Body Language in Business Communication

Body Language in Business Communication

It’s Monday morning, and you are headed into your home office for yet another online meeting. 

As the boss, you are very perceptive to the body language of all your employees. Jim is continually glancing at his phone, Meredith has hunched posture, Stanley has poor eye contact and there it is—Pam is actively engaged and leaning in to listen, making great eye contact.

If all these people were equally good at what they do, which one would you want to work with? The one who acts interested and engaged, right?

Body language is increasingly important in business communication. Networking events and seminars have moved to Zoom and we’re using FaceTime for everything from client meetings to pitches for new work. 

When the tools we use to communicate change, our approach needs to change, too. We’re starting to use body language as a way to understand each other and it is increasingly becoming a tool we use to guide business decisions.

Curious about what your body indulge says about you? Or what type of body language works best? We’ll explain five nonverbal communication cues that show how engaged you are in the conversation.

5 Nonverbal Cues You Can Use as a Marketing Tool

When you want to make an impact in your communication, body language and tone of voice say a lot more than your words do.

Messaging in sales meetings is 55 percent body language and non-verbal cues, 38 percent tone and inflection of voice, and a minuscule 7 percent of the words you use. 

As humans, we pick up on the subconscious emotions, feelings, and perceptions of others with a simple glance. Being able to read body language can prove effective for businesses that want to find out more information about their audience or how to convey a certain message.

 #1. Eye Contact 

Practicing eye contact in your daily conversations can be an effective form of communication. Eyes have the potential to tell your audience you are interested in what they have to say.

Imagine you are conducting a video chat with a potential client, and while you are explaining how your services fit into their lifestyles you notice your audience peering at their phone every so often.

This eye movement can have you thinking either this is a waste of your time or that your elevator speech needs some work. 

Now visualize if you were meeting with that same prospective client and they are looking at you the entire time and appearing actively engaged. They don’t glance at their phone and their eyes light up when you touch on potential conversion rates. This small, but critical, tweak will navigate the conversation down a positive route. You now feel your client is sincerely interested and you’re confident your services will fulfill all their needs.

The next time your eyes start to wander, think about how you’re going to be perceived by the person on the other side of the video camera. Adjust your computer screen to their eye view and intentionally enhance your eye contact to show your audience you care about what they are saying.

#2. Facial Expressions

Eyes aren’t the only important part of the nonverbal cues. Your entire face tells a story. Brows, mouth, and eyes all plan an intricate role in developing facial expressions.

Smiling is contagious; you smile at someone and most of the time they’ll smile back. The same can be said of frowning and other glum facial expressions. There is a ripple effect involved and when we look at each other we are feeding off one another’s mood no matter how far apart we are.

Imagine your meeting with prospective business partners that can help company sales tremendously. You proceed to talk and suddenly become nervous and stare at your portfolio nearly the entire meeting. 

You feel like the meeting went well, but don’t receive a callback. You do a courtesy followup for a second meeting. Surprisingly your potential business partners say they don’t think your company is the right fit for the work they want to do. After further probing, you find that they felt you were uninviting and underconfident. The company felt the work you did for them would be reflective of that first encounter they experienced, which was lackluster.

Bottom line: your face can make or break the impression you make on your team, clients, and collaborators. 

#3. Posture 

Did your teachers ever tell you to sit up straight in class? 

It seems obvious now why they always told us to do that. Your posture also determines how lively you look in conversations but also how stressed or nervous you are as well.

Let’s say you are meeting with a very high-profile client to discuss how your services can make their lives easier when all of a sudden you notice your arms are folded and your shoulders are up to your ears in anxiety. The client tells you one thing. 

Breathe. 

You breathe and let out the wound-up emotions you were carrying in your shoulders.

Be aware of how you are holding yourself in front of others. If you are nervous, find a way to combat that by folding your hands in front of you or gently holding on to your trusty pen. Lean forward into your speaker to indicate your interest in the topic at hand, and don’t cross your arms which appear closed off and guarded.

This silent but strong body posture of placing your shoulders back and holding your head high will help you feel confident and transfer that power in your back to your clients. 

So when in doubt, don’t slouch it out.

#4. Backchanneling

Backchanneling is the part of the conversation where you let your audience know they are being understood. This doesn’t mean you are in agreement with what they say, but that you are intentionally following the conversation.

If you follow backchanneling during the conversation, you can better understand if the message is getting lost or not having the intended impact. When this happens follow-up with your audience to see if you need to rework your messaging or repeat what you said.

Backchanneling usually involves mmhs and uh huhs, or even a subtle head nod every few words. This helps whoever you’re meeting to know you are not confused and they can carry on with the discussion.

This tactic can be used for any part of the marketing for your business. Whether it’s meeting with clients, sponsors or your audience during a webinar, backchanneling motivates the speaker to get speaking and shows great listening skills. 

Great communication skills and supportive listening opens the door to new ideas, understanding needs of those around you and increased human connection. 

#5. Tone of Voice

Your voice matters…or at least the pitch does. It is important to find the right balance between a low octave and a high tone of voice to make an impact.

Let’s say you are a consulting company and you are sending a video message to all prospective and current clients, your tone will dictate the receptiveness of your message. If your tone is too monotone your audience will drift off or not take any action. If you aren’t excited about your services why should they be?

If you are energetic, your message comes to life and your audience will be encouraged to take a look at your services.

Your tone is a guide to the validity of your services and the effectiveness of your brand messaging. Don’t want a boring brand? Use a vibrant voice to get the results you want.

Have you ever heard the phrase “It’s not what you say, but how you say it”? Your team and clients pick up on sarcasm, anger, or downright boredom instantly. Before you speak be sure to think about how you want your audience to feel and follow through on it with the appropriate tone of voice. 

Takeaways About Nonverbal Roles of Communication

Words are just a small piece of communication, and if you don’t excel at understanding the power of body language you will miss the big picture. This can negatively impact employee and client relationships.

Words matter, but knowing that is a small piece to the big puzzle.

Now you’ll know how to recognize the conversations where a dominant personality is controlling the dialogue and you can step in and redirect it to the quieter individuals on the chat. 

You will be able to pick up on the disinterest of others and even your own lack of excitement. 

Being aware of these signals allows everyone to have a voice, stay engaged, and contribute to a healthy online or face to face environment.

Pick up on the cues and get results.

Here at Wayward Kind, we are all about creating concrete strategies that help you communicate effectively with your clients. Our team is ready to help you get results that matter.

Let’s get to work.

We can help you master your digital marketing strategy with CRO tips. Our team of strategists are experts at understanding you and your audience. Whether it’s setting up Google Analytics, or creating great landing pages, Wayward Kind is all about action. Ready to convert to a mindful marketing strategy? Contact us today!

Author Jaz Adams

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