Thursday, June 28, 2012
Lets talk Body Language
An interesting method for selling clients on you, your company and your services is to use nonverbal communication, subtle messages conveyed without words. These include posture, facial expressions, gestures, mannerisms and your appearance. People buy based on their senses, and everything that you can do to positively affect their senses can and will affect your ability to sell to them.
Psychologists claim that the impact you make on others depends on what you say (7%), how you say it (38%), and by your body language (55%). Since how you sound also conveys a message, 93% of emotion is communicated without actual words.
The master speaker, S.I. Hayakawa once commented that “In this era of television, image is more important than substance.” Some believe that Richard Nixon won the presidency because he was a master at using color to convey character. He wore a dark blue suit at a television debate in which the set background was light blue. The light blue background with Nixon in his dark blue suit produced an aura of honesty, integrity and sincerity. He won that election.
It’s often not what you say that influences others; it’s what you don’t say. The signals that you send nonverbally suggest attitude, understanding, empathy and ethics. The moment you meet a prospective client, they judge you by what they see and feel. The process takes less than 10 seconds but the impression is permanent. Whether you make or break a sale can literally depend on the silent signals that you send during this first contact.
It’s critical for entrepreneurs to understand and use body language. Once you know what to look for, you can literally read your client like a book. Court room trials could be decided quickly if the judge and jury could read body language. One group skilled in this technique are oriental business people. They are usually expert at recognizing and using nonverbal signals. This ability makes them formidable negotiators. Many entrepreneurs fail to recognize and use body language, although women are inherently better at sensing emotion and intent than men.
The human body can produce over 700,000 unique movements. These movements have been partitioned into about 60 discrete and symbolic signals and around 60 gestures. Knowing just some of these can help you communicate better. A nodding head can signal yes. Pointing two fingers at your eyes can mean “watch”. Running your fingers through your hair can indicate frustration. A smile or a grin is a universal signal for happiness. Likewise, crying suggests sadness or, in conjunction with a smile, extreme delight. However, some nonverbal signals have several meanings.
Crossed arms can indicate defensiveness, or simply a comfortable position. Touching the nose can suggest doubt in what the person is hearing. Or it could be a response to an itch or soreness from a recent cold. Likewise, an unbuttoned jacket can signify openness and cooperation. It could also be an overweight person trying to fit into an old jacket. The hitchhiking pose, arm extended with thumb pointed up, can give a negative message in other cultures. The key is that a nonverbal signal is not a complete message.
Watch for a pattern of signals that all have the same meaning. The body language should match the verbal expressions. It should also match the context of the situation. So look for body language in clusters of signals with common meanings. Once you understand body language, you can use your own voice and body to help make a sale.