As a business owner, you’d be surprised how much the things people say and the way they feel don’t match up. If you’ve ever had to pretend to be happy in the middle of a frustrating situation, you get the idea. But if you can’t read your clients to get a sense of how they are interpreting your interactions, you’re more likely to get on their bad side. Here are five body language cues that help you determine what they really think.
Direction of the Hands
The way the people use their hands can give you some practical insight into their moods, especially as they relate to the discussion. For example, someone who is using big open gestures may be more interested in what you have to say. Someone who keeps their hands at their sides or pointed down might not be as convinced as you think. In some cases, mimicking these gestures can help you relate to the client. Then, as you explain your points, you can turn your hands upward and see if they do too.
As with your hands, the position of the arms tells you how your client is feeling at the moment. Someone who consistently keeps their arms folded or locked tightly to their sides may be nervous. It’s possible that they either do not trust what you are saying, or do not trust the environment that they are in. This type of position indicates that somebody is feeling awkward or out of place. You may be able to set them at ease by offering them a choice of chairs, or the opportunity to meet in a different room.
Position While Sitting or Standing
Even though the arms can tell you a lot about what a person is thinking, you’ve got to take the rest of their body language into consideration as well. There are times when you will have a conversation with a client and you really need their entire focus. You’ll know that you have it if their upper body is turned toward you. By comparison, if it’s turned away from you, your client may be distracted or uninterested in the conversation. You can usually avoid this type of problem by seeing clients in places away from busy activities and loud noises. That way, they are less likely to keep turning around.
Many types of body language are forms of communication in and of themselves, and eye contact is a good example. Experts have mixed views about the meaning of looking in particular directions before answering a question. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t necessarily tell if someone is lying simply by the way they look around the room. However, people do pick up social cues from the presence or lack of eye contact. If you never make eye contact with someone, they may wonder how committed you are to working with them. If you make prolonged, constant eye contact, they may feel intimidated.
Perhaps the most obvious of body language types is the facial expression. Of course, your facial expression can be a way of expressing a variety of feelings, only some of which may relate to the discussion. If friends or family members often tell you that you seem intimidating or angry, it’s worth paying attention to your facial expressions. Look in the mirror and allow yourself to speak naturally and see what happens. Since facial expressions are difficult to read, be wary of drawing too many conclusions from them based on the way your clients look. If they seem confused or frustrated, it’s fine to offer clarification. Otherwise, they might not have a high degree of control over their expressions generally.
Body language is an important part of interpersonal communication and one you’ll need to understand when you’re working with clients. Knowing how to interpret these cues can help you put customers at ease and make more sales. To learn more about becoming a licensed contractor, contact CSLS today!