I was talking to a friend of mine who lives in the UK last week (Ahh the joys of modern technology – both sound and sight!). There is no denying it, times are really tough there at the moment. But she was quite disgusted that the company she works for has organised training for most of their staff to upgrade their body language.
At first I couldn’t see the reason behind it, and then it clicked. There is a very old saying that in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king. A bit non-PC perhaps, but it indicates that the one with the advantage will be more likely to succeed. Likewise, in times of doom and gloom the ones with a positive attitude are going to be more believable.
There are many telling us that talking the economy down is counterproductive, and I have no real understanding of economics but I can agree that if you want to persuade people to invest or to increase spending you are not going to convince them that the time is right unless you act as if you believe it. So my friend’s company is training their staff in the tricks of positive body language to ensure that they exude an air of confidence when dealing with clients.
It makes sense when you understand that it is often the unspoken communication that influences our client’s decisions, the sub-text of our conversations. Sitting with our arms crossed and leaning back can give the impression that we are uptight, and possibly shutting ourselves off from the person we are speaking with. People who do not really believe the message they are giving can often sit this way. The subtle message to the listener is “Don’t believe me – It’s not true”.
Contrast that with a person who sits forward, maintains eye contact and uses positive reinforcing body language. The listener here gets the impression that not only are the signs positive but that the speaker is convinced himself that his words are true.
So perhaps my friend’s company has something going for them. If what we need in times of uncertainty are some indications of positivity, we probably help ourselves by creating a positive outlook in ourselves. Confidence breeds confidence, and as Trischel says, with confidence comes success; we have also been known to say “fake it ‘til you make it’. Sometimes we need to act as if it were so before we can make it so.
So let’s give it a go! Even if the times are tough we can act confident; confident in our abilities and the ability of our company to weather the storm.
Sometimes it’s not what we do rather it’s the way that we do it.
Michele @ Trischel