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A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of participating in “Speed Mentoring” at the Central Florida ASSP chapter ( @ASSPCentralFL ) in Winter Park, FL..   The meeting was held in conjunctions with WISE, Women in Safety Engineering Special Interest Group @WISEconnects and the Society of Women Engineers.  This program consisted of having nine mentors who rotated around the room to the attendees, who were seated at nine different sections, with each mentor delivering a five-minute lesson on their assigned topic.

The Mentors
The Mentors

The mentoring topics included Negotiation, Influence, Nonverbal Communication, Conflict Resolution, Time Management, Listening vs Talking, Team Playing Ability, Self-Reflection and Management.


I had the distinction of presenting Nonverbal Communication.


With a timer displayed on the overhead projection screen I had five minutes to speak about the importance of nonverbal communication, in other words, body language.  Body language is critical to our successful and effective in communications.  Body language not only shows a person what we are really saying and thinking, it also controls our voice and as our mothers have always told us, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it” that makes all the difference.


With limited time, I decided to concentrate on eye contact, posture and hands.  We talked about how to maintain a proper amount of eye contact without staring at someone.  We discussed the difference in eye contact whether you are speaking or listening and the appropriate ways to break eye contact.  We then moved on to posture and hands.  When listening, you never want to fold your arms across your chest, even if you are cold, because it can send a signal that you have closed off the person speaking.  When you are the one speaking, you want to be aware of the use of your hands and whether they are facing palms down, palms in or palms up.  Each one sends a different message and each one can be used effectively or misused and deliver the wrong message.

John McBride (standing) at table 5
John McBride (standing) at table 5

Then it was time to move on to the next table and repeat the lesson all over again at each of the nine stations.


This was a great experience and one I hope other chapters of ASSP as well as SHRM and other organizations copy and repeat.