Are you aware of your most powerful asset?
We’re often too worried about the hard skills or get caught up in what we should say—and not enough on HOW we say things. You can achieve extraordinary results by integrating body language into your daily business communication. It is a powerful tool and the reason is simple:
In today’s world, your actual product or service can easily be substituted by a few clicks online. This, however, doesn’t count for the unique, reassuring tone of your voice which connects you to your prospects and clients. Equally, it doesn’t count for the firm handshake you welcome him or her with, for the encouraging smile that makes him or her feel comfortable.
There is much being said about body language. The range of that topic, however, is much bigger than the “power pose” propositions you are bombarded with. We aimed for a deep, holistic, unique approach that covers aspects which are essential, yet not featured enough in the commonplace debate.
The perfect pitch
Just imagine: You are waiting in front of the elevator and suddenly you feel a grip on your shoulder. You turn around and you face a young man. He looks you in the eye with his upper eyelids raised, then he lowers his gaze and starts talking about what his business is all about…
What do you think? Is this a good starting position to build up a flourishing business relationship? Probably not! However, this example illustrates how important it is to include body language in pitching.
As you see, every tiny detail counts. You should approach the person you want to talk to from the side. Don’t frighten people by sneaking up from behind! Wouldn’t you also find this approach by another person alarming?
Don’t forget to start with a handshake! The power of touch lifts you and your counterpart on a completely different level. Try to connect at a level that is comfortable for both of you. This also applies to your gestures and poses during your talk: Show your hands. This conveys trustworthiness: You have nothing to hide.
But these aspects are just the beginning: What aspects would you consider when it comes to the pitch of your voice? Your facial expressions? Your clothing style?
No more awkward networking
While attending a busy networking event, a young woman approaches you. While you’re in the middle of a conversation with someone else, she stops by your side and chimes in about her own startup which designs luxury gloves. After awhile, when you reluctantly start telling her about your own business, she lets her gaze wander over your shoulder and begins scanning the room for other people.
Networking doesn’t have to be this uncomfortable! Use your body to express a genuine interest in your counterpart and make it a rewarding experience for both of you. A slightly angled pose works well as it’s not too confrontational and enables the mutual sharing of knowledge and experiences.
Make it easy for people to approach you by providing them with an authentic and welcoming smile. Furthermore, a brief eyebrow flash is a subtle but powerful invitation cue! Just be careful it doesn’t come off as flirtatious, so you may want to practice this in the mirror prior to using it.
Have you ever thought about the best way to find an approachable person which usually leads to a good conversation? The answer is really simple: It is promising to initiate a conversation when people just picked up their food or drink. In this situation, they are most probably in the right mood to deeply engage in a conversation. Think about yourself – how does it feel being drawn into a talk when you are heading for the food line, restrooms, or the exit?
Finding the right team members
You’re interviewing a candidate for a new position. At a certain point, the applicant starts mumbling and stuttering a bit. You notice that he starts breathing faster, but you don’t pay much attention to it, maybe that’s just how he breathes. When his upper body freezes and he completely gets stuck in his “um’s”, you relieve him and change the topic.
Stop. You are rejecting important information! Information that could prove essential for your business. After all, you are looking for a candidate you want to work with for a long period of time. Therefore, pay attention to his body language. It will reveal many aspects you wouldn’t be able to find out about otherwise. If you know the universal micro expressions, this is an opportunity to read the candidate’s face! If you want to learn more about micro expressions, we talk about them in our ebook on body language.
Most importantly: Use the power of silence. If you don’t control the flow of your conversation, the power will be left to your counterpart. And you should be curious about what he might offer you. So, when your candidate has answered one of your questions, try leaning back, nodding, and wait for a couple of seconds. Your interviewee will likely fill this silence with more detailed and deeper information.
Can you interpret his nonverbal signs? What does it mean when an applicant constantly rubs his legs with the palms of his hands? Is every moment of hesitation a sign of dishonesty?
Those are questions that matter. After all, the stakes are high when it comes to finding a right and successful match for your company!
Connect with your customers!
A few minutes after you entered a shop, a staff member hastily approaches you. Amidst your description of the service you are looking for, he interrupts you and hurries away. Puzzled, you decide to follow him and realize that this was what he intended you to do since he already awaits you with an impatient look on his face…
You wouldn’t go there a second time, right? This instance reveals how important it is to show your customers that you honestly care about them! As we have seen, the most important means in doing so is your body language.
A simple touch is powerful. Building this connection begins with a handshake. And even at this point, there are so many things to mess up on: How does it feel being confronted with a lax and sweaty handshake? What does this tell you about your counterpart?
Don’t fall into the same trap: Practice your firm and engaging handshake. Wipe your palms on your pants if you need to. Establish eye contact. Remember your client’s name and regularly use it during your conversation. This really uplevels your relationship.
But what are other aspects falling in that category? Have you ever heard about mirroring? What do you do when you realize your client seems to unhappy at a certain point during your conversation? Interpersonal conversation is invaluable for your business as for the most part, business is ultimately based on relationships.
Become a notorious negotiator!
During a business lunch, your customer reluctantly brings to the table a counter offer. He averts his eyes from your gaze and begins to play with his napkin…
Don’t open up a negotiation at the dining table. The reason is simple: Your brain loses blood flow during digestion which makes it hard to commit to a sale. This isn’t always true, but if you must negotiate during a meal, wait for a moment when your counterpart is relaxed and not eyeing his or her food.
Other than choosing the right time and place, there is much more to consider: What do you think about the physical position of your decision maker? As we have already learned, a slightly angled pose provides a good position to communicate. But beyond that there is another essential key:
Let them face the open room! As curious as this seems – it provides your counterpart with a feeling of ease and safety. People have a much harder time making a decision when they have to sit with their back to the room and are not able to see who is approaching them.
An equally important aspect is eye contact! What does it mean if your partner rubs his eyes? Is there something he doesn’t want to see? And what is your best strategy to deal with it?
As you see, body language plays a huge role in our business and personal relationships and is often not given enough attention. Learn more about body language and get lots of awesome nonverbal communication tips in Innovazing’s eBook “Mastering Body Language Tricks to Win More Business” and share your thoughts in the comments section!