to your message.
  3. Poker Tell.  Are our words truly matching what we think, feel, or believe? This is the third most common reason I have experienced while coaching.  The body tells the truth when we aren’t on board with our own messaging.
    1. Fix: Get honest with yourself and then your audience. The truth will come out. And if you try to keep it out of your voice, your body will tell.

One more detail along the journey to self-awareness that will enhance the trust you instill in others. Release your breath and voice, align your body and message and step into your truth.