The Signs and Sounds of Body Language

QUESTION: The signs and sounds of body language are everywhere. What did you really see and hear?

ANSWER: I am a true believer of the sounds and signs of body language. However what I find as I travel with sales people or work with management teams, peer groups and even parent/child interactions is they have a tendency to not observe or listen well. And when I say that, it goes deeper than just a simple communication issue.

For example, during a phone conversation, it’s imperative that you “see through your ears” what is happening on the other end of the call. Everything from a sigh, an attempted interruption, background noise, a challenging statement, does the listener have a smile or scowl on their face, up or down voice inflection and even to a painful dead silence all count for instinctual reaction during a telephone call.

With regards to a face to face discussion, it’s more of the same except now your visual sensors will assist in driving your reactionary responses. Those signals include the ones above but now we add some of the following:

A. Crossing of arms, can mean the listener has just shut you out of his/her receptive process
B. Feet planted firmly on the ground and facing you, may mean they are intent on listening to what you say
C. Leaning back in the chair with arms behind his/her head could mean they are comfortable with you
D. Closing up your brochure of material you have laid in front of them or gently sliding your material back towards you, probably means a lack of interest because you haven’t drawn them into the all important NEED arena
E. Listener looking around the room and no longer making eye contact usually means you’ve lost them
F. Listener leaning forward in the chair can imply they have an interest and want to learn more
G. Remember that a desk or table between you puts a wall or divider up between the two of you and many people feel safe with seating arrangement.
H. If at all possible, always try to set up the seating arrangements to your advantage which would include sitting on the same side of the table, thus removing the barrier.
I. And finally I have found that when the listener folds his/her hands interlocking their fingers or keep their fingers like a church steeple, they are telling me that they are in charge which allows me to react accordingly and not rain on their parade.

Hope these are helpful tips and I wish that your week is filled with personal gratification and great business success. Your comments and questions are always welcome.

And from Denise and myself, a special Happy Mother’s Day wish to all of our moms. Thank you for all you do.

George F. Mancuso, CPC
President, Gman Business Resources
Grinnell, Iowa