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More and more people are becoming more aware of the effects of body language for sales, leadership, promotion and for self-confidence, etc. We notice competition is growing within all areas of industry and standards are increasing all the time, but what is body language and how does it help us to progress in our desired field?

What are the benefits of understanding body language?

Understanding how to read body language is like having a silent language at your finger-tips to understand what the people around you are thinking and feeling. They may not know at first exactly what the person is thinking, but by paying attention to how a person reacts (or doesn’t react) shows us whether they are in agreement or not. Once we know what the other person is thinking helps whether to confidently close the conversation or to ask further key questions to extract more information to help bring to a successful close.

How do we learn body language?

Everyone started using body language from the very moment after birth and over the years into adulthood, for many, these signals have grown subtler, such that it’s possible to miss them to the untrained eye. There are also some people who are so aware of their body language movements, that it’s possible to fake them, however, there are some parts of the body that never lie.

But can you tell if someone is lying or not?

Generally, more no than yes. You can tell that something may be bothering them, which enables you to ask further specific questions to get nearer the truth. An example is closing a contract, but the customer says he’s interested without commitment, but if we look at his body language we see it’s not coherent with his verbal interest. By asking, as an example, what, if anything, would bother the customer about the contract, gives an opportunity to get all issues out in the open to discuss and clarify quickly. In sales, there is nothing worse than having a reluctantly signed contract – it may affect future contracts, or this one may be cancelled within the consideration period. In answering the question above, we tend to notice more when there is in-congruence rather than lying. Recognising this incongruence allows us to reframe the situation to enable a congruent customer. That doesn’t mean the customer is guaranteed to buy, however at worst, it’s better to have a congruent customer who doesn’t buy, but has a very high potential of coming back later than an incongruent customer that may buy, but may never return.

So, how do you know what the other person is feeling or thinking with certain indicators of body language?

Sub-consciously, we know what the other person is thinking or feeling, however in the heat of the discussion, it’s easy to be blind to the other person’s signals. Unless we are really paying attention to what our client or work colleague is reacting, we don’t know how to respond to get the best result. Also, for many there may be certain emotions that are rarely or never experienced, regardless if they are good or bad. It’s important to know within you what the other person is thinking and feeling in helping them to be congruent with the environment around them.

Can this help me to become more confident and appear exactly so?

In one word, yes! If we know what it’s like to be energetic, motivated, focussed, goal orientated, etc, then one powerful technique is to change our body language to suit our attitude we want. Try this exercise, for example; stand up, slump your shoulders and let your head hang forward (or pretend you are looking at your mobile). Now tell yourself you are really happy and looking forward to something later. Did you notice it was hard of did you find yourself straightening up? Conversely, stand up straight, put a big smile on your face and be ready to hug/greet the next person you see with enthusiasm. Now tell yourself that you feel really terrible and depressed and that nothing goes good for you. Did you notice your internal thoughts change somewhat like the previous exercise? And did you notice your posture slump slightly? Fortunately, there are some really powerful techniques to use in creating that attitude you want for the rest of your day, week, month, life. And there are some really powerful techniques out there to help you when spanners are thrown in the works and seemingly insurmountable walls appear before you. Read on to find out how you can learn them.

Congruence is the key to good sales and people development.