Have you ever had the feeling that someone to whom you are talking would rather be elsewhere than with you, even though he or she seems to be enjoying your company? A still photograph of that scene would probably reveal the following: (1) The person's head is turned towards you and facial signals such as smiling and nodding are evident. (2) The person's body and feet are pointing away from you, either towards another person or towards an exit. The direction in which a person points his or her torso or feet is a signal of where he or she would prefer to be going.

Figure 139 shows two men talking in a doorway. The man on the left is trying to hold the other man's attention, but his listener wishes to continue in the direction to which his body is pointing, although his head is turned to acknowledge the other man's presence. It is only when the man on the right turns his body towards the other that a mutually interesting conversation can take place.

It is noticeable that often in negotiations, when one person has decided to terminate the negotiation or wants to leave, he will turn his body or swing his feet to point towards the nearest exit. If you see these signals during a face-to-face encounter, you should do something to get the person involved and interested or else terminate the conversation on your terms, which allows you to maintain the control.

Continue reading here: Open Formation

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