In this field, we deal with people a lot. In fact, over 80% of my work is attending meetings. (Of the remainder, 20% is spent emailing and 10% is spent cowering under my desk, rocking and shaking, staring at our budget, wondering why it wouldn’t balance). Considering that at least half of our communication is nonverbal, it is shocking how little we pay attention to body language. But body language is awesome, and learning even the basics will give you a leg up—ha! Body language joke!—at the next site visit or presentation or board meeting.
So today I am going to delve into some of the signals that I have been studying. It is good for you to learn a few of them so you can better interpret people’s moods and emotions, and also for you to be cognizant of your own body language so you can better communicate.
Hi everyone, you may notice that the blog looks way different. I asked my ridiculously talented friend Stacy Nguyen to make it awesome. We are still experimenting with the features and getting everything to work right, but I hope the new blog format will be easier and more fun to navigate. Please do me a favor and surf through it and leave feedback and suggestions in the comment section; just keep in mind that we nonprofit humor writers have very low self-esteem, and a mean comment may result in my hiding in the bathroom, rocking back and forth, gnawing on a piece of wheat gluten…which is also what I do on days when we have board meetings.
Thanksgiving is coming up this week, a time for us all to put aside everything, gather around friends and family, and reflect on all the things for which we are—OMG, a laptop/tablet with 13.3-inch touchscreen, 4GB DDR3 memory, and 128GB Solid state drive for only 500 bucks at Best Buy if you are one of the first people into the store on Black Friday!!! Hells yeah, I’m totally packing a cattle prod and some empty Snapple bottles and camping out in front of the store on Thursday evening!
This weekend the kids at our Saturday English School (SES) program had turkey for the very first time. We told them it was chicken…really large chicken. They had just arrived to the US this year, this was their very first Thanksgiving celebration, and turkey is a weird meat that they were not going to touch. After they eat the turkey and like it, we then say, “Ha ha, you just ate turkey and you liked it!” That’s how VFA rolls, following the motto for the SES program: “Curiosity, Perseverance, Deception.”
Over 120 kids showed up, middle and high-schoolers from all over the world. The program, done in partnership with Seattle World School (SWS) serves over 15 languages. I stood near the door and scanned the room, inspired by the students, some of whom take two buses to get to our program each week.
All right, everyone, we need to talk about the gluten-free bandwagon. “Oooh, I can’t have any bread. I’m gluten-free. I’ve cut out gluten for three weeks, and I feel so much better.” Scoff. I love gluten. Gluten is awesome. I eat it with every meal and finish off with gluten ice cream or a seitan pudding. If you’re gluten-free and you’re not actually diagnosed with gluten intolerance by a doctor, you’re kind of annoying. I still like you, but you’re kind of annoying.
Of course, gluten-free people are high-strung, so this post may not make me many new friends. “How DARE you dismiss gluten sensitivity. I’ll have you know that I suffered from blah blah all my life and then I became gluten-free and within a week the rash disappeared. In fact, not only that but my long-lost dog came back blah blah. My uncle had one leg amputated, and after a year of giving up wheat products, his leg grew back and he was able to save a bus full of children from going over a cliff, blah blah.”
Only 1% of the population has the serious and possibly life-threatening Celiac disease, and yet approximately 90% of people I know are now gluten-free. We can’t escape them. They’re everywhere. We pro-gluten people have started forming guerilla resistance groups, hiding in the shadows, munching on our wheat breads and pastas.
There are few things in the nonprofit world as exciting and nerve-wracking as the site visit, the final step before getting a piece of that sweet, sweet funding. It is kind of like a date, a date where if you fail to impress, you may have to lay off staff and possibly not be able to help hundreds of clients who need the services, leaving you to weep alone in your office bathroom, consoling yourself with an entire bar of Trader Joe’s Pound Plus dark chocolate with almonds.
Program officers are special people. Smart and good-looking—in fact, scientifically 27% better looking than civilians—they can be intimidating. However, despite their great complexion and impeccable sense of style, they are also human. So if you are fortunate enough to get a site visit, there are things you can do to increase your chance of it being a successful one. Just follow these tips below: