If you’re sure you’ve been saying all the right things but still can’t close the deal with prospects, author Sharon Sayler suggests you consider what you’ve really been saying to potential customers — not just verbally, but nonverbally. She explains while you might be saying, “I’m the person who can help you with your life insurance needs,” the message you’re conveying through your body might be very different.
Words are only a small part of communication. The most influential parts of communication are your nonverbal. And in an ideas-based economy, like the one we have today, your ability to influence others and get them to really listen to you is what sets you apart from the majority in your profession. Your nonverbals play an important role in making that happen.
True communication goes beyond words, and great communicators use every tool they have to deliver their message. When you have control of your nonverbal language, you can communicate confidence with passion, persuasion, credibility and candor — factors that help you soar above your competition in the business world.
Read on for a few nonverbal do’s and don’ts:
1. DON’T fill the air with um, ah, uh and you know. It is natural to pause when you speak — it gives you a chance to breathe. What’s not natural is to fill the silent pause with um, ah, uh, you know and other sounds. Verbal pauses are distracting and muddle what you are trying to say because the audience sees you searching for the next words. Meaningless extra syllables or words make you look less intelligent. Your message will be more effective once you eliminate them. This may take practice.
2. DON’T use the fig-leaf pose. By placing your hands to cover the groin region, you’re making yourself look visually smaller. When you place your hands in the fig-leaf pose, your body says, ‘I’m harmless,’ or, ‘I’m afraid.’ Not exactly the way to convey the level of confidence a client wants to see.
3. DO use hand gestures systematically. When we use only words to convey our message, we make it necessary for our audience to pay close attention to what we say. Using gestures systematically, especially when giving directions or teaching, makes the audience less dependent on the verbal part of the presentation. The visual reminder created by gestures allows the listener two ways to remember: auditory and visual. It thereby increases the likelihood of accurate recall.