The unspoken secrets to direct sale success are understanding what messages our nonverbal communication is sending at our events. Nonverbal communication, which is often mis-referred to as body language, is the largest part of our communication. All of our nonverbal behaviors—the gestures we make, the fidgets and expressions we display, the way we speak, sit, stand, and interact send messages that are believed more than the words we use. These behaviors are most often “read and interpreted” unconsciously by the other person. We are continuously sending and receiving wordless signals and cues that tell the other person what we believe and value.
Even if we try and study nonverbal communication, all the sales seminars and books tell us the way to make a solid impression is to smile, make eye contact, remember their names and use them frequently, dress slightly better than your audience and you will have sales success. Those are all great ways to make the right first impression, but what happens after the first impression?
How do you hold someone’s attention?
You hold attention by intentionally using nonverbal communication to form an emotional connection. An easy way to form an emotional connection between people or people and products is to use an intentional gesture of relationship. The secret to gestures of relationship and attention are:
1. The gestures we choose — sends the message.
2. Holding the gesture frozen — holds attention.
3. Breathing low and slow— shows we are comfortable with the message.
Hand gestures should be performed smoothly and steadily with an even flow. There are three primary hand gestures of relationship and related messages to choose from:
1. The open, upward palm—seeking information, open to sharing and conversation
2. The open sideways palm—this is important and/or serious yet I’m open to discussion
3. The open downward palm— this is important and/or serious and I’m NOT open to discussion
In a home party situation, I suggest using the open, upward facing palm gesture most often, to show you are open to questions and to nonverbally establish a positive relationship between you and the group and your products and the group.
Example: A positive opening—
Before you begin, remind yourself to breathe low and comfortable, not only does it calm the nerves, it gets more oxygen to the brain so you sound more intelligent and the body language message it sends is one of self confidence and confidence in your products.
Start the party off by making everyone feel good about themselves. One way is to tell them they are all wonderful without verbally saying “You are all wonderful,” as it is too early in the rapport-building process for individualized personal compliments.
Verbally begin your welcome with “Welcome everyone, it’s great to see you all, I’m Suzy Smith. I would like to thank Joan Jones for having us all here in her wonderful home tonight.”
At the same time, begin to gesture with your palm up and open and waist high. Start at the far side of the room away from where Joan is located.
Slowly sweep the gesture across the room allowing your fingers to “point” at each participant, ending at Joan on the word ‘wonderful’.
At A Glance
A positive opening—
What Your Mouth Says What Your Body Does The Message You Send
“Welcome everyone, it’s great to see you all, I’m Suzy Smith. I would like to thank Joan Jones for having us all here in her wonderful home. tonight”. . One arm starts at the center of your chest and makes a sweeping movement out with an open palm to the listener. Hold the gesture You are all wonderful.
This sweeping gesture has just nonverbally called everyone in the room great and wonderful. Hold the gesture frozen toward Joan until you complete that entire thought. It the next thing you are going to say is also positive, hold the gesture until you are ready to speak again. Holding the gesture connects the previous with the new message. Dropping the gesture during the pause disconnects the previous with the new message.
Continue to using the open, upward palm gesture of relationship when you say positive words such as “great,” “perfect,” and “excellent”. Another opportunity to use a positive gesture of relationship is between the product and the audience. “This product is great for that sun-kissed glow.” Start with your open, upward palm gesture aimed at the product, sweep it out to be pointing toward the audience on the word ‘great’ and back to the product as you finish. Hold the gesture while you pause and breathe, only change or drop the gesture the next time you speak.
Do not point to a specific member of the audience unless you want them to believe the product is meant for them. Example of when to use caution would be: “This product is great for covering blemishes and acne.” Your intention may be to assign the word “great,” yet it would be unkind to call out one person with a gesture of relationship when they fit the ‘negative’ profile for the product. Using a gesture of relationship to anything less than positive opens the door for offending someone. The gesture to them and back to a product that might have a negative connotation such as acne assigned to it; feels like being called out in public “Look at her, she has acne”.
What Your Mouth Says What Your Body Does The Message You Send
“Many teens today are fighting acne.” … Extend your arm with your palm sideways and direct eye contact out the window. Hold the gesture and eye contact. Drop gesture and head to look down. Turn back toward audience and pop up with new nonverbals. It’s everyone out there, none of us in here.
It is times such as these that we want to have another location be the holder of the negative news. Example: You say “Many teens today are fighting acne.” Your gesture of relationship with the open, sideways palm to indicate this is a serious problem, points out the window to refer to all those “teens out there” that have acne.
At A Glance
A negative statement—
When using gestures of relationship, imagine you in your audience. Would you buy from you? The nonverbal signals you send can produce a wide range of responses, for example, intrigue, safety, trust, excitement, love, mistrust, apathy, fear, anger, or confusion. Unless you intentionally choose a nonverbal signal, you often don’t know what signals or cues you are sending. The negative gesture of relationship is not necessarily bad, it is simply the opposite of positive. Other relationship gestures include a tip of the head, prolonged eye contact, a wink, toes pointed toward the listener, and, of course, the smile. Send nonverbal messages that leave your audience feeling good.
In Sharon Sayler’s latest book What Your Body Says (and how to master the message), you’ll learn a lot more about gestures of relationship, location, and expectations as well as how to use your voice, posture and eye contact to improve relationships and build trust.
Excerpt from What Your Body Says (and how to master the message)…
“A client once said, “Who cares about all this? Shouldn’t they know I like them?” Why should they know? If you want to leave a lasting impression, leave them feeling self-confident, capable, and good about themselves and you.”
Sharon Sayler, MBA, is a Communications Success Strategist who trains professionals on how to become stronger, more influential communicators and leaders. She teaches people how to communicate with confidence and clarity by matching their body language to what their mouth is saying. Sharon's new book What Your Body Says (and how to master the message) teaches business leaders and communicators how to make their body match what their mouth is saying. www.WhatYourBodySays.com
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