Hurricane Harvey has brought the best out in people, we’re talking about the first responders who tirelessly brave the weather, sleep and hunger to save lives. This morning, we want to a take a look at the ways first responders help during times of crisis.
Let's take a look at ways first responders use body language to calm, reassure and develop trust. First responders want to establish trust with people that they’re helping. One way to do it is through eye contact. Emotions such as calmness, caring, compassion are conveyed by the way you look at people. Also, direct eye contact gives reassurance vs. indirect eye contact (looking away, daring eyes). When people are scared, they need reassurance.
First responders use their hands to physically help people. But, they also use their hands to help calm and reassure people as well as build trust. First responders have open arms (relaxed) and hands out front. No tension, no crossed arms, relaxed hands. When you see people’s hands – you’re more relaxed.
They also use body leveraging to calm people. First responders physically get to the level of the person they’re helping when they can. This means if someone is on the ground then the first responder would lower themselves. Think about the comfort difference of someone talking to you from full height when you’re down low on the ground. It’s more comforting not to have someone loom over you.
Blanca Cobb is a WFMY News 2 Contributing Editor, body language expert and keynote speaker/corporate trainer who covers nonverbal communication, psychology and behavior. Follow her @blancacobb. The opinions expressed in this article are exclusively hers.