Storytelling And Body Language In The Virtual World With Holley Mignosi 

MLM 260 | Storytelling And Body Language

Any good speaker knows that speaking in front of people is more than just saying your message hoping that they will get what you mean. It is about storytelling and, most importantly, your body language. But in the time of quarantine and isolation where the stages are traded for screens, does body language still matter? Guest for this episode, Holley Mignosi, says yes. As a storytelling and hypnotic body language expert, Holley has helped so many people attract the kind of clients and customers they want from speaking. In this conversation, she joins Jen Du Plessis to share with us all her expert knowledge and how we can continue to utilize our body language even in the virtual world. Follow along to this discussion to learn more about how we can show up on the screen and still get the results we want and more.

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Holley Mignosi is going to be speaking with us and sharing something that is super important. Holley is a storytelling and hypnotic body language expert. She coaches people on stage and it’s important because we are all virtual. Whether you’re on stage or not, and most of you that are reading are not on stage, but you do teach classes. You talk to people in front of groups. The way that your body language is and the stories that you tell are going to be what attract people to you. Now more important than ever is how do you show up on screen when we’re in this virtual world that we’re in and we continue to be? It gets more and more that we’re having it. Holley, thank you for joining us. I am excited to learn much about you.

Thank you, Jen. I’m excited to be here as well and to share everything that I can with you and your audience so that we can knock it out of the park when we are on this new stage whether it’s a virtual stage or we go back to the stage. Honestly, my perspective is that all of life is a stage.

I know that you coach people on this as well. I know you have a free gift for everybody. I’m going to learn about you too, but I want to dig into this whole adage of client attraction by having a story. One of the things that I say all the time is that if you’re selling to everybody, you’re selling to no one. The only way to shine a light on you is to come with a clear message, maybe even a niche. I know the story also has something to do with it. In business, especially mortgages and real estate, we tend to stick to business. We don’t want to show that vulnerable side of us by showing the story, which is what you should be doing. Let’s talk about that. I want to find out how you discovered it and discovered that storytelling was where the key was going to be, and then some things that we can be doing to start formulating a story.

Our personal story is one of the biggest tools that we have for connection. Connection to show our authority and to stand out in a unique way, how are we different from our collaborators or competitors? You have a unique story. Nobody has your story. There are a lot of people that do what you do. There are lots of people that have your message even, but no one has your story. It is unique, and there is a specific framework for sharing a story in a way that is captivating. That’s what I help experts outline their story in a way and practice it even before sharing it so that when they share it, it’s captivating and they have that connection. I have found that people don’t care that much about your success until they have compassion for your failure. There’s a new type of leader emerging, one that is authentic. One that is willing to do what I say is open the kimono, so to speak, let you in and say, “This is who I am. This is what I’ve been through. This is my credibility, but these are also some of my failures and why I can be trusted with you, your dreams, your goals, your desires.”

That’s important because when we talk about the difference between abundance and scarcity, that’s a big thing that’s used a lot in sales and in business is becoming authentic, becoming with abundance versus scarcity. For years, I used to think that abundance was that, “I got it. I don’t need you. I have it.” It’s a scarcity mode because it’s not allowing myself to open up to be able to share a vulnerable part of my life, which is where the abundance is. Can you help us understand for someone who’s reading and saying, “I don’t have a story, I don’t want to tell that horrible story, can I conjure a story?” How do we put the story out of ourselves, a story that is in alignment with what we’re trying to get across to a client? I’ve got twenty stories but which one? That might be a problem too is which story? Do you have any suggestions?

Absolutely. Some stories are more obvious as far as it’s the obvious story to tell because it connects to what you’re doing. For example, if you are a fitness trainer and you used to be 100 pounds overweight and you found a way to lose that weight and now you’re helping other people do the same, that’s an obvious connection. Other stories, it’s not quite as obvious. The best way to share this is maybe to share my own story. As you’re reading to my story, notice where I’m being vulnerable. Notice that I take you into a dark moment in my life and I let you in. Notice that in that pit, it appears to have nothing to do with what I’m doing, but I will make a connection at the end.

I was going to go there because you do have a beautiful story that needs to be heard.

It’s had some ups and downs, some rocks and some rolls for sure. It started when I was about 21, 22 years old, I was living my dream life. I was modeling and acting by day, I’m seeing fashion shows but I was also in the fashion shows. At night, I worked at a local modeling and acting company and I was helping aspiring models and actors break into the business and sharing the things that I learned. I was doing what I loved helping other people, which is making a difference and I was making good money. That’s what life is about. I was like, “I’m 21. I have arrived. I am successful.” It was perfect until the day that everything changed. My boss, John, called all of us runway instructors into a room. He announced that he was taking the company globally. He wanted the company to be the number one modeling and acting company in the world. In order to do that, we had to look like celebrity models and actors.

People don't care that much about your success until they have compassion for your failure. Click To Tweet

Let me give you some context here. This is in my small hometown of Sacramento, which is some of it is business and politics, but there’s also a countryside where there are a lot of farmers and people who owned a lot of lands and down to earth. We were not celebrity-ish at that time. I knew I was in trouble when he said, “You need to look like a celebrity model.” The second reason why I was in trouble is that celebrity models are 5’9”, 5’10”, 5’11”. I’m only 5’8”. They have a specific physicality. There’s a specific body style. My body is not that thin, tall, willowy shape, but a little more what you call curvy or athletic. He announced that each of us needed to step on the runway and he wanted to measure us with a measuring tape. He proceeded to measure our bust, waist and hips. The first model he measured was perfect. I knew she would be. The second model stepped up, perfect height, perfect measure. He said, “Perfect.” I knew she would be.

He then called on me and I got up, exhaled all the air I possibly could, squeeze my little tooshie as far as I could to bring it all in and make myself as small as possible. My bust and my waist, those measurements were in line, but my hips were not 1, not 2, not 3 but 4 inches too big. To you and I, 4 inches is this much, if you can imagine opening your thumb and your index. It’s not much. In that industry, it was everything. He looked at my hips, pointed at me, turned to my coworkers, my friends and said, “If any of you have this problem, fix it or you’re fired.” I was in my early twenties. I felt ashamed and embarrassed. I was the bad apple of the bunch. Everyone else was perfect but me. If you’ve ever been in a moment of deep pain, I did what most of us do. I decided I will never let this happen again ever. I went on this mad pursuit, “I’m going to exercise and read all the fitness books and the nutrition books. I’m going to do anything I can.” I bought every pill, powder shake guaranteed to help you lose weight or your money back, but nothing worked because that was my shape. That was it. Let me tell you, Jen, I was a size four. I was small.

One day, someone gave me a little baggie of white powder. She said, “Try this.” It was cocaine. I thought, “I’ve got nothing else to lose. I’ve tried everything else. I’ll try it.” It worked. Within a few weeks, I lost inches. I was walking through the hallways with my new sleek physique, getting compliments from my coworkers and accolades from my boss, “Holley, you’re looking good.” In fact, I even got a raise. I opened my own modeling and talent agency. I was making more money. I was making a bigger impact, but inside though I was dying. I knew I was a fraud. I knew if I ever quit, it would come back. I was stuck in the cycle. I would use and try to quit, use and try to quit, and go back and forth. I vacillated back and forth for over ten years. It wasn’t until I was in my early 30s, I met someone, we got married and I had my first child.

Let me just say that while I was pregnant, I was able to quit. When she was little, I was clean. We then had some problems in our marriage, and the old friend of me of cocaine came back into my life.  I started using, and then he and I started using. It all cycle back again. She was about three at this time. I used until it got dangerous. What happened was I came home from a night of being out and she said, “Mommy and daddy, where were you? I want to play with you.” We had a live-in nanny at the time. She was cute with blonde hair, blue eyes and her little pink tutu. He went off to bed and I said, “I’ll play with you.” After we played tea party for a little while, I got thirsty, went to the kitchen, got some water, came back and she was gone. I thought, “Where did she go?” I checked her bedroom, she wasn’t there. I checked her bathroom and she wasn’t there.

You know that feeling you get when you know something is wrong, like intuition, something is not right. My bedroom door was open a few inches. I had that feeling something was not right. I opened the door, and as I walk in, there on the floor is my blonde hair, blue-eyed, ball of sunshine, holding my drugs in her hands. I was terrified. My heart sank to my stomach. I rushed to her and I checked her mouth. She did not ingest anything. I had gotten there just in the nick of time. At that moment, I call a divine download. I was suddenly seeing this vision of an alternate possibility. I heard these questions and the questions were, “What if I didn’t get there in time? What if she had consumed something? What if we had to call the police and they called CPS? What if Child Protection Services took her away from us because we were both using?” The worst question of all, “What if she ended up in foster and ended up like me?” I was in that massive moment of pain.

Once again, I made a decision, but this time I did a little better. I decided I need to quit three things, my job, drugs and my marriage. I had no idea how, but I was going to do it. I couldn’t do it for me, but I could do it for her. I decided, “I don’t know how to do this, but I know that when we need a mindset shift, we need mentorship.” I knew that was the basics of change. I knew that if I was going to do this, I didn’t want anyone to know I didn’t go to NA, Narcotics Anonymous, although I qualified. I was embarrassed. I thought nobody knew. I decided I’m going to hire a personal trainer. I hired Tom, the trainer. He was 6’2”, Italian, dark hair, dark eyes, full of muscles. I didn’t miss one single session. I was highly motivated to make all of my training sessions. A miracle happened, for the first time I got compliments for being strong, not skinny, and for eating right, not for not eating at all. Everything started to shift. He said to me, “Holley, you’re good at this working out thing. I think you should be a personal trainer.”

Within four months of meeting each other, Tom, the trainer and I opened up our own fitness studio. I trained with the women and he trained the men. It was an instant success, “I’ve made it. I shifted my business. I’m clean, I’m taking care of myself.” Being in the health industry after using for ten years, it saved my life. My route of getting clean may not be right for everybody else, but it was my journey. It’s interesting, I really believe that our adversity is divinely designed to be our greatest victory. Inside, I was feeling good because I was helping women achieve confidence in their physicality, which had been a huge pain point for me. I still was missing something because I didn’t want anyone to know that six months prior, I was a “druggie.” I was embarrassed.

Constantly masked.

MLM 260 | Storytelling And Body Language
Storytelling And Body Language: Our personal story is one of the biggest tools we have for connection, to show our authority and to really stand out in a unique way.

I felt like I wasn’t the real me. I was hiding my story. It’s like you’re wearing armor when you hide your story. It’s like you’re carrying this wall that you don’t want anyone to see or penetrate. It’s heavy and it’s a lot of work. Not only can people not get in, but nothing can get out. Your light can’t shine. A little interesting thing happened. A little bit of my story came out with one of my clients, and I let her know what had happened. Although reluctantly, I was a little scared. She said, “I get it. You weren’t addicted to food like I was, but you were addicted to drugs. Addiction is an addiction, that’s why you have compassion.” I thought, “I never thought of that.”

When we share our story, people will make connections with their own stories that we can’t even possibly know are there. I started to share it with somebody else and then somebody else, then my business took off to the next level because there was this new level of authenticity, connection, trust. Stories are much easier to replay to a friend or a co-worker or someone you know. Facts and data are a little harder. We’re wired for story. My clients started sharing my story with their friends, their neighbors, and they started bringing me more clients. Our business went to a whole other level, all because I was sharing my story.

As everybody is reading this, my connection to your story is my addiction was work. My story is all about work and everyone that’s been on this show knows this story. I won’t go back into it. You’ve got to read to another show. I had my moment where things had to change and I had that divine download of, “This is not worth it.” We talk about that on this show quite a bit. Part of that is becoming a magnet for your clients through storytelling. You become a magnet. You can attract your clients. For me, my coaching is also for people to know that they don’t have to chase clients all the time. They can attract clients and that will save them time so they don’t have to work as much. When we’re talking about a mortgage or real estate, we’re heavy in business and heavy in the whole transaction of the thing, and we’re talking finance and stuff. I’m truly asking this, your story, is that too heavy for that kind of a situation?

Yes. You’ve got to use your own intuition and assessment of your connection and rapport with that client. The story you can tell and quite honestly should be telling is why you’re in that industry. Why does it mean something to you to help people find a home? Is it because you grew up without one? Is it because you lived your life in an apartment? Is it because you lived your life in a home and your parents lost it? Is it because you remember your mom always saying, “I wish I had this, I had that and a dream home,” and you wanted to help her fulfill that? What is it that is satisfying at a deep level for you, that you help people find their dream home? That is a huge opportunity to show your commitment and your heart. Why is it important to you? When I share my story about using drugs, it’s also a story about why the story is important to me. Also, that’s where the connection is. I share that I wasn’t my real self when I wasn’t sharing who I was.

That is key. The imposter syndrome, you’re not being yourself. You wonder why you can’t get more sales. You wonder why you can’t attract more clients and other things. You’re walking around that armor around you. I have a client that had so much armor on her. It wasn’t even funny. I said, “We’re not going to take it off. We’re not going to scare you. We’re going to poke little holes in it.” I know I’m going down a rabbit hole, but I want to share this and how it works because her story was that her daughter has autism. Her daughter is 22 years old. Her daughter still lives with her. She doesn’t want anybody to know because she doesn’t want to be perceived as being weak. She used to work at ICE for the government. She’s this ATF person and she’s a gun-toting chic who made raids and all that stuff.

Tough, strong, warrior energy.

She’s afraid to show this other side that’s weak and whatever. It’s not. It’s the compassion that needs to shine through. We started poking little holes in it. She posted that she’s growing her team again. She was going to get out of the business when I was coaching her. We were able to poke little holes to the point where she said, “This is silly, take it off.” It made all the difference in the world. I wanted to hone in on that to say that it is important in business to be vulnerable. You can do it through a story rather than bragging.

The beautiful thing about sharing a story is now you have these two bookends or these two pillars. You have credibility and vulnerability. Why don’t people share their story? They don’t want to be vulnerable. If all you’re doing is sharing your success stories, it can come across as inauthentic, it can come across as being bragging, boasting, and those are important, but we need that balance so that we can say, “You are that human element.” We want to do business with people that we know, like and trust. There’s no faster way to get there than by sharing a story that has some vulnerability. Let me preface that a little bit with what story to tell and what not to. We don’t share a story that hasn’t been healed. I say, “You don’t reveal what hasn’t been healed.” Tell that story to a friend, a coach, a coworker, build up the confidence and watch how people respond to you with this open arms, open heart. You don’t want to be sharing your vulnerable story while you’re in tears and crying. That may not be the best.

Our adversity is divinely designed to be our greatest victory inside. Click To Tweet

I’m going to be honest about this. I don’t know if you remember at New Media Summit, which is where we met. I’ve told my story hundreds of times on stage, and it does affect me. That particular day, I only had 1.5 minutes. Each of us only had 1.5 minutes to tell a story. I got choked up. There are times when I’m on stage, when that same exact story chokes me up.

Being choked up and falling apart are two different things.

I had to take a breath. I had to blot a couple of tears that were coming down.

That’s showing your humanity and your heart, and that’s okay. The point where it’s not okay is where the audience feels like they need to take care of you. It’s showing that you’re human, you have feelings. I shared something brand new. There are many levels to my story. The story I shared with you, I’ve shared hundreds of times on stage and podcasts. The first time I shared it, it was emotional for me. I was in tears and I did it with friends who could hold space for me. Each time then, it gets easier and easier.

There are two other levels to that story that are deeper and that still have shame around it. One of them I’m starting to share. I shared a new level of that story for the first time on a podcast. I got a little emotional, and that’s okay. It’s tender. There’s another level to that story that I’m not sharing because it hasn’t been healed. We need to have some discernment over what parts to share and what not to share. As you begin to share your story, it will naturally unfold. I would love to share the five phases of storytelling. I’d like to give a little structure for that.

I heard the rhythm, the pace, I heard a lot of different things in there because I’ve been exposed to this for a while. Please do that for our audience so that they can clearly develop their story.

You can craft your own story. This is something that I teach my clients. As I share all these, you’ll be thinking, “Where is that in her story? Where could that be in your story?” There are five steps. The first step is the call. You’re being called to something. It is a call to step up or a call to adventure. In my story, the call is when my boss tells me I’m fat, even though I’m a size four. I’m being called to see the world and see myself in a different way and to go on an adventure of trying to be something different for love and acceptance. The second step is the pit. In my story, the pit is when I’m walking in and I find my daughter holding my drugs. It’s a life-threatening situation, not just for me but for my loved ones. The pit is when you have that low moment. It’s a low moment when you don’t know what the answer is, you don’t have a clue. Something is happening in your external world or your internal world, or both where you feel low. At this moment, oftentimes there’s no one there for you.

The third step is the breakthrough moment. For most of my clients and the stories that I’ve heard, for most experts, the pit and the breakthrough moment can be side-by-side, moments from each other. Sometimes, there’s a pit and a little breakthrough and another pit and a breakthrough. Sometimes it can do this. In my breakthrough moment, there are two. One is when I decide to change my life. I don’t expect my husband to change. It’s me, I’ve got to change. It’s those three things that I changed. No drugs, leave my marriage, quit my job. That’s a huge breakthrough moment because I’m leaning into faith and trust. It’s not fake it until you make it. It’s faith it until you make it.

MLM 260 | Storytelling And Body Language
Storytelling And Body Language: We tend to trust people a little bit more when we can see more of their body because your body is a complete communication system.

The other aspect is when someone comes on your journey to support you and help you with that breakthrough. For me, it was Tom the trainer. For you, it might be a coach, it could be a client, and it could be someone you reach out to. They support you and give you new insights into how to handle this thing that you don’t know how to do. The fourth step is what did you do to climb out of that pit? I very much see it as a rollercoaster. You come out of the rollercoaster, you go down and then the first time you’re coming back up a little bit, and I call this your high-value content. What did you do to get out of the pit? Here’s where you shared your lessons and your learnings with the audience. I typically recommend that there is no more than three because it becomes 1, 2, 3, too many. What are the steps that you did to get out of that situation? I see it, I imagine it as, “I’m in the pit and someone’s throwing me a rope. How do I climb out?”

The fifth step is the pinnacle. Pinnacle means the top, it’s victory. You’ve gone from the pit to the pinnacle. You’re on top of the world. In my story, I’ve quit drugs, I’m healthy, I feel good about my body. I’m helping other women feel good about their bodies. I’m healing myself physically, mentally, emotionally, and I’m a healthy mom. I’m someone that can be there for my daughter. There’s still a part where I feel like I’m not sharing my whole story. In my pinnacle part, I go searching for gurus to help me. How do I craft my story? I feel like I’m meant to go out and take stages to teach about health and fitness.

As I start learning from the best storytellers in the business about storytelling, I find that I have a new love. I’m falling in love with experts and entrepreneurs. People have these incredible stories. I’ve heard, you would feel as though each and every person is a superhero. I have clients that have died and come back, been told they have a terminal illness and healed themselves, gone through tremendous trauma and had the strength to keep persevering, incredible stories. That’s when I pivoted away from health and fitness and said, “I’m meant to help experts and entrepreneurs craft their story.” If you would’ve told me when I was in my pit, “You’re going to be out there. You’re going to be telling millions about this.” I would have said, “You’re crazy. There is no way I want anyone to know that I ever did drugs, especially as a mom.” I was ashamed.

That is your new call. You realized, “Now, I have a new calling, a new adventure that I’m going to go on.” You’re going through the process again for the deeper. Is it the Deception movie when they go five levels deep?


It’s like your own deception. It’s like, “I’m at the apex, but there’s a deeper story here, so now I’ve got another calling. I’m going to go deeper.” We don’t know how many levels everyone would go, but be aware of that. That first breakthrough might not be your last.

It’s important to show the audience, which is a great question, is this too heavy for the real estate industry? Is this too heavy to tell a story like that? The key is this. As long as you take them in the pit, you want to take them twice as high in the pinnacle. We all want to get to the end of the story where it’s a victory, they fall in love, and they persevere. The hero saves the day. You want to bring your audience up. You never let them stay in that low area too long. You don’t spend too much time talking about that pit. It won’t feel too heavy if you do that. Those are my best storytelling tips and techniques.

There are times when I’m talking about my pit onstage and depending on what I’m receiving from people or my timeline, I’ll hang in there, make it a little more in the pit. I’m going to dig. I don’t superficially skim across it, pretend like it didn’t hurt, settle in there a little bit to help people understand my true pain. What you’re saying is decide what the level of that pit will be for whoever you’re talking about as it relates.

If you're not turned on, you're not going to turn anyone else on. Click To Tweet

You bring up a good point about digging them and letting them feel my pain. There’s something that we have in our brain called mirror neurons. Mirror neurons are part of our brain that scientists have found that when we are watching someone do an activity or feel an emotion, our mirror neurons are connecting with theirs as if what they’re doing, we’re doing it too. If you’re onstage or a virtual stage sharing your story and you gloss over it as if it’s no big deal, your audience is going to feel it’s no big deal. I wanted to bring up that there’s scientific backing for that. That’s a hypnotic part of what we do.

It’s interesting because I was doing something not too long ago. I’ve been in lots of summits and stuff, and I don’t even remember where it was, but I was saying to someone, “I didn’t tell that story about my dad having a shotgun to my mom’s head. Instead what I did is I went over and blah, blah, blah.” That’s a perfect example like, “Wait, what? I don’t want to talk about that. I want to talk about this.” To your point, in that particular case, I would have been better off not even saying that because if I’m not going to go someplace where someone wants to have information about that, they’re left wondering.

That’s what we call an open loop. An open loop is when we’re talking, we bring something up and the audience is waiting for you to give us a happy ending or close that loop. You could, it depends on how you’d want to use it like, “If you’d like to know more about that story, click here.” You could use it as a call to action or, “Meet me at the back of the room, and I’ll sign one of my books and share a little bit more about that story with you.” You could use it, but the idea is to be aware that if something is outside of our awareness, it’s outside of our control. Now you know, “If I bring that up, how can I use that to benefit my audience and create a deeper connection?”

That’s important for everyone who’s reading this to know that as well. I want to move along to the body language. I’ve had a body language strategist on this show a couple of years ago, a dear friend of mine. I had her on the show because we were talking about what you can do when you enter a room and when you’re doing networking. We’re not talking about everyone looking at you in this little square box that we call Zoom. We’re all going to be doing this. Even before the pandemic came in, we were all doing this because a lot of us were having meetings, having podcasts, but particularly for mortgage lenders, I want to talk specifically with them. A lot of realtors meet their clients. To an extent now, realtors are meeting their clients virtually. Mortgage lenders have always done it. They will continue to have conversations about finances with their clients via Zoom. Let’s talk about the strategies behind how to position ourselves from a body language while we’re on these calls to ensure that we have better conversions, better sales, happy clients, we make a connection, etc.

All of those things, excellent point. The first thing to remember is we want to show up in two ways. We want to show up that we’re a leader and we also want to show up in a way that is very connection-oriented. I’m going to give you a couple of techniques that you can use that are real and authentic, and something that people sometimes take for granted. The first thing is that leaders always take up more space vertically and horizontally in both directions. Even though we’re in this box, I want to encourage you to sit or stand a little bit taller than you normally would. When we sit, we do tend to concave, shoulders can round. We want to pull back a little bit beyond what might feel comfortable. That’s going to come across as being a little taller. Remember to take up more space in your area. What we see in leaders is that they do use hand gestures that extend beyond the T-Rex. The T-Rex is when your elbows are glued to your rib cage and you’re only moving from the elbow to the hand. We want to make sure that we move the elbows and we expand and make a few hand gestures that do extend beyond this little box. That’s number one, a little taller and take up more space.

I have a question about that. As I’m watching both of us, we’re in the center and we have space to the sides of us. There are a lot of people that are like this in a podcast. The audience has to watch on YouTube. Tell me about the people that are talking like this because I get them a lot.

Jen is showing up as what we call a closeup. If I was a photographer, she’s given us the headshot. It’s from the clavicle up. The other thing is trust. We tend to trust people a little bit more when we can see more of their bodies. Why? Your body has a complete communication system naturally. It’s one of your first communication systems. You would gesture to your mom, “Pick me up.” You might rub, “Owiee,” if you hurt yourself. This is our first communication system. One of the best things you can show is your palms. If you are coming close to your screen where it’s only from the clavicle bone up, you’re eliminating a wonderful opportunity to show more of your natural core, your core, your movement, and to show your palms. That’s why let’s say if someone says, “Stop, halt, the police.” We show our palms, “I have no weapons.” That’s what that means. It means, “I am a friend. I have no weapon.”

We are primed for this. Our reptilian brain, a little small part of our brain has been primed for this over 150,000 years of development as humans on the planet. When we were foraging for berries in the forest and we came across another caveman or cavewoman, the first thing we would look for, “Do they have a weapon? Where are their hands? Are they a friend or foe?” In your Zoom box, if you’re on stage or even one-to-one, immediately the first thing to do is to act as if you’re giving an air hug, “Hi, Jen. It’s great to see you.” We’re opening the arms. Even if you can’t see my hands onscreen, your brain knows what I’m doing. It knows that my palms are open and my hands are open.

MLM 260 | Storytelling And Body Language
Storytelling And Body Language: Always be curious and always be asking because our climate’s always changing.

That’s something that you can do to gain trust. I recommend this when you go on stage. The first thing is to open the arms, like a big air hug to the audience. Open your arms to your host if you’re doing a podcast. Open your arms to a client if you’re on Zoom, “It’s good to see you.” I have a friend that does this. She has a successful podcast, which is one of my best friends. She has this habit and she does it unconsciously. She’s a natural connector. When she sees you, she throws her arms open and says, “I’m happy to see you. Give me a hug.” There’s this warmth. You’re overcome by warmth. There’s no doubt in your mind that she’s happy to see you. It’s beautiful.

That’s how we have to do virtual hugs.

The virtual hug is much better than a virtual handshake. It doesn’t quite come across. It doesn’t work. The third thing that you can do is you want to give an authentic smile, a real smile. There are two different kinds of smiles. There’s a smile that happens from the mouth and there’s this smile that happens with your eyes and it’s an eye smile. It’s when you get little wrinkles on the sides, your eyes make it a little smaller, your zygomatic muscles, your cheek muscles are puffing up. That’s a true smile, a real smile when you’re happy to see someone. The only time it’s going to be hard is if you’ve had a little extra Botox, it’s going to be a while before we get some of that. You want to give that genuine smile.

Here’s a thing to watch for on the receiving end. If you are doing a Zoom meeting or you’re meeting with a client on Zoom, here’s your tip number four, the unconscious hello. It’s when someone is genuinely happy to see you and they can’t hide it. They don’t even know they’re giving you the cue. Here’s what it is. It’s a quick eyebrow flash. It’s a flash like, “Jen, it’s good to see you.” The eyebrows go up a little bit. What’s happening there is when we see someone or something that brings us pleasure, we want more of it. The neuro system in the body opens to receive more. I love to count how many unconscious hellos I get when I go to the grocery store.

Especially now because everybody is wearing a mask. All you’ve got to do is read what’s going on with their eyes.  

A real true smile, you will be able to detect even if you’re wearing a mask. You see it in the eyes. With the unconscious hello, you’ll see with the eyebrow flash. It’s not a cheesy one. Let me go to the other extreme. It’s not like Joey from Friends who was like, “Hey, baby. How are you doing?”

It’s like a surprise eyebrow look.

It’s fun to do that and count when you’re at the store because it will tell you how approachable you are. There is something on a scale. You can go from A to F, Approachable to Formal. Formal means you’re a less approachable, less warm. Approachable is very approachable. If you get lots of eyebrow flashes, many unconscious hellos, you’re on that day. You’re approachable. It’s knowing, “How do I want to be perceived approachable or formal or somewhere in between?” It’s a great way to read that.

  Curiosity leads to wisdom. It leads to connection. Click To Tweet

With all the virtual stuff that we’re on, I’m going to be on a webinar with 100 people that are coming that have signed up for this webinar that I’m doing. Now, I’m giving them all the screen and the body language. As a coach, I’m on screen with my students a lot. I’m trying to read them, “Where’s their energy level? Where are they at? Are they ready to receive information? Do they feel overwhelmed? Are they in the game? Are they ready to go? Do they have their notes? Are they leaning forward?” We could go 1,000 rabbit holes for that. Was it 4 tips or did you have 5?

If I had a fifth one, it would be around your emotions. A lot of people get ready for their Zoom meeting, they’ve got their lights on, and they’ve got a little drink with them. They turned off their phone. They’re preparing their external environment. Are you preparing your internal environment? Are you turning on you? If you’re not turned on, you’re not going to turn anyone else on. I’m talking about enthusiasm, passion for your message. There are four characteristics of influence. If you can turn these on in yourself, you will become highly influential and you will have the characteristics of leadership. Not just formal leadership, I mean real leadership where people want what you got. I would ask you to also measure, are you seeing this for fun in Jen and myself?

Number one is curiosity. Curiosity to inquire, to ask questions, to be curious about somebody else, “Have you ever done this? What do you think about that?” Not just about yourself, but to be about others. Curiosity leads to wisdom. It leads to the connection as you get to know each other. Are you curious or are you sitting back and letting other people feel that body language? Number two is playfulness. Playfulness, especially as an expert, if you are playful in the delivery of your information, your content or whatever it is you’re sharing, it lights up more of your brain so that it lights up like a Christmas tree, which then will fire the mirror neurons in the person that you’re talking with on a virtual stage like this. If we’re more lit up in our mirror neurons, then we’re more engaged.

We’re receiving more information too.

Some of this may seem like common sense, but it’s not common practice. Number three is having the quality of resilience or persistence, not giving up. In this time and in this climate with everything that’s going on, there’s a tendency for people to feel beaten down or, “Should I keep going?” We talk about pivoting, don’t stop, pivot, create a bridge, and find new ways to connect with clients, to create income. That resilience and that persistence, we admire that in people.

Number four is my favorite. Number four is being victorious. Being victorious means that you act as if you’ve won the race even before you start. You’re like, “I got this. I don’t know what I’m doing right now, but I’m going to have fun. I’m going to be playful. I’m going to be curious and I’m going to keep going.” In that sense, you’re victorious. In my story, I was victorious. I didn’t give up. I didn’t throw in a towel. I didn’t say, “I’m going to succumb to this. I’m going to be more for my daughter and continue.” Be victorious. When people see that in your story, in your body language, it transmits. Let’s talk about how you transmute or share your victorious in your body language. There’s an interesting study that was done. When people feel victorious, let’s say they won a race, they typically throw their hands up and their heads up.

It’s like when they run through a ribbon.

Even people that are blind do it. There’s a sense of reaching up and throwing your hands up. If you come to a point in your story where you’re victorious, or you want to communicate victory, you can have those hands up. You’re showing leadership, you’re taking up more space both vertically and horizontally, so that’s a way to communicate that you’re victorious.

MLM 260 | Storytelling And Body Language
Build Your Tribe: Finally… Discover How to Utilize Social Media to Build Your Tribe and Grow Your Business

This is perfect now in this pandemic because what I’ve been teaching, I’ve been using the victim versus the victor, “Don’t be the victim, be the victor. Don’t be a worrier, be a warrior.” That’s what brings to mind the victorious and the resilient. Be a true warrior. Don’t give up. This is okay. People are attracted to that because they want to be that person. That’s why we love movies where everything’s going great, then it’s awful then it’s great again. We want to share in that victory. Movies that don’t end that way, we walk out going, “That was a terrible movie.”

It’s like Gladiator. It was such a movie of the warrior and beaten down and not giving up. It’s a beautiful movie of success in that arena of being victorious and not giving up. We all have that. Those movies that model our own life. Many of us are going through ups and downs now. What we know for sure about the human spirit is we are designed to thrive. You will find a way.

Your story reminds me of the story with Meg Ryan where she was an alcoholic. That reminds me of that movie. She was victorious in the end, which was good. I’m saying that that story took me to another story so I can relate even more. I thought that was fantastic. I have the last question for you. What is motivating you? Are you listening to podcasts? Are you reading books? If you are, what are you doing to stay motivated not because of the pandemic, but generally? What motivates Holley?

I love to learn what other people are doing in my industry, in the area of storytelling and body language, to stay current to make sure that I’m sharing information that might be a little different than other people. I do love podcasts. One of my favorites is Build Your Tribe by Chalene Johnson. She does a Quick Tip Tuesday, and just fifteen minutes, you can get some information on what you do on social media. Those are some of my favorites. Also, continuing to ask my clients, “What do you need now? How can I create that for you? How can I step up?” To never assume that I know what they need but to always be curious and asking because our climate is always changing.

That’s important, especially in real estate and mortgages. It’s obvious the problem is I need a new house. The problem is I need money because I don’t have all the cash to pay for it. We get that. It’s finding the deeper sense to get out of the transaction and get into something that attracts clients and you can grow your business even more. You have a gift for everybody, what is the gift?

The gift is I have compiled fifteen of the hottest hand gestures that you can use for a meeting, dating, relating, business, fun and profits. There are also five hand gestures to never use. I’ve positioned it so that you’re moving towards something that will allow you to have some deep connection and have fun. You’re also moving away from a few mistakes that you may be making that you don’t even realize that you’re making.

If you’ve been reading for a long time, you know me, I love to learn. I love pulling stuff in and learning it. This will make my reticular activator go off all week long. I hope that I can make it a habit. That’s a key thing is making this a habit is saying, “Don’t dig.” I know one of the things that you talk about and we won’t share it, we’re going to keep it all a secret, but one of the things that my husband does that drives me nuts is one of the mistakes. I corrected myself of that years ago because I couldn’t stand it. My mom used to do it to me. She used to yell at me and do it. That’s a whole story right there. She used to do that to me. Because of it, I’m taken back that anybody who does this one gesture, I see them as a negative authority figure.

Sometimes, we can use body language thinking that it’s a leadership body language. When in fact it’s creating the fact. That’s what we call a push back. A pure authoritarian leadership doesn’t create a following and creates pushback. There’s so much more good stuff we could go into.

What we know for sure about the human spirit is that we are designed to thrive. We will find a way.   Click To Tweet

If someone wants to get a hold of you, Holley and they want you to help them write a story, or they want you to help them with body language or speak at their company or their company sales rally, or a conference that they know this would be powerful for. How do they get a hold of you? What is the best way?

It would be an absolute honor and a privilege to be able to support you, your team or your company with storytelling as well as body language on all of life stages. You can find me at I also have a Facebook group if you want to connect with me, ask me some questions. I have hours of binge-worthy content where you can start now on boosting your charisma, your leadership, your influence and your storytelling. That is Shine on Stage, my Facebook group.

I love that group. I’m in that group. I’ve been in that group for almost a few years now since we met. I’ve taken little tips and tidbits. It’s hard as a speaker because we learned many things from many different people that we could walk on the stage and be a robot, “I have to do this. I had to do that. I can do this.” You take these little pieces and you make them a small habit and then you get another piece and you make it a habit so that you can try to improve everything about what you’re doing. I’m saying this in the context of meeting with a client who is afraid of this whole process of buying a house. Meeting with someone who’s afraid of mortgages, “What’s going to happen? What if I lose my job?” All of these things are you being on that stage and shining just as Holley is saying that. Holley, thank you for being with us. I appreciate it. That’s a gesture by the way these days. You have to watch the video to know what we’re doing.

I see you. Thank you for coming on. I appreciate it. Everybody, if you want to level yourself up and move up and enhance what you’re doing, take everything that we’re giving you in this show and put it into play. That’s what I’m all about. It’s all about the action. I want to say thank you for reading and please don’t forget to give us a great rating and give us a review. As always, if there’s a topic that you’d like to have discussed that hasn’t been discussed in this show over, reach out to me, I will be happy to explore that topic for this show. Holley, thank you for joining me.

Thank you. You’re an amazing host. Thank you for making me feel welcome.

Thank you. You are welcome. We’ll catch you next time.

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About Holley Mignosi

MLM 260 | Storytelling And Body Language

Recognized as one of the top “Embodiment Coaches” Holley Mignosi has helped over 250,000 “Embody” their message with passion and dynamic stage presence.

Speaker, Speaking Coach, Storyteller, and Body Language Expert, Holley is also the CEO of The Dynamic Dream Life Group, INC. She helps speakers, experts, and leaders master the art of hypnotic body language and neuroscience of charismatic communication so that they can maximize their influence, eminence, and income on ALL of life’s stages.

As the former owner of both a top modeling/acting agency and a fitness studio she has been teaching people how to super charge their confidence, charisma, body language, and physicality since 1995.

She is a certified Neurolinguistic Practitioner and holds certifications in Conversational Hypnosis and Hypnotic Presentation Skills through the San Diego Hypnosis Institute.

On weekends you can find her gardening, at the beach with her family, or weight-lifting with her husband. Holley believes that our body is a gift and when we empower our body, we empower our life.

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