Exercise: Understanding Physical Orientation

Often, a pattern of Physical Orientation is influenced by a communicative environment. What are some common configurations that occur naturally because of the architectural constructs people move around or through? For example, Full Front standing at the food counter or Profile sitting next to someone on the streetcar. What are some more nuanced situations that seem to invite a default physical orientation because of the context of the social situation or convention? For example, Quarter Turn in a circle of friends, Full Back standing in line, or Full Front for formal greetings.

What orientations do you default to most during your day? Observe when and why you shift orientations purposely or subconsciously. What are the catalysts? Are they the circumstances, the people, your level of confidence, or that you have a specific intention? Do you think your Physical Orientation can influence how you are perceived? What about how you perceive others as you observe their orientation toward or away from you? Through your observations, you will soon recognize that at times, the impressions gathered from Physical Orientation and Frame and Stance transmit more meaning than what is spoken.
When you purposely engage in changing orientations, observe your communication partners and notice if they also shift or counter you physically. Strategic use of orientation can be employed for drawing or directing focus and for engaging with or for releasing the request for focus from your communication partner. Here’s an exercise: 

Practice selecting a specific orientation during everyday interactions. Do you sense any changes in your communication patterns or impulses when you purposely shift orientation during a conversation? Observe your communication partners and notice if they also shift or counter you physically. Many people default to Full Front orientation for presentation or formal interactions when positioned in front of a group or large audience. Practice a portion of a presentation or lecture in Quarter Turn and then the same or similar content in Full Front or Profile, varying positions from one to the other as you communicate different content or ideas. Observe what changes in your delivery or content. In addition, Physical Orientation will impact your practice and use of the Ready Position. 

Notice how engagement and disengagement and body readiness influences you and your audience when paired with a particular Physical Orientation. If you are a person that is not aware of how you use your body during a communication, try to employ a deliberate Line Focus pattern that orients your torso towards others when communicating with them. Observe what changes. Do you listen differently? Are you more engaged? Do you receive more focus or attention from others? You may find that directing Line Focus toward another person as you communicate is uncomfortable, or you may find that you become more engaged and connected with people.

If you are a person that defaults to turning your body toward people during a communication, try to employ a deliberate Line Focus pattern that orients your torso towards others only when you want to build a relationship, but slightly away when you seek to communicate ideas or instructions. Observe what changes when your Line Focus is turned slightly away from others, do you listen to what is being said more than how you feel? You may find that directing Line Focus slightly away from another person as you communicate allows you to stay engaged in connecting with them, and stay focused on your content.

Learner Milestones


  • Understand the significance of each of the Physical Orientation positions
  • Use Physical Orientation purposefully to facilitate Line Focus
  • Use Physical Orientation as a tool to engage or disengage the Emotional Center

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Foundation Course

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  1. Introduction
    11 Topics
    4 Quizzes
  2. The Breath-Thought Connection
    8 Topics
    4 Quizzes
  3. Physical Orientation
    16 Topics
    8 Quizzes
  4. Frame and Stance
    12 Topics
    6 Quizzes

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