Networking events. Association meetings. Conferences. Regional meetings. Trade shows. Each of these events represents an opportunity. Making the sale. Making the right connection. Exchanging business cards with the right person.
But how do you know who Mr. or Ms. Right is? Who is the person who can green light your product or service within their company?
One option is the internet. Do your research, find the bigwig’s name, do a Google Image search, and you have your target. At the event, you can scan the room until you see the person and introduce yourself.
But what if that’s not possible? What if they don’t show up? What if Google Image search pulls up nothing? What if you’re not sure who your ideal target is?
Thankfully, when this happens, you don’t have to randomly approach people and hope they are your mark. You can be a detective at all your future business meetings and use the skills of deciphering body language to discover the most important people in any group.
After speaking at an event, I went to the hotel’s lounge to relax and unwind. Wanting to enjoy some alone time, I sat in the far corner booth and began one of my favorite activities: people watching.
There was another conference at the hotel and some of their attendees came to the lounge for a social hour. At first everyone was shaking hands, welcoming one another and being very friendly. After awhile the large group started splitting up into subgroups. 5 women chatting at one table. 3 men laughing at another. 2 women standing and gossiping. But, there was one subgroup that caught my attention.
I noticed 3 gentlemen. One tall, good posture, well dressed. The second was of average height, well dressed, good posture. The third was short, had poor posture, and was – quite frankly – poorly dressed. Who is the most important person of the group?
Most people would say one of the first two gentlemen. They had strong posture, knew how to carry themselves, and their clothing reeked of success. Most people would be wrong.
After knowing a few body language basics, you would know to look more closely. While posture and clothing are good variables to observe, they are surface level indicators that can easily and consciously be altered for any situation. As a body language pro, you would want to look at the unconscious indicators to discover your alpha-person of the group.
In this case – as in most – the feet gave it away. Even though the men were standing in a circle, politely facing each other and looking at one another while they spoke, the feet pointed toward Mr. Important himself, gentleman #3. That’s right. Mr. slumped-over-I-don’t-need-to-iron-my-clothes-or-put-together-a-snazzy-outfit-like-the-rest-of-you.
The feet of the other two gentlemen were pointed directly at guy #3 like a pointing dog during the hunt. The feet give away so much information unconsciously. They almost always will point towards the direction where you want to be or towards the person you perceive to be the most important person in the conversation.(Where was Mr. Important’s feet pointing? The door.)
While initial looks might lead you to one conclusion, body language will give you the power to detect the subtleties that lead you to the truth.
Use this body language detective skill for your next meeting. If you want to converse with the “top dog” just follow the feet.
Shari’ Alexander is a business presentation strategist and professional speaker who helps professionals get what they want when they speak. As the owner of Presenting Matters, her many clients have included an Emmy Award winning executive, an NFL player, and an ESPN announcer. Shari”s articles and advice have been featured in Presentations Magazine, Counselor Magazine, Training Magazine, along with other international publications. Shari’ is available for keynotes and seminars and may be reached at 918.346.8506 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Business body language and business networking run parallels as they both occur at the same time. When you are out at networking events and generating leads or contacts, there is a language being spoken that is nonverbal.
Just as if you were visiting another country and had to communicate with different people who spoke another language, it is important to speak and understand the language of the body. This has the obvious benefits of better communication which can lead to a number of favorable things.
Business body language, just like social body language, has its subtleties and can’t be completely depended upon. However, taking note of certain movements and behaviors can help you in your networking experiences.
We all like to be as prepared as we can for important situations. Knowing what certain positions and movements mean gives us superior understanding and is all part of adequate preparation. Below, are a few body language aspects to take note of and use to your advantage;
Sometimes people are not as vocal in expressing their inner feelings as you would like them to be. Raised eyebrows is a sign of interest. If you are engaged in a business networking conversation and explaining something, raised eyebrows indicate that your conversation partner has an interest in what you’re saying. Don’t be fooled by the lack of words.
Partially Facing You
Typically, we usually face the direction of our intentions. In other words, when we are engaged in a conversation and are ready to leave in a rush, our bodies will usually start to face towards the door. If this is happening while you are engaged in a conversation, don’t take it personal, the person may have an appointment to get to. To your advantage, make the conversation brief and set up a time to talk later.
Leaning Forward into You
Just as with the raised eyebrows, people have a way of showing interest without talking. When an individual is interested in something, they will lean towards it. We can be very predictable at times and leaning towards an object or person is a clue to take note of. However, pay attention to all of the surrounding factors.
Not Making Eye Contact
You may even see a minor pattern at this point. Typically, when people are interested in something they will face it, or lean towards it.
Not making eye contact can be compared to not being faced. There may be a lack of interest or even a shyness involved. You will have to make your own assertion in this situation. It will be to your advantage to observe this and take the appropriate action to get the results you want.
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You can improve your business standards by adopting the following business communication skills and body language. In business or daily life, communication should be strong, clear and positive.
Make sure the people or person is more interesting than what is on the floor. Make an eye contact with the person most of the time. But do not stare at people more than 15 seconds at a time.
Body posture play an important role in business communication, try to face the person while communicating. Stand or sit up tall. But, don’t be a rigid board.
Distance/ physical contact
If you smell or feel the other person’s breathe, you are probably too close. Keep a comfortable distance of 3-4 feet at least. Gestures: Use hand gestures to add to what you are communicating, but remember that you are not conducting an orchestra.
Your face should match your sentiment and what you are communicating. Don’t laugh when you are upset and don’t have a scowl when you are happy.A calm, pleasant face is the best when you are happy. A calm, serious face is best when you are upset.
Voice tone, inflection, volume
When you are making an assertive message, you want to be heard by people. In order to be heard you have to concentrate to the tone of your voice (happy, whiny, upset), the inflection of your voice (emphasis on syllables), and volume of your voice (whisper to yell).
It is significant to get out your words in an efficient manner. If a person stammers or rambles on, the listener gets uninterested.
When you are communicating negative feelings or making a request of someone, this is especially important. Perfect timing wins the situation. If you are communicating at the right time you will be successful in your business communication.
An important part of a business communication. If you are making statements that express your feelings without infringing on the rights of others, you need to give the other person a chance to reply. Content: What person communicates is one of the most important parts of the assertive message.
Depending on what a person is trying to accomplish, the content is going to be diverse. I hope this article will give you some idea about business communication tips and techniques and what should be the body language, facial expression, timing, tone of voice, etc.
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Nick Mutt is an active writer and blogger on health related topics. He has published many ebooks on natural health.
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