Introduction To Fronting in Body Language

Today, we’re going to learn another skill that’s really important for you to learn and to use.

But first – I need you to do a Google search, just some quick research…

Pause the video and google some famous people. You could google a favourite actor, you could google a politician, you could google some other ‘icon’. I need you to look at their ‘image’ or their picture.

As you do this just look at the images that you come across. What I’d like you to think about is when you see these images, what are your immediate thoughts with respect to like and trust…

Do you like, trust and respect that person based on that image, or are you less likely to trust, respect and like that person based on that image that you see on your screen

I’d like you to go and do that now. Go and look at three or four different people and half a dozen images of those three or four people.

Then make an instant decision about them – do you like and trust them based on that image or are you less likely to like and trust them.

And see if you can also form an impression as to why you do or don’t like them.

Then come back to me and we’ll go into this in a little more in depth. I’ll explain some of the things that may have come out for you.

Okay, welcome back.

I hope you’ve just done that little but very important exercise.

What we’re talking about today is Fronting.

Essentially people who front us, who look straight at us are perceived to be more likable and trustable.

Fronting is – that’s straight ‘top’, ‘torso’ and ‘toes’ – all pointed to you or at you.

When someone fronts you, this means to your mind and to your body that that person is respecting you, paying attention to you and therefore you are more likely to reciprocate and like and trust them more in turn.

When you went and googled these people a little while ago, if these people were looking at you front on, or maybe their head is slightly turned but to all intents and purposes they are still looking directly at you, you are much more likely to like them, trust them and respect them.

However, if they were like, looking away from you, then you are less likely to trust them, like them and respect them.

Some Examples;

There are some classic pictures of politicians on the internet which are designed to either get you to like that politician or to not-like that person.

When people are talking images of these politicians, they’re trying to portray them in either a good light or a bad light depending on what that writer, that author, that photographer, what image he’s trying to create about that politician.

When they like what the politician is doing, and they like what he said, they’ll have a full-frontal image, (see above) for you to see – or maybe the politician might be slightly turned – but is still looking at the camera. That then gives the reader more reason to trust and like and respect that politician.

Whereas if the writer or the photographer doesn’t want to portray that politician in a good light, then they’re going to have the politician looking elsewhere or looking sideways, or looking up and not facing the camera directly. This results in the viewer having less positive feelings for that politician.

Fronting is a VERY powerful tool and it’s something for you to be aware of.

Fronting means ‘top’, ‘torso’, ‘toes’ all pointing at the most important thing or person in the room. This most important person is the person who they are communicating with – you.

Fronting is the non-verbal way of saying; “I respect you…”

This means that if you are talking to two or three or four people, then if someone is talking you’d front that particular person, and then when someone else talks, you’d front them, and then when the 3rd person talks, you’d then front them.

So, you’d slightly rotate your head and your torso and your toes to that next person and the next person, etc.

You should learn to do this both when you are standing or sitting.

Even when meeting around a table, where you are all sitting down, you can front as well.

It’s obviously very much easier in a swivel chair than in a fixed chair, but it can be done whether you’re in a swivel chair or a fixed chair. In the fixed chair scenario, you just need to make more of an effort.

I’m going to politely ‘insist’ that you start fronting when you are meeting with people and having discussion with people, because your credibility, your likedness, your trust worthiness and your respectedness will improve dramatically in that other person’s eyes when you front them.

This is a very powerful skill to master and will significantly affect your communication outcomes.

Let’s go a little bit deeper on this.

Now that you know the power of fronting, what I’m going to suggest that you do is to look at your Facebook image or picture if you have a private Facebook page—and may I suggest that you look at LinkedIn picture as well.

In a LinkedIn photo (this is a professional business environment where you’re trying to create relationships), it’s really important that your image has a full ‘front’ of you and that you have a good frontal image on your LinkedIn site.

Facebook, may not be as important if you’re not using it for business. If you do use Facebook for business, then the same ‘rules’ apply with respect to your image on Facebook.

However, let’s go sideways quite dramatically and do some lateral thinking.

If you’re dating for example, and if your Facebook image on your Facebook site is part of your dating profile, then absolutely, you should have a good frontal image on Facebook. You’ll be seem as more trustworthy!

And, if you’re using a dating site, exactly the same thing applies, it will really improve your ability to get a date.

And even if you don’t use your Facebook page for business, it could be that someone who wants to do business with you might actually go and ‘look you up’ on Facebook.

If your Facebook image isn’t as good as it needs to be, then this may just cost you business.

So, there are many reasons (both personal and business reasons) for fronting and having good frontal images on the internet.

Just one last thing

I could talk about this topic for quite a while—I’m not going too. I just want to throw one last thing into the mix.

When you’re at a party and you’re fronting someone, typically, subconsciously, our toes point at or to the most important thing in the room (to us), and so you might be fronting someone with your head, your top and your torso, BUT your toes may be pointing at the bathroom.

The person that you’re talking with, at some level, will know that your toes are pointing at the bathroom, or your toes are pointing to the bar, or your toes are pointing to the food table – in other words they will subconsciously ‘see’ that your toes are not pointing at them and that you are only ‘partially fronting’ them.

It’s really important therefore, that when you’re communicating with someone at a networking event or in fact that when you are communicating with anyone, anywhere that you be aware of your top, your torso and your toes, and you pay the other person respect by fronting them fully and you pay that person that you’re communicating with attention by fronting correctly, and also being aware of where your toes are pointing.

This has been a bit of a longer video today and we’ve shared a few tips, strategies and clues for you to implement in the next couple of weeks.

I look forward to catching up with you on the next video.


Expressive Hands

A few weeks ago, we talked about the two big trust indicators;

  • one was ‘visible hands’ and
  • the other one was the smile.

Well, we’re going back to look at the hands today.

Today it’s all about ‘expressive hands’ and using your hands to improve your communication and communication outcomes.

We can grade the use of one’s hands during conversation from no use at all (zero) through the over use (ten).

I’m one of those people who tends to use their hands A LOT – I almost over use them. Call them ‘Jazz Hand’s if you like; I use my hands a lot.

But, studies show, that using one’s hands, does add expressiveness to the communication and it most definitely improves communications outcomes.

Using the expressiveness of your hands does help get the message across to the people that you’re talking with. They do remember more of what you’ve said and you are also regarded as more likable and trustworthy when you use your hands to help you communicate.

One extreme is where you are waving your hands around almost ‘wildly’, using expansive gestures and large movements of the hands. As I’ve indicated above, this can be called ‘Jazz Hands’.

Doing too much with your hands can be distracting and hinder communication. Jazz hands ‘distracts’ your listener and can take away from the message that you are trying to get across. If you are like me and if you have Jazz Hands, just be aware of this and be a little careful therefore to remember to tone it down – just a touch.

The other extreme is no use of hands at all, the hands remaining just sort of flat by your side, or folded across the abdomen, or something like that – no use of the hands at all.

This lack of animation (by the hands) means that your message gets across with less power and less impact.

Without the use of hand gestures, you have a lesser communication impact on the listener

And that extreme (no hand movement) is equally bad, because it also detracts from the power of your message.

Then we have the middle of the road use of hands. This is where you DO use hand gestures and movement, but you limit your movements largely to a ‘restricted’ area in-front of your torso.

This restricted area is a box, about 50 cm to 60 cm square, in-front of your chest and abdomen. Maybe this box is about as wide as your body and maybe a 50cm to 60 cm high, and it’s in front of your abdomen or lower chest.

In this ‘ideal’ scenario your hands would move within that space. Most surely, you would occasionally gesture more broadly and widely, but to a larger degree, your hand gestures would be within that box-like area. This is probably more of the ideal scenario when we’re talking about how much we should be using our hands.

What are you doing with your hands?

The point of this video is to get you to assess how, where and how much you are using your hands when you’re speaking; how expressive you are.

If you’ve got no hand movement at all, if you’re down at the lower end of the scale, then I’m going to suggest that you consciously start moving your hands around to improve the impact of your communication.

Initially this will feel stilted, awkward and strange. You may even feel that your communication is contrived.

The more you practice and practice, the more natural this will feel and the more impactful you’ll see your communication becoming.

On the other hand, if you’re like me and you have jazz hands, and you’re happy with that and if it isn’t throwing your conversation and communication off, then that’s okay, keep doing what you’re doing.

Knowing what you know now, start observing the other person or people in the conversation carefully to ensure that you aren’t putting them off or even slightly ‘frightening’ them.

But if you are throwing people off, maybe just tone it down a little. Remember, all body language and all communication goes on a scale from extremely low to extremely high, and you should fit somewhere in the middle. That gives the best of all worlds.

So, this is another skill to tack onto the skills we’ve worked on over the last four or five weeks. This is all about learning how to use your hands to improve your communication outcomes.

Final Note: If you are speaking from ‘stage’ or to a small or large group, then the correct use of your hands is also VERY important in getting your message across. Here again, learn to use your hands to maximise the communication outcome you will achieve.

Now it’s over to you – it’s time to turn this theory into a new skill by starting to practice, practice and practice.

I’ll see you on the next video.