Are you ready to improve business relationships using Non-Verbal Communication?
You might be thinking, how important is body language in business? From facial expressions to gestures to postures, at least 50% of all communication is done using body language. And that includes doing business transactions.
If you think about it, you’re more likely to remember non-verbal communication than verbal ones. If, for example, you’re faced with a salesman who’s selling you a brand new car with all the latest features yet avoid any eye contact while doing so, would you still be enticed? You’re less likely to recall what he said about the car’s awesome specs than how he said it.
Moreover, non-verbal cues transcend cultural differences. Happiness, sadness, fright, anger, disgust and surprise are all, more or less, expressed in a similar way regardless of place or era.
Together with the use of common non-verbal cues is considering one’s personal use of space. The distance you establish between you and another person says a lot about the kind of relationship you have or wish to build—from being intimate with them to considering them merely part of the general public.
Depending on certain business situations, you can attain your goal by mastering the use of appropriate body language. Here are some examples:
If meeting a potential client, your goal is to establish trust. This can be done by putting a reasonable distance between you and the client (not too far yet not too close either). Mirroring the client’s mannerisms likewise improves your chances of being liked.
When pitching to a client, your goal would be to align your body language with the content you’re delivering. Keep your eyes on your audience rather than at the screen. This also shows you’re confident. Move towards the audience during appropriate times.
If your goal is to encourage audience participation or individuals to speak up, motivate them by moving towards them or facing them. Show support by nodding when they’re speaking and smiling every now and then.
If you’re leading a team, you’d want to appear dominant without being threatening or aggressive. Demonstrate assertiveness by having a confident stance; assume a straight posture, keep your head up and shoulders relaxed, lean back when listening and lean forward when speaking.
When you disagree but don’t want to create conflict, you can still express opposing views in ways that can be acceptable to the other party. Touch them appropriately in a non-threatening way and in times when you do agree with them, smile, nod and slightly raise your eyebrows.
During times when you have to socialize with a client, you’d want to strike a balance between being personal yet still professional. Establish eye contact, pay attention to what they’re saying, smile and nod appropriately while exploring common interests.
During interviews, your challenge is to earn trust and establish credibility. Like meeting a client for the first time, mirroring the interviewer’s mannerism raises your odds of being accepted. Act confident by keeping your body open. Avoid folding your arms that make you look defensive. Lean towards the interviewer while speaking.
In dealing with an angry colleague, your goal is to show understanding. By paying attention and showing you’re listening, you’re also expressing empathy. Spread your arms and keep your palms face down to show openness.
When asking for a raise, your goal of course is to build an agreement or at least reach a compromise. Focus on your boss by keeping your body and face directed towards him. Avoid making unnecessary movements by sitting or standing still. Again, nodding appropriately and mirroring your boss’s behaviors likewise help.