by Anneli Thomson, Managing Director, July 2014
Deliberately or not, we all have perceptions of the other person. Right or wrong, it happens. Our perception is based on three things: the words we use, the tonality of our speech and our body language. People judge other people initially from what they observe… and prospects do it to you. So what perception are you building with potential new customers?
Body language accounts for 55% of your communication. Based on how you hold yourself, others will determine if they like or trust you. It could be how you shake hands, your posture, your facial expressions, the formality of your dress or even your confidence.
Tonality makes up 38% of your communication. It’s about how you enunciate, the pace and speed of your speech, and your accent. If you’ve ever been verbally assaulted by someone who spoke at a 100 miles a minute and felt confused because you couldn’t understand the person, that’s bad communication. Or if someone was slow and monotone, it may have been so distracting that you simply didn’t listen.
Finally the words come into play. But they only account for 7% of communication. Yet we all have our own way of expressing ourselves with special words and phrases that have meaning for us. So do our clients.
Have you ever been trying to talk to someone who seemed distracted and wasn’t actively listening to you? Has someone’s posture indicated to you that they aren’t interested in what you’re saying? Have you ever had someone misunderstand what you meant to communicate because of the way you said something?
Most likely, we have all been in one of these situations. Sometimes we may forget to consciously adjust our communication styles. Some of us have bad habits we don’t realize go with us into the sales meeting. It may be that we aren’t even aware of the way we hold ourselves or say things.
Do any of these issues affect your business development goals?
To be a professional communicator, you must adjust your communication style (body language, tonality and words) to that of your prospect. By doing this, the prospect will feel more comfortable with you. They’ll have a more familiar feeling and will be more inclined to spend time and information with you.
You actually do this now. Watch two friends at a restaurant, at a concert, sitting on the back deck. They will be in sync. They have a bond based on common communication styles and the conversation flows freely.
Why not be a professional communicator at work and use the same communication style as your prospect?