Prof. Ronald Riggio: Body Movement | Self-improvement Atlas #29

In this episode, host Aditi Kutty is joined by Prof. Ronald Riggio, Ph.D. who is a practicing leadership coach and a scholar with hundreds of written works

Mastering communication is one of the best things you can do to improve your life, but most people don’t know where to start. Mastering non-verbal communication is one of the most impactful ways to be a more effective communicator and charismatic leader, and this episode will discuss exactly why and how.

Meet Prof. Ronald Riggio

Dr. Ronald Riggio is a distinguished figure in leadership and organizational psychology. He’s a practicing leadership coach, guiding individuals who want to improve their leadership skills. He has also published multiple books on leadership, his latest being Leadership & Virtues (co-edited with Toby Newstead), Daily Leadership Development: 365 Steps to Becoming a Better Leader (2020), and Inclusive Leadership (2021; co-edited with Bernardo Ferdman and Jeanine Prime). 

About the episode

Prof. Ronald began his discussion very broadly by defining personal development. He revealed that development is anchored to hard work. One of the most common misconceptions about this area is that it happens in a single event. But realistically, development is a state of incremental improvement over a long period. It requires hard work, consistency, and motivation to achieve.

From this, he discussed the journey people take in learning nonverbal communication. He began with the kinds of nonverbal communication that people express: facial expressions, body movements, and even silence. These things happen all the time and in concert with each other, which is why this branch of communication is highly complex.

He believed that the very first step to learning this discipline is awareness. You need to be attuned to and understand what other people’s body language is sharing.

An aspect of this is understanding. You need to empathize with the emotions and ideas that the other party is saying. After that comes perspective-sharing, where you look at the idea from the point of view of the other person.

The other side of communication is how you communicate your response. Expressing the proper emotions, conveying the idea, and ensuring you are understood fall under this.

Dr. Ronald discusses the importance of learning nonverbal communication for developing leadership skills and expressing oneself more authentically. He gives important tips about enhancing this ability, such as taking acting courses, becoming aware of your communication patterns, asking for feedback, and more.

In conclusion

Non-verbal communication is an aspect of communication that everyone knows about, but that nobody really knows what to do with. One can have a good idea of how much it impacts conversation, but people are rarely presented with opportunities to develop this skill. This episode is a great starting point, discussing the fundamentals and giving actionable steps.

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