Body language can reveal so much. Understanding how to read body language can increase your small business success.
Imagine meeting a client who says he is very happy to meet you. But he lowers his eyes, and turns his shoulders away from you. Do you think you'll be getting much business? Unlikely. His body language doesn't support his words.
Reading body language is fascinating, because you can learn so much more about a person by watching them. And when our words and actions don't match, we tend to believe what we see.
Here are 5 ways to use body language to increase your small business success:
1. Be congruent. Your actions and words have to match. If you say you are happy to meet someone, be sure to smile and make eye contact. You may think you are doing this, but you may be distracted and fail to really connect.
2. Show people you are paying attention by keeping your body relatively still. Shifting back and forth or fidgeting sends the message that you are bored or distracted. You may be unconsciously sending the signal that you want to end the conversation.
3. For best communication, keep your face open to others. That means soft but sustained eye contact, a natural smile, and a face that reflects your emotions. When you face others directly and allow them to share your emotions, they will allow you to share in theirs.
4. Observe your clients’ body language to understand them better. How is this person reacting to you? Is your client facing you squarely, or turned partly away, giving you the cold shoulder? Is your client making eye contact, or scanning papers on his desk? Does you client look at her watch every few minutes? Perhaps she is anxious about being late for a meeting, or uninterested in your presentation. Stop and find out the problem.
5. Match their energy. Is your client a fast-paced person who talks and moves quickly? Speed up a bit to match their pace. Is your client a slower, more methodical person? Slow down a little, or you'll make him feel anxious.
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From Lynda Goldman, author of How to Make a Million Dollar First Impression