I’m spending more time than ever talking directly to my clients, and I’ve been discovering how much difference it makes to sound and look confident during any phone call or meeting. This has led me to do some research into body language, and it’s a surprisingly influential part of our everyday human interactions.
First, there are some obvious ways to engage more effectively with your customers:
· Be confident – if you sound as though you don’t know what you’re talking about, your client won’t have much faith in your abilities
· Be friendly – get to know your customer a little bit. It could be as simple as asking them about their day. And remembering those personal details, like their hobbies or their children’s names, shows your client that you are genuinely interested in them.
· Stand your ground – if you don’t have an answer, don’t let the client pressure you into making one up. It’s okay to say “I’ll get back to you once I have confirmed” rather than giving them something off the top of your head.
· Eye contact – not enough eye contact makes you look evasive, like you have something to hide. Too much eye contact can be very unsettling for the recipient.
Less well-known are some of the body language tips from the experts, which include fascinating insights like these:· There’s a ‘wall of air’ around the edge of a meeting table, and if your face and body are behind it, you’re indicating that you’re not really in the meeting. Lean into it, and you’re engaged. (You can see more in this short video.)
· Confident leaders take up more space by standing tall, using open gestures and squaring their shoulders. If you do the same, not only do you look like a leader, but you can lower your stress hormones and feel like one, too.
· Keep your nervous behaviours in check, including fidgeting, tapping a pen, drumming your fingers or bouncing your feet. These actions make you seem either anxious or uninterested in what’s going on.
So when you go into meetings this month, consider not only what you’re saying out loud, but what your body is saying, too.
By Jayna Patel