In the '80s, budding salesmen and entrepreneurs were taught how to take control of meetings with powerful body language techniques These included gems like the power shake, where they fought to get their hand on top in the shake, and the eye-stare, where you engaged your victim in an eye-contact stand-off with the loser being the one who looked away first These are now quite rightly deemed corny and too much like testosterone-fuelled posturing to have a place in modern life . However, there are subtler bonding and influencing techniques you can use to get better results from any meeting, conversation or transaction and I've listed them below
Warning: It's very easy to get overexcited at the thought of using subliminal bonding techniques, but don't! These tips are to be used subtly; the minute you exaggerate them you get shown a yellow card for crassness above and beyond the call of duty Now before I let you in on a few trade secrets repeat after me: "I must remember to be subtle. I must remember to be subtle. I must remember to be subtle." I Postural echo, postural congruence, or mirroring. Like-bodied tends to look like-minded, so when in doubt just pick up on your partner or fellow speaker's body posture and pace and copy it What you're doing is mimicking the natural behavior of close friends who will automatically mimic one another when they meet or are in conversation If you like someone, you try to be like them, too This technique is called postural echo, mirroring, or mimicry It's a bit like walking up to someone who's already dancing and joining in with them You match the pace of their movement and their overall position and mood . To get this right you need to be subtle, though. What you don't do is create a perfect mirror image because they'll think you're making fun of them. Do work on this before you use it. It's good to rehearse with a friend and get him or her to let you know when your mirroring is becoming too obvious I Pacing and leading . This is über powerful stuff that also requires a light and deft touch to make it effective . You talk with someone who is in a state that you find unproductive . Either they are too shy or closed, or they appear nervous or too anxious . You begin by slightly mirroring their pose and/or energy . Then as you speak with them you begin to move your own body language into the state you want them to be in This means beginning to open out if you started with your arms folded in a barrier, or slowly calming down if you began by mirroring their jittery nerves, anger, or anxiety. By gradually altering your own state, having started from theirs, you should be able to lead them to the same state you end in. Again, practice this one in a safe environment because it's hard to do consciously I Transfix. When your customer goes off the point or keeps trying to change the subject, you can use a transfix to get them back to the point. This is where your body language pose holds when you've been interrupted to show a desire to get back to your point when they've finished I Intentional gestures or announcements . These gestures tend to mime a partial movement, like slightly raising your hand when you want to speak at a meeting, sitting slightly forward when you want to interrupt; alerting signals, where you use an eye-flash (quick, meaningful glance), take off glasses, or clear your throat, and so on; or even body-guides, where you pat or touch someone subtly to steer them I Back-channel signals . These are subtle ways of steering a conversation via nodding to encourage or changing your pace or looking around a room to end a conversation and signal a desire to move on
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