I Want Your Body...Language

I Want Your Body ... Language

When it comes to using body language to your advantage in a business situation, many people think only of reading their prospect's body language as a quick gauge of how their presentation is going. This is being re-active in the use of body language. But what people very often neglect, and therefore don't practice, is the power of using body language pro-actively. If you were only to focus on your prospect's body language, there is always a good chance of misinterpreting, which could in turn lead to your own loss of confidence. If instead you take the lead in this unspoken aspect of your communications, you will be able to put your prospect at ease, create trust sooner and create a connection more easily. It's about projecting something with body language, and allowing your prospect to mirror it back to you, without them being consciously aware of it. This is a very powerful sales tool that you will definitely want to add to your repertoire. Here are some very simple ways to start;

Stand up straight and tall - Good posture gives a very strong first impression and it psychologically conveys strength, solidity and confidence. It also conveys honesty because the heart chakra (chest area) is ‘open' when you're standing up straight. Before you've even said a word, you are already presenting yourself, and being received, as a strong, confident and honest person

Practice your handshake - I cannot stress strongly enough the power of a good, firm handshake. Conversely, there is nothing that creates a more lasting negative impression than a wimpy, dead fish, no-grasp handshake... Seriously, it makes my skin crawl when I think of shaking hands with a person who doesn't actually grasp your hand. I've been in the business world for more years than I care to mention, and have met literally tens of thousands of people in my years as a recruiter. To this day, when I run into someone I haven't seen in a while, the first thing I remember about them is not where they work, not if I like them, but if they have a good or bad handshake. I'm not joking. The lasting impression your handshake makes is that strong. I'm sorry to say it, but women still seem to be guiltier of this than men. When you shake someone's hand, grasp it firmly and fully- no sideways curled-finger thing- you are not holding court with the queen, you are greeting a fellow professional. And yes, you actually do apply some pressure to your grasp. You are making a connection with another human. Honor that connection however brief it is.

Smile, smile, then smile some more - I don't mean grin like an idiot of course, but always be aware of having a positive, open expression on your face. Don't kid yourself by thinking it's not professional or that you can't smile when you're discussing ROI and market analysis. When you smile at someone they have a natural response to smile back, and when you've got them smiling they feel more open to you. Just as wimpy handshakes are my number-one pet peeve, my number-two has got to be people who don't smile when they talk. I just don't get it. It's not natural! I have recognized my own difficulty in talking to and working with people who do not naturally smile when they talk. There is something very uncomfortable in this for me- I get completely distracted by my fascination that this person's face somehow refuses to register positive emotion. This distraction prevents me from focusing on what that person is saying. I know I am not alone in this reaction.

Maintain lots of eye contact - Not just when you're being introduced, or when it's your turn to listen, but whenever you are able. Don't focus too hard on your notes, or on your visual aids for your presentation- you will convey the message that you haven't practiced, or that you are new to this and are not comfortable speaking from your own experience instead of your talking notes. A lot of people can hold eye contact well when they are listening, but as soon as they start to speak, their eyes are roving all over the room. It is critical to get yourself out of this habit- eye contact conveys trust and honesty. If you can only hold eye contact when your mouth is shut, but not while you're talking….what message do you think you're sending to your clients? Remember, the pro-active use of body language is a strong communication tool. Learn it. Know it. Be it.