If you are an entrepreneur or a salesperson, it is your job to set the tone in the sales meeting. Most salespeople completely ignore their body language (e.g., the way that they carry themselves and the way they make someone feel).
You are actually a performer. If you’re in sales or if you’re responsible for pitching, you are on center stage. You are in the spotlight, and those who you’re performing in front of and those who you’re communicating to, you want to have them feel a certain way. They are along for the ride, whether those people love you and trust you or actually hate you and despise you. It all comes down to the subconscious micro-decisions that everyone makes as they are judging you.
Your body language is something that you need to get comfortable and familiar with and take control of because, ultimately, if your body language doesn’t match what you were saying, people will not trust you. Here are the five ways to make body language your superpower.
1. Decide how you want to be seen.
Whether you’re going out on a sales call or people are coming to you, you actually have control of the very first image that people have of you. You’re a performer. While you’re on stage with the curtains pulled back, how do you look? Are you hunched over your phone sitting down, texting people? Are you standing confidently? Are you looking out the window, thinking what a great day it is? When they come up to you, do you turn and enthusiastically say, “Hey there!” How do you want to be seen?
If you walk into a lobby and the other person tells you to sit but you don’t want to sit, don’t sit down. You don’t have to sit down because they told you to. Stay standing. Stay strong.
Perhaps you’re worried because you don’t know what the person you’re meeting with looks like. You look ahead, and suddenly, you’re making eye contact with all these random people, and they keep walking by and don’t look. The best thing to do is to stay standing. Perhaps look out the window, or do something on your phone, but stand straight even if you’re not doing anything. Decide how you want to be seen and project that.
2. Make every movement counts when you are meeting with someone for the first time.
You have to make every movement count. You have to have an understanding of what you want your energy to be. When someone says, “How are you doing?” my response is usually “I am great. How are you doing?” It perks them up. I could be having a great day, or I can be having a terrible day, but what’s the point of me starting off by saying, “You know, the traffic was terrible” or “The rain outside was nuts,” or “My daughter has the flu. She got up last night. She threw up all over the bed. I didn’t even sleep well.” Does any of that stuff matter? Now, I just say, “I am great. How are you doing?” That is the energy I want to set. When I meet a prospect for the first time, I don’t want to be hunched over or nervous or shuffling. I want to think and feel that I am great. When I shake a person’s hand, they know whether it’s a firm handshake or it’s a little bit soft. Whatever you do, make that movement count.
When walking into a room, I always take a few steps forward and open the door and then let the person go through. This isn’t a serious thing. This isn’t life or death. We have to talk about exciting, fun, new things. Let’s carry that energy with us, and let’s make sure that every movement actually supports the feeling, tone, and energy of everything that we’re doing.
3. Use your posture to set the tone.
Okay, if you’re at the meeting (be it at the customer’s kitchen table or in the boardroom), you can use your posture to set the tone of the meeting from the start. You can set how you want it to feel in the middle and how you want it to end. You want to set a relaxed tone. Once you sit down, go ahead and feel relaxed. Lean back and cross your legs. You want them to know that you’re present. Lean forward. Sit on the edge of your seat. Lean over the table. You want them to know that you’re actually stopping for a moment and considering something. Maybe lean back in your chair. Look away. Yeah, you want them to know that you’re excited. Get up out of the chair. You are in complete control over the feeling and the tone of the meeting. You need to use everything that you have to say it. If you’re scared, if you’re nervous, if your hand is shaking, you need to literally use your physiology. Tony Robbins says you need to change your physical state in order to get into the energy that you want to set.
4. Watch your expressions.
I don’t have a poker face. If I’m in a meeting with someone and someone says something that I think is pretty dumb, I can’t help showing some facial expressions, and I didn’t even know this. I was running my business for like a decade before some clients called me and said, “Mark, you gotta watch your face. You know, we were in this meeting, and someone on the phone said something, and I was watching you. I think it’s hilarious, but you were making a face.” I just couldn’t help it.
So now I have to consider whether or not I look engaged. Am I nodding along? Am I deep in thought with you? Am I excited? Can you tell that I think what you’re saying is stupid? You know, if you have a poker face, awesome. You got to watch your expressions because your expressions will convey exactly what you’re thinking.
5. Use your entire space.
A lot of people feel like they’re stuck at the kitchen table or they’re stuck in the chair at the boardroom. You have your entire space. If you want to illustrate a point, then go ahead and get up and walk over to the screen or the projector and point at it. You have the entire space. I wave my hands around when I speak in front of an audience. If I was just sitting and talking and not moving a lot the whole time, then it wouldn’t have the same energy. I love talking with my hands. That’s just me.
Tap into your own personal skills. Most salespeople and entrepreneurs don’t even think about breaking the structure of sitting across from someone. If you want excitement, then you have to look and feel excited. If you ask the person across from you something and they start to lean forward and they start to think that’s interesting, use that momentum. Get up. Go to the screen. Go to the whiteboard. Jump out of your chair. Lean forward. Wave your hands. Use your entire space because that will convey how engaged you are in the country.
Ultimately, how you carry yourself can make or break the conversations that you have with prospects and the meetings that you have with your clients, teams, and pitches. Improve and work on these skills and come to understand how much of this is really a performance, and you will not only have better conversations but also a lot more fun. It’s going to be more enjoyable. Your confidence will go up, and with that, you will naturally close more deals.