- Art of Communicating Effectively
- Presentation Pointers Fear of Public Speaking and Presentation Tips
- How to Make a Difference by Focusing on the Positive
- How To Work With Difficult People
- Rules for Effective Teams
- You Are the Company In the Customers’ Eyes
Eileen O. Brownell is ‘high-energy’ who captivates her audiences and makes learning a lasting experience.
Her expertise is in the areas of customer service, conflict resolution, communication, and team development.
We cannot choose the challenges that confront us. Nevertheless, we can pick our attitude and how we react,” is her philosophy.
Body Language: All The Right Moves“
Your body is a hologram of your being; a three-dimensional movie that is constantly on, showing others how you feel about yourself and the world.” film producer
Airports are a great place to people watch!
You can learn a lot about an individual as well as yourself, if you just sit back and observe the body language, clothing, conversations and the actions of others.
Imagine the following scenarios and jot down what your first impression and assumptions are:
1. A man wearing a suit and tie, with a suitcase rolling behind him is running through the terminal toward the exit. He shoots as he runs, “to your right, your right.”
2. A man who is balding, parts his hair just above his right ear and combs several long strands of hair across the top of his head toward his left ear.
3. An attractive young woman wearing a short-skirt, sits gazing at a handsome gentleman across the boarding area. She licks her lips and winks.
4. A woman is pounding the counter with one hand, pointing her finger at the customer service attendant behind the counter and speaking in a very loud voice.
5. A passenger sits waiting for the call to board the plane. She alternates between biting her fingernails, wringing their hands and rubbing her face.
Let’s see if your first impressions matched those of others:
1. He is probably a businessman, based on his clothing. His plane was late and now he is rushing to catch another plane, meet someone or catch street transportation for his final destination. He is assertive about his needs to move quickly by shouting his path to individuals who might be in his way.
2. The man is either frustrated that he is balding, is trying to look younger then he really is, or is self-conscious about his appearance.
3. The young woman is giving sexual indications she is attracted to the handsome gentleman. She may or may not know him.
4. The passenger is obviously upset and is using very forceful body language to express her anger or try to obtain what she wants.
5. More than likely, this individual is either nervous about the flight or upset about something that has or is about to happen.
We never get a second chance to create a positive first impression. Whether we like it or not, people will usually make a sub-conscious judgment about us instantaneously when we first meet, or they observe us from a distance. We only have two to seven seconds to make a positive first impression.
Observations by others occur in numerous places: the airport, the office, at network functions, parties, weddings, church events and even PTA meetings. Additionally, we never know when a first impression may or may not lead to future business. Let’s examine actions, appearance and body language that can either help or hinder your ability to create a positive first impression in any setting or situation.
Leave the limp handshake at home. Besides being offensive to most people, a limp handshake may indicate you are either insecure or insincere. A firm handshake shows you are confident, open, sincere, probably a leader and a caring individual. Be careful to avoid the bone crusher effect however, which will tell everyone you want to be in charge and just might be insensitive.
Avoid too much jewelry. The old saying “less is more” is certainly the secret with regards jewelry. Men who wear more then a watch and ring are sometimes viewed as arrogant. Others may tend to think they are trying to impress people with their wealth verses their intelligence or personality. Women likewise do just fine with only earrings, one ring per hand and a watch or bracelet. Long and loose necklaces may catch on tables, desks or even doorknobs. Bracelets may make noise on desks, tables or interrupt meetings to the dissatisfaction of everyone there.
Honor the comfort zone. Americans like personal space!
The more room they have, the better. A good rule to follow in a social or business setting is to keep three feet from the individual you are conversing with.
Primping in public is a no-no. It’s tempting to comb your hair or touch up your make-up just before entering a meeting or right after lunch. It is however, a definite no-no! Primping in public shows arrogance and a lack of consideration for others (who knows where your hair might fall). Find a private place or retire to the restroom to do your physical touch-ups.
The eyes say a lot. When someone avoids eye contact, it typically means they are embarrassed or possibly shy. Heavy bags under the eyes can indicate a lack of sleep or to much alcohol or possible drug use. Eyes wide open indicate fear or surprise. Show confidence and respect, by looking someone in the eye while talking with them.
It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.
A loud voice makes you appear overbearing and self-important.
The manner in which you speak and the vocabulary you use is also an indication of your education level. Voice tone gives clues to your emotions or whether you are trying to control the conversation. Some women for example use a high-pitched little girl voice to help manipulate others.
Rapid speech indicates fear, excitement, impatience or anxiety.
Are you bored?
Was that you glancing away from the speaker for the fifth time in less then a minute?
Did a yawn slip out too?
Are you constantly looking at your watch?
All of these are indications you are either bored with the conversation, the event or the individual. If you find yourself reacting with any of these behaviors, excuse yourself politely and leave before you do irreparable damage to your reputation or image.
Shoes reflect your image. So many people forget their shoes are an important projection of their appearance and habits.
It is important your shoes are well maintained and polished at all times. If heals are worn down, replace them. Women’s heals higher then two inches in a business environment are not appropriate. Anything higher can be mistaken as sexually suggestive.
Walk with confidence. Stand erect, walk deliberately, hold your back and shoulders straight and walk with determination. Project you are a leader. Leaders come in all shapes and sizes.
Some are extroverted while others may be quiet and reserved.
Regardless of their inclination, most leaders tend to dress conservatively and wear attire that is appropriate for the occasion.
Leaders make good eye contact with everyone they encounter.
Keep in mind: Traditionally their haircut and make-up are conservative.
Be attentive and remain open.
Maintain eye contact with the person you are conversing with and face them fully.
Follow the conversation and provide feedback…a simple nod of the head will do.
Express warmth and concern with a smile.
It is only human nature to notice a person’s physical appearance and body language before we tend to view anything else about them.
Like it or not, we are inclined to judge others based on that initial presentation of what we see before us. While we can choose our clothing, hairstyle and even our physical appearance to a certain degree, for the most part we have no control over our body language.
It truly projects how we are feeling about our surroundings, others and ourselves. As an observer it is your responsibility to understand the various physical reactions or the body language that is typical of certain emotions.
For example, an individual with poor eye contact might be indicating they are nervous around you, telling a lie, are bored with the current situation or are embarrassed.
It is your task to assess the outward appearance combined with the body language to comfortably identify what the individual has indicated. When you have had the opportunity to meet someone more then once, it is helpful to look for consistencies in their appearance and projections.
It is usually easy to dress the part we choose to project, remember however seldom does our body lie.