Body language changes with the situation. When you are giving a presentation, you are the one in control. Your body language should project a confident, professional image. Your posture and facial expressions show that you are handling the show.
The situation is different when you visit a client's office. You are entering the client's territory. This is heightened when you enter the inner sanctum of an office. The client is on home turf, and you are at a bit of a disadvantage because you don't know the territory. Here are 7 tips to project confidence in the client's territory:
1. If you arrive early and sit on the chairs or sofa in the reception area, be sure to stand up when the client greets you and you shake hands. Sitting down may send a message of lack of respect. As well, you always want to be at eye level when shaking hands, so you can make eye contact.
2. Be careful where you stand. Standing too close to a client is too intimate, but standing too far away can be viewed as impersonal. The best distance in North America is between 2 and 4 feet away. In some cultures people stand closer, and in other cultures they stand farther away. Take your cues from your customer.
3. Never have a more relaxed posture than your client. Remember your posture, and don't slump, especially when you sit down.
4. Be congruent. Make sure your body language and your words match.
5. The client's desk is intimate territory. Don't place any papers on it without asking permission, and don't put your briefcase or handbag on it either.
6. Display active listening techniques, such as nodding in agreement or cocking your head to show you are listening.
7. Watch the buyer's body language carefully. A buyer who adopts the steepling gesture may be coming to a decision. The gestures and comments the buyer made may indicate the decision the buyer is reaching.
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From Lynda Goldman, author of 30 books including How to Make a Million Dollar First Impression