Unless you are a master of disguise, you are constantly sending messages about your true thoughts and feelings whether you are using words or not.
Studies show that your words account for only 7% of the message you convey. The remaining 93% is non-verbal; 55% of communication is based on what people see and 38% is transmitted through tone of voice.
In the dealership setting, people can see what you are saying and not saying. If your body language doesn't match your words, you are wasting your time.
Here are some tips for making sure that you convey the message you want others to see and hear:
When you are looking at the other person, you show interest. When you fail to make eye contact, you give the impression that the other person is of no importance. Maintain eye contact about 60% of the time in order to look interested, but not aggressive.
A smile sends a positive message and is appropriate in all but a life and death situation. Smiling adds warmth and an aura of confidence. Others will be more receptive if you remember to check your expression.
Movements, such as pursing your lips or twisting them to one side, can indicate that you are thinking about what you are hearing or that you are holding something back.
The position of your head
Keeping your head straight, which is not the same as keeping your head on straight, will make you appear self-assured and authoritative. People will take you seriously. If you want to come across as friendly and open, tilt your head to one side.
Where you place your arms
Arms crossed or folded over your chest say that you have shut other people out and have no interest in them or what they are saying. This position can also say, “I don't agree with you.” You might just be cold, but unless you shiver at the same time, the person in front of you may get the wrong message.
How you use your arms
Waving them about may show enthusiasm to some, but others see this gesture as one of uncertainty and immaturity. The best place for your arms is by your side. You will look confident and relaxed. If this is hard for you, do what you always do when you want to get better at something: practice. It will soon feel natural.
The angle of your body
Leaning in says, ”Tell me more.” Leaning away signals you've heard enough. Nodding affirms you are listening.
Sit or stand erect if you want to be seen as alert and enthusiastic. When you slump in your chair or lean on the wall, you look tired. No one wants to do business with someone who has no energy.
Control your hands
In the business world, particularly when you deal with people from other cultures, your hands need to be seen. Keep them out of your pockets. Resist the urge to put them under the table or behind your back. But having your hands anywhere above the neck, fidgeting with your hair or rubbing your face is unprofessional.
A lot of movement indicates nervousness. How and where you cross them tells others how you feel. The preferred positions for the polished professional are feet flat on the floor or legs crossed at the ankles. The least professional: resting one leg or ankle on top of your other knee. It can make you look arrogant.
You may not be aware of what you are saying with your body, but others will get the message. Make sure it's the one you want to send.
Lydia Ramsey is an etiquette expert and author with 30 years experience in helping companies and individuals achieve success through professional manners. Go to ww.mannersthatsell.com for more information on her books and seminars.