This past Summer and Fall I volunteered with Greater Ashmont Main Street, mainly for their Farmer’s Market.
I frequently attended the Summer Coffee Hours hosted by Greater Ashmont Main Street, and, as you can see, my arms are crossed. This is pretty signficant, as according to Westside Toastmasters‘ Book of Body Language, Chapter 4:
Why Crossed Arms Can be Detrimental
Research conducted into the Crossed-Arms gesture showed interesting results. A group of volunteers was asked to attend a series of lectures and each student was instructed to keep his legs uncrossed, arms unfolded and to take a casual, relaxed sitting position. At the end of the lectures each student was tested on his retention and knowledge of the subject matter and his attitude towards the lecturer was tracked. A second group of volunteers was put through the same process, but these volunteers were instructed to keep their arms tightly folded across their chests throughout the lectures. The results showed that the group with the folded arms had learned and retained 40% less than the group who kept its arms unfolded. The second group also had a more critical opinion of the lectures and of the lecturer.
This type of test was conducted years ago with 1500 seminar attendees during a number of different lectures and produced almost identical results. These tests revealed that, when a listener folds his arms, not only does he have more negative thoughts about the speaker, but he is also paying less attention to what is being said. It is for this reason that training centers should have chairs with arms to allow the attendees to leave their arms uncrossed.
Yes…But I’m Just ‘Comfortable’
Some people claim that they habitually cross their arms because it’s comfortable. Any gesture will feel comfortable when you have the corresponding attitude; that is, if you have a negative, defensive or nervous attitude, folded arms will feel comfortable. If you’re having fun with your friends, folded arms will feel wrong.
Remember that with all body language, the meaning of the message is also in the receiver, as well as the sender. You may feel ‘comfortable’ with your arms crossed and your back and neck stiffened, but studies have shown that others’ reactions to these gestures is negative. So the lesson here is clear – avoid crossing your arms under any circumstances unless your intention is to show others you don’t agree or don’t want to participate.
You may feel arm-crossing is simply comfortable but others will think you’re not approachable.
Dorchester Bike & Brew 2017
At this particular event, I worked with this guy in the green shirt, where we placed the bicycles of attendees on these racks, and kept track of them. As such, I was located on the edges of the event, close to the Ashmont T Stop.
Because I am not really a party type of person, I was perfectly content volunteering as usual, because this doesn’t actually ruin my sense of fun or enjoyment I am likely to have. If I don’t trust people, for whatever reason, I’m less likely to drink for my own personal safety. Plus, I don’t really like beer that much.
Visit by Mayor Marty Walsh
On September 22nd, the Ashmont Farmer’s Market was visited by Mayor Marty Walsh.
Although this hadn’t been the last time I had seen the Mayor, as I previously attended the Imagine Boston 2030 Launch Party & Showcase on July 11th located at 555 Columbia Road in Upham’s Corner. This did, however, mark the first picture with him since 2013’s 3rd Ward 4 Ice Cream Social on Sunday, June 23rd, 2013 (picture can be seen in this post). Although I did not interact with the Mayor at this event, I did interact with his Chief of Staff Daniel Koh.