Body Language: How to Find the Most Important Person in the Room

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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 shari@presentingmatters.com.
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Tips on Business Culture in Dubai

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Doing Business in DubaiBusiness is booming in Dubai and many Britons are heading out there to work. But, anyone thinking of working there must familiarise themselves with the cultural etiquette before starting work there, if they are to avoid insulting Dubai nationals, or even break the country’s laws.

The first thing to consider is respect. Never criticise or correct a client or colleague in front of others. Causing such a public loss of face will ensure that the individual concerned with be filled with resentment and make any future co-operation extremely difficult.  Sensitive discussions with a colleague or client should be done in private.

Western businesses may choose their own working hours, but bear in mind that Arab companies schedule their working week from Saturday to Wednesday; working hours start at 8 a.m. and stop at 1 p.m. In the scorching heat of summer a siesta is a common practice taken until 4 p.m. with work resuming immediately afterwards until 7 p.m. During the Muslin festival of Ramadan the working day becomes two hours shorter.

Arab cultures dress much more conservatively than western cultures as a rule, and although it may be more relaxed in Dubai there is still an unspoken dress code that must be closely followed. Ensure clothes are worn that cover both the body and limbs – however hot and oppressive the heat may be – and they must be smart.

The Muslim day of prayer and rest is Friday, so avoid making phone calls or scheduling meetings with any Muslim clients or colleagues on that day. During Ramadan Muslims are not permitted to eat, drink or smoke during daylight hours but non-believers can, although they must be sensitive to the occasion and do so away from public gaze.

Business meetings with Arab clients or colleagues may begin with a very informal preamble. They often take place in restaurants or cafes at a Dubai business hotel rather than an office, beginning with polite conversation, usually about each other’s families. However, whenever the conversation turns to business it is usually resolved much quicker than in formal western business meetings. When meeting a handshake is followed by a touch of the heart with the right hand to show sincerity, and a woman’s hand is shaken only if it is offered.

Although business meetings are less formal than western standards, by contrast business lunches tend to be more formal. As a strict rule alcohol is never involved, and it is essential that when sitting opposite an Arab colleague or client that the soles of shoes are not directed towards them as that is considered extremely offensive in Arabic culture.

There are many other less obvious do’s and don’ts involved with ensuring that business is conducted efficiently, properly and without offence in Dubai, and as with any business deal anyone travelling there should ensure that they are thoroughly briefed before they leave.

Author: Andrew Regan

Article Source: http://www.articlealley.com/article_479875_15.html

About the Author:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrew_regan/

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