In businesses today, when we are seeking to be more efficient with both time and money, it’s imperative to understand each other better. We need to get our messages across more effectively than ever before.
With video on the increase too, we really need to get our body language in focus straight away.
Let’s start with first impressions. When someone first meets you, they make their mind up about you within the first three seconds. The next thing they do is validate that first thought. Let’s say that upon meeting you, I drop my phone on the floor. If you have decided you like me, you will see me as human. However, if your first thought was unfavourable, you will see me as clumsy. Same situation, different perspective, and all because of the different experiences we have had during our life so far.
To make the greatest impact on first meetings, and increase your chances of being liked (people do business with those they think are like them), create the right impression with your own body language.
Whether seated or standing, having both feet on the floor gives you gravitas and quite literally grounds you. It works best when you place them on the ground before you speak. This gives you confidence too as your body is aligned.
Your first point of visual contact is probably the eyes. To avoid overpowering your client, look them in the left eye. This is generally the receiving side of the body, so when we ‘give out’ we use the right side, such as in handshakes.
Looking someone in both eyes for a long period of time can be scary, and this way you take the pressure off. In time, they will look you in the left eye too, which makes for quicker communications.
Reflecting your client’s body language can work. However, do not do it without establishing they are in a good mood, and genuine. Imagine if you were copying their body language and they were depressed: the whole meeting could quickly spiral into a dark situation.
Open body language is often used in negotiations. This is where the palms of your hands are shown, legs firmly placed on the ground – not crossed – and body equally balanced, with head straight. This is the best pose if you want to elicit information from your clients when you are discovering the situations they have that you may be able to find solutions for.
Understanding who you’re dealing with means you can adjust your approach accordingly. There are four main types of buyers:
Pragmatics: Only want the basic details of what your service/product will do for them at the cheapest price. They make their minds up very quickly. Generally organised and sleek in appearance
Extroverts: Need little information but served up with a lot of excitement. Your body language here needs to be big and bold