Empathy, especially in a distributed work environment where people face various challenges. Empathy creates deeper connections and fosters engagement, leading to better work outcomes. For example, when we took our European camera operator to Japan for a movie project, he struggled initially due to cultural differences. We realized he felt overwhelmed and couldn’t communicate well, impacting his performance. Empathizing with him, we helped him navigate daily challenges, and he delivered excellent work once he felt understood and supported.

We are all competing in an attention economy. From pings and dings to blinks and rings, companies and content constantly compete for our limited time and attention. How do great leaders turn down the noise and tune in to the messages that matter most? What does it take to be heard above the noise? And how do we create communication that cultivates community and connectedness in a distributed, distracted world? To address these questions, we started an interview series called “Can You Hear Me Now?: Top Five Strategies Leaders Use to Diminish Distractions & Win in the Attention Economy.” As a part of this interview series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Kasia Wezowski.

Kasia Wezowski is the author of Language That Leads and a leading body language and micro-expressions expert. She and her husband, Patryk Wezowski, are founders of the Center for Body Language, the world’s number one body language training company for business people, with licensed representatives in over twenty countries. She and her husband have been featured on ABC, BBC, CBS, and Fox News; they publish articles in Harvard Business Review and Forbes; spoke at TEDx and Harvard University, and their educational videos on micro-expressions and body language on YouTube have more than 3 million views.

Thank you for making time to visit with us. Before we dig in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. What is one of your most memorable moments, and what made it memorable?

One of my most memorable moments was meeting my husband Patryk 13 years ago. What was supposed to be a business meeting ended up with us talking late till 2 a.m. in the morning. We met for the first time at my headquarters in Warsaw, Poland, and ended up having a lunch and dinner date the very same day. One thing that made our meeting special was the way I closed the door in his face when it was time to meet him. I had a sturdy leather door, and when I opened it after hearing a knock, Patryk was standing so close that I instinctively shut it when I saw him. The initial impression was intense. After a moment, I reopened the door. Though the interaction was awkward initially, it was love at first sight. From that moment on, we have been inseparable and have complemented each other as we continue to grow together.

What is the most unexpected twist in your career story, and what did you discover from your detour?

My journey started as a coach with a Master’s Degree in Psychology along with psychotherapy training. Soon, I started offering these coaching and therapy services and even trained people in non-verbal communication. However, the tides shifted when I discovered that I had a passion for filmmaking.

In an attempt to create a movie about coaching, we enlisted the help of experts such as Marshall Goldsmith, Marci Shimoff, Jack Canfield, and many others. Our aim was to make a documentary movie about coaching and also learn from the top coaches and see the behind-the-scenes of great teachers in action.

As things started falling in line, I realized I was good at putting a movie together, even if it meant that I would have to work on it for months. This is how I realized I loved directing, producing, and editing movies which I believe was a great detour and helped me use my creative skills in this world.

According to a recent Harvard Business School study, the most essential communication skill for leaders is the ability to adapt their communication style. How do you adapt your communication style?

The first crucial thing in adapting one’s communication style is to understand the context and background of the people you talk with. It is important to judge your surroundings and determine if they radiate positivity and optimism or negative emotions like frustration or anger. You also should be able to know how to read the environment and the context of the situation, a crucial skill for that is to be able to read body language and especially micro-expressions, the tiny movements of the facial muscles. These are directly related to the emotional part of the brain and never lie. So, if you can read those tiny signals from other people, this will help you to empathize with them and also to know what to say and how to talk with them. Superficial signs of agreement may not reflect the deeper feelings, so learning to read micro-expressions allows you to grasp the whole picture.

Clarity is critical as well. What lessons have you learned about how to communicate with clarity in our distributed world of work?

In our distributed world of work, it is crucial to help each other engage in a way that is the best for the work environment. This can be done by asking open questions, which help you learn exactly what your employees’ needs are. This also allows them to be creative and active while working at their peak performance. So, it is important to check what works for them. Also, we should have clarity about the bigger vision and the essence of what we need from our team as a part of the work environment.

Instead of having several ideas that are lost in conversation, it is important for a leader to guide their team in making decisions and taking specific actions. The final goal is to be able to deliver tangible results by setting dates and having a crystal-clear agenda.

Utilizing apps or online platforms to track progress can be beneficial. Checking in frequently with team members and maintaining a progress board facilitates preparation for the next steps. Each small step matters!

We often discover what works by experiencing what doesn’t. Tell us about a time when your communication didn’t lead to the desired results and what you learned from the experience.

Several years ago, we wanted to expand our reach in Japan and partnered with someone who had received a trainer certification from our body language master training. Given that he was trained by us, we hoped for the best results from him, and it did come true. When we arrived in Japan, we collaborated with several companies, and he aided us in delivering presentations and even helped translate everything from English to Japanese.

Things were going well. However, a few months later, we learned that he went behind our back and was hired by an organization that we were working with at the time. While he did take advantage of our connections, I realized that we didn’t give him a clear set of rules and what we were expecting from him in return for this collaboration, so he wasn’t obliged to stay loyal to us. So, what I learned is that it is important to have clear guidelines about what we are expecting and what we don’t want others to do.

What advice would you offer to other leaders who are struggling to have their messages heard and auctioned?

My first advice to them would be to stop focusing so much on themselves. As a leader, your goal is to connect with people, and that can only happen if your message solves their problem or if they can resonate with your message. So, leaders must focus more on the people who surround them to see what they need and understand what is essential to establish a connection.

Some ways to connect with people would be conducting mini-interviews with key employees in your company and considering their opinions. These employees represent a small fraction of your target audience and can serve as a crucial step to understanding people better.

What is also very important when you do that is to look at people’s body language, look at people’s micro expressions because this is the key to seeing what else is hidden there and when you see this honest smile and inspiration on the face, this is the message that they want to hear and they will be engaged with.

Leading a distributed team requires a different communication cadence and style from leading a team in person. What are five strategies any leader can deploy to improve communication and clarity when leading a distributed workforce? Please share a story or example for each of you can.

1-The first strategy is empathy, especially in a distributed work environment where people face various challenges. Empathy creates deeper connections and fosters engagement, leading to better work outcomes. For example, when we took our European camera operator to Japan for a movie project, he struggled initially due to cultural differences. We realized he felt overwhelmed and couldn’t communicate well, impacting his performance. Empathizing with him, we helped him navigate daily challenges, and he delivered excellent work once he felt understood and supported.

2-Secondly, in a distributed work environment, maintaining transparency is crucial for building trust and ensuring productivity. For online meetings, keeping the video on helps keep the employees engaged and prevents distractions. Providing the right work environment and resources empowers team members to excel. Transparency also prevents hidden challenges. One significant example that highlights the importance of transparency is when we once hired someone for a project who struggled with a particular task. However, instead of communicating this challenge, they tried to learn the skills from another source without our knowledge. Had we been aware of their difficulties and if they had been transparent with us, we could have easily reassigned the tasks to play to their strengths and delegated the part they were less skilled at to someone else. In an office setting, we might have noticed their struggles and addressed the issue promptly, but in a remote working arrangement, this kind of situation can easily go unnoticed.

3-The third strategy is discipline, inspired by Marshal Goldsmith’s approach. He had someone call him daily to inquire about various activities in his life, such as sleep hours, contacting his children, writing, reading, and learning. He tracked everything in an Excel file to measure his monthly progress, identifying areas for improvement. Discipline helps us achieve our goals, especially in online and diverse work settings, holding us accountable and boosting motivation as we witness tangible results over time.

4-Strategy number four is positivity, which is crucial in maintaining a healthy work environment. Complaining and negativity can be easy traps to fall into, but staying positive about your work and the activities you do is important. In our movie production, we have a point about positivity in our agreements that states that we will all try to stay positive about whatever we do or see and value it. Moreover, it is important not to say negative comments or gossip about anything behind other people’s backs. In case there is any conflict of values, we have given people the choice to come to us to mediate the situation. This helps enhance the positivity in one’s work environment.

5-Number five is about finding purpose in our work. Each of us has a deeper purpose and meaning. If we can feel the purpose of our work, we will do it more diligently. I remember in primary school when mathematics got more complex, I wasn’t very engaged in the classes because I didn’t see the purpose of just doing the calculations. While history, biology, or poem writing made sense to me, mathematics didn’t. It was when I started teaching Spanish and made my first salary, I realized the importance of mathematics for calculation. I found its purpose. For a leader, it is important to help people find their purpose and let them not be lost in small tasks. Establishing an open communication channel helps everyone feel better and feel understood while driving better engagement.

What are the three most effective strategies to diminish distractions when there is so much competition for attention?

1-Strategy number one would be to focus on one activity at a time. While multitasking has become the trend today, studies have shown that it isn’t as effective as we assume it to be. It is better to focus on one activity at a time, finish it and move on to the next. If we don’t, it can create a loop of unfinished tasks that pile up with time, and we end up feeling that it is futile to pitch in so much effort. So, when you focus on one activity at a time, you can stay present with this activity until you finish, and then you can have a free open mind to do another activity.

2-My second strategy is to restrict digital media access, especially social media, and also browsing on our phones or computers because it’s easy to start browsing on the internet, even if this is for some important information. Browsing on the internet for hours triggers our brain to release dopamine which is as addictive as heroin. It rewards you with a feel-good emotion when you watch pictures, read, or learn something new on social media. So, it is important to dedicate special moments of your day to social media or other browsing activities and spend the most creative time of your work offline or just limited to the tools that you need to do your task.

3- Strategy number three is to divide your work into working blocks dedicated to certain activities such as reviewing contracts or making phone calls, or answering emails, and in such a way, you have more structural organization. You can also see what works best for you in the morning and what works best for you in the afternoon and split those tasks accordingly.

What is one skill you would advise every leader to invest in to become a better communicator?

The one skill that I would advise every leader to invest in to become a better communicator is learning body language and reading micro-expressions. By being able to read nonverbal signs, you can create a much deeper connection because you understand what people think and feel, so they cannot lie to you anymore about what is their state of mind or what is their work progress. You would be able to have more transparent communication, and also it creates more integrity because you need to be true to yourself as well to read other people well.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

In our documentary film, “The Earned Life,” we explored the remarkable journey of Marshall Goldsmith, the world’s leading leadership thinker, who wrote the foreword for my book, “Language That Leads.” The essence of his wisdom is embodied in two key principles.

Firstly, Marshall emphasizes the importance of working and collaborating with great clients. If one wishes to be successful and get their message to the right people, the key is to work with great clients and thought leaders that inspire millions. Instead of dedicating time to building one’s popularity on social media, the key is to work with people that already have great influence and have changed lives.

Secondly, staying on trend with new and emerging technologies is crucial. While social media is still relevant, there is a new king in the world of technology, AI (Artificial Intelligence). It offers immense opportunities and has already created a large-scale positive impact on society. Although AI cannot ever fully replace human intelligence and emotions, it surely has the potential to aid and enhance our work.

With these two elements combined, one can get their message out there to millions to inspire a big audience.

How can our readers stay connected with you?

You can connect with me on https://wezowski.com at or find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. My new book, Language That Leads, is available now.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to experience a leadership master at work. We wish you continued success and good health!