Entrepreneurs and business owners often have no problem letting people know just what we think, how we feel, as well as what we want in life.
To be honest, since the advent of social media, people have no shortage of things to say to the world, myself included. The most obvious form of communication we think of is verbal, followed by written, but there is another form that most people forget about. This is most commonly known as body language and many studies claim it to be just as important (if not more so) than the first two –at least when it comes to in-person communications.
Body language is easy to spot when exaggerated or on display. Just think about the last time your significant other gave you a look that spoke a thousand words. Or when you walked into an office and knew instantly that a co-worker was totally pissed-off about something just from the vibe they were putting off. All day long both consciously and subconsciously we pick up on clues left by others that give us indications as to their state of mind and/or true feelings. In addition, we also leave clues that speak to what we are thinking and feeling –often without even realizing it.
In last week’s blog, I wrote about how you can define and refine the skills you are lacking to become a better negotiator. Improving your ability to analyze the body language of others as well as control your own body language is a perfect example of one way you can improve your negotiation skills.
When most people take an interest in learning about non-verbal communication, they generally do it for analysis purposes and this is great, but I encourage you to start by seeing body language as a two-way street. Strong self-control is one of the most valuable skills a person can have. We’ve all heard it said that you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression and really, given that it takes all of seven seconds to form a first impression, I’d say it’s pretty important how you represent yourself during a first encounter. If the study of body language interests you, start with what you can control directly and hone-in on your own body language.
Here are some helpful tips for how to communicate non-verbally at an initial sales meeting or business encounter:
- Prior to the meeting, think hard about those first seven seconds and visualize how you would like to ultimately present yourself. Ensure you practice the material you are going to present to include body posturing.
- Plan your setting right down to the seating and/or table selection. Be on time, stand up as you greet, make eye contact and offer a firm handshake. Work to keep your shoulders back, your hands relaxed and your expression open and engaged.
- A quality presentation needs great content and great delivery; ensure you know your material inside-out and that your tone, language and energy align with what you feel would put your counterpart(s) at ease.
Remember, your goal from start to finish is to make those around or across from you as comfortable as possible so they will be encouraged to reach an agreement –and not just any agreement, but the one you’re gunning for.
And now, it’s time for some application –so here’s my challenge for you:
As you go about your day today, I want you to make a conscious effort to tune-in to your body language. Practice saying things with just your eyes, pay attention to your posture and the vibe you put off in different scenarios. Heck, give a go at trying to communicate a specific emotion non-verbally and see if you can elicit a response from someone.
Lastly, if you want to learn how to read what others have to say through their body language, ensure you don’t miss Part 2 of Body Language: A Two-way Street, Sign Up Here.