Portland, Oregon (PRWEB) August 2, 2010
The city of Elmhurst, Illinois has a problem. Citizens are rolling their eyes. If the city council has a say, they hope to make that against the law. Non-verbal communication expert Sharon Salyer says the council members have misinterpreted the message. Eye rolling isn’t about a lack of respect or a lack of decorum. Instead, it’s a symptom of something larger that cannot be outlawed –feelings of powerlessness.
According to an article in The Consumerist, the issue started at a city council meeting where a woman was thrown out of the room after she rolled her eyes in response to something a council member said. The city council had her removed from the room and is looking at the act as a possible violation of disorderly conduct laws.
According to Sayler, the eye rolling was a sign that the woman speaking did not feel safe expressing her opinion. “The problem for this community is this person (for what ever reason) didn't believe what she was hearing. She "knew" she would not be "safe" for speaking up. Safety is not just physical safety it is about psychological safety such as well fear of ridicule, harassment, embarrassment,” said Sayler.
The city council said they will investigate if eye rolling can be construed as breaking the state’s disorderly conduct law. Illinois state law defines disorderly conduct is "an act in such unreasonable manner as to alarm or disturb another, or to provoke a breach of the peace." One city council member said he doubts the behavior could result in a fine, but it will be investigated.
“Eye-rolling is a symptom not the problem. Eye rolling in this context is about lack of feeling safe to say what you really think. Just as teenagers roll their eyes when their parents lecture them.... it's a sign that there the person doesn’t feel strong enough to express themselves out loud,” said Sayler.
The words that were not spoken send a strong message in this situation. What’s missing in these meetings? The fact that the city’s citizens may not feel safe speaking up when they have an opinion. To Sayler, that’s worthy of investigation.
Send the message you meant to send through your words and your nonverbal communication. Sayler’s new book is, “What your Body Says (and how to master the message.)” Learn more at http://www.whatyourbodysays.com
About Sharon Sayler
Sharon Sayler is a Small Business and Communication Success Strategist, MBA, and Certified Book Yourself Solid Coach. She coaches small business professionals to help them develop a loyal community through no and low cost marketing. She shows them how to market their business through speaking and demonstrating. “What your Body Says” is her third book.