Your nonverbal communication is between 60-93% of your total communication. It’s essential that your nonverbal communication is spot on if you want to sell something effectively, so make sure you don’t commit any of these 5 blunders!
#1 Too much/too little eye contact
People hold eye contact for 60-70% of the time in a normal conversation. By having eye contact you show that you’re listening and that you understand the other person. When your eye contact drops below 60%, people will consider you uninterested or inattentive. This, of course, is not the message that you want to convey when you’re trying to build rapport to sell something.
On the other hand, you shouldn’t be making too much eye contact either. Making too much eye contact can make you seem creepy and make the other person feel uneasy. Instead, stay in the ideal range of 60-70%.
A mismatch happens when you’re saying A and nonverbally showing B. You could, for example, nod while saying no. Even if your words are extremely convincing, if you’re fidgeting or not making enough eye contact, a prospect won’t buy from you because your verbal and nonverbal aren’t congruent.
#3 Bad handshake
A solid handshake is a very important part of a conversation. Research has shown that a handshake is worth up to 3 hours of face-to-face time! This means it’s very important that you have the handshake nailed, so you’re able to build connection with that individual. The right way to do it is by holding your hand in a vertical position, making eye contact and applying as much pressure as the person you’re meeting.
Applying too much pressure in a handshake will anger other people or make them uneasy. They may consider you dominant or too aggressive by your strong grip. Similarly, a grip that’s not strong enough should be avoided. People may think that you don’t have any spine or character.
Unsure about your handshake? Practice with a trusted coworker or friend and give each other honest feedback.
Whether you’re playing with a pen, adjusting your hair or shuffling your papers, fidgeting is a big no-no. By doing this, you’re nonverbally showing that you’re not entirely comfortable. How is a potentially already unsure prospect going to buy from you if you’re not showing confidence? The prospect will wonder what exactly you’re uncertain about: your sales pitch, the product, the service, or yourself?
#5 Too much nodding
When the client or prospect is talking, you want to nod along every once in a while to show you’re engaged and interested. This is something we do automatically to show we’re listening. Some people nod too much though. They will almost start to resemble one of those dashboard dogs or bobbleheads who just keep nodding. You don’t want to be that person who is always nodding “yes”. People may think you’re making fun of them or that you’re in a hurry. As with all things body language related, nodding falls on a spectrum; make sure you’re not doing it too much or too little.
Ninja tip: nod three times slowly when the other person is talking. This is the nonverbal signal for “keep going”. By doing this, you can get them to tell you 3-4 times more than they normally would. And by getting that extra information or those extra answers, you can serve your client or prospect better!
Want to learn more about nonverbal communication? Check out our latest book Captivate!
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As a human behavior investigator, Vanessa Van Edwards studies the hidden forces that drive our behavior patterns in her lab—and she’s cracked the code. In Captivate she shares a wealth of valuable shortcuts, systems and behavior hacks for taking charge of their interactions at work, at home, and in any social situation. These aren’t the people skills you learned in school. This is the first comprehensive, science backed, real life manual on human behavior and a completely new approach to building connections.
This guest post is by one of our body language experts in training: Michiel Andreae from The Netherlands. He loves to teach people how to improve their communication skills through body language and to coach people to make better use of their nonverbal skills. Find him on Twitter.