Tag Archive for Sentences

Verbal And Paraverbal Cues

At times verbal and paraverbal cues betray the liar and these are cues tied directly to the words in which they speak. Although they fall outside the realm of body language at large, they do complete this chapter with regards to cues associated with deception which is why they have been included. These cues are, as always, related to the stress of fibbing so can be confused with nervousness of any other source. Some however are the direct consequences of lying such as the telling of an implausible story or using more negative comments or statements, which has been shown to increase during lying.

Here are the cues to deception as they relate to our verbal dialogue: Vocal tension, hectic speech, faltering speech, improper structure or grammar, implausible story, inconsistent story, superfluous details, describing feelings rather than events such as “I felt this way when I did this” or “I must have felt this way because of this” etc, adding qualifying statement such as “This is what I am about to say” then saying it, word or phrase repetition, using less contractions saying “I did not” instead of “I didn’t”, using the persons name in sentences instead of saying “he” or “she”, for example “Bill went to the store” rather than “He went to the store”, the use of clichés, blocking access to information, evasive responses or desire to change the subject, speech is less compelling, less personal and with less or too much detail, expressing self doubt, negative complaints or statements, defensiveness or aggressiveness, changes in pitch (high low or monotone), shaky or soft voice, stuttering, false starts, silent pauses, filled pauses, delayed response, appearing to be thinking, admitted lack of memory, tentative construction of sentences, clearing the throat and spontaneous corrections.

How To Signal I’m Here To Help But Not Be Your Friend – Some Tips For Salespeople

There will be times when we’ll need to tell people that we are there for them, but at the same time, not overstep their boundaries. One of those times is when we act as salespeople where we want to appear helpful but not overly friendly. When dealing with the public especially in retail, we need to adopt a different style of body language than we would with close friends.

When we sell, we need to convey “I’m here to help” so we should convey alertness and motivation, but the message isn’t “I’m your friend” and we should maybe go for a drink sometime to catch up. We’ve all seen good sales people who meet you with a smile, but what is an effective smile in a retail scenario? If we smile too big, we come across as too friendly which can turn some people off. Instead we should perform a slight smile with brief eye contact. This shows them that we’ve noticed them, and are willing and able to engage any questions or need for assistance they might have. Eye contact should be non-threatening and non-challenging. Eye contact combined with our anchoring smile tells the consumer that we are employees, and that we are there to serve them. Your body should show that you are confident and assertive primarily to serve the company you work for, as you have agreed to a certain level of responsibility.

The next step is to identify the type of client you are working for. Some clients prefer to look around on their own and not be bothered and others want and even need to be directed. Others yet, will prefer a mixture of the two, especially after they have identified a product of interest. We know someone is comfortable shopping by themselves because they use sentences such as “Just browsing” or “Having a look around”. Someone that wants more direct help will immediately find a clerk and ask lots of questions and express their needs and general interests. If they don’t find what they want immediately, they will hang around a clerk, or leave altogether if they don’t get the service they require.

Clients that are short and hurried with their verbal language, who make very little or no small talk and speak only of the products of interest, only want to get their items and leave. They won’t want to interact on a personal level or chat about the weather or other such affairs. This is a fine stance in a customer and should be respected. These types of people won’t even see you as a being human, rather, they will see you as a means to their end. We identify these people because they seem to look ‘through’ or over you and seem extremely focused on the product. They will give no rapport signals and very little facial expressions. As a salesperson you should hold a neutral body position and stay relatively expressions and avoid trying to engage them on other levels besides that which directly involves the sale. In other words, sell the product and it’s features rather than yourself. Push them through the product selection quickly, talk about their pro’s and con’s and check them out as efficiently as possible, and you will make them happy.

“Friendly” clients will want something wholly different. They will begin to chat with you, express eye contact and might even touch to establish more rapport. Often the conversation will start off on an item then move onto something much less centered, it could evolve into family, sports or events. For these clients, the relationship is very important so with these types of client mirror their body language and use plenty of eye contact in effort to make them feel comfortable and as if they are speaking to a friend. This type of client is seeking to buy the entire experience including the salesperson and will often buy just because they liked the salesperson. This client requires the salesperson to sell “themselves” as part of the package.

A third type of client is the “follower.” He or she will want the salesperson to take charge. This client is usually unfamiliar with the buying process, or they are unsure of what they are looking for. These types of people stand out to us especially in situations like airports because it is such a confusing affair. They will ask specific questions but these questions might be inappropriate because he or she is not totally familiar with the subject matter. This client will show submissive body language as they try to protect themselves from embarrassment and show willingness to follow someone in charge. Followers will show timidity and nervousness at times, and take up less space than normal. Sometimes confident clients appear to be followers, but they only appear so because they are in a novel environment, or are beginning to shop for an item they don’t have much knowledgeable about. Confident people won’t show such submissive gesture at all, but will otherwise show a desire to follow the salesperson by their verbal language. Confident, ill-informed buyers will still tend to closely hang onto the salesperson like a “follower”, not because they require hand-holding, but rather because they wish to be sold directly and will purchase if enough information is provided.

The final type of client is the “dominator.” They will immediately stare you down and make strong eye contact. They will be suspicious of the salespersons motives and want to maintain control because they fear being taken advantage of. The dominator’s voice will be firm with neutral or negative facial expressions. This client might move into the salespersons personal space and try to intimidate them or they may intrude over a counter or place a bag or coat on it. They may be grabby and use touch to influence the salesperson. In this situation, the salesperson should remain neutral or positive and not mirror the client’s body language or conflict may escalate. Negative body language such as this is usual for someone with a specific complaint. Instead of fighting their language stay pleasant and hear them out trying to show empathy for their situation even if you aren’t actually able to do anything about it. At times, dropping dominant signals can help, slumping the head and shoulders shows that we are willing to submit to them. Sometimes winning the battle includes feigning loss and conceding to their demands.

Silent Speech Has Flow

How is the flow of your body language?

How is the flow of your body language?

Body language is like verbal and written language; it has structure. Body language flows, it has its own rhythm, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation. Some gesture are single letters which join with others to form words right on up to formulate full sentences and phrases until we finally reach full ideas and meaning. Part of the way things come together is connected to congruence, meaning that the overall body of language comes together seamlessly. Just like someone might have poor written grammar, some people have poor nonverbal language, sometimes even dramatically so leading to even more drastic consequences.

We are all born understanding the basics of body language and have the minds to master it, but none of us are born ready emitting perfect body language. Instead we learn body language like we learn to speak, by observation and practice. ‘Naturals’, as it were, may only exist because instead of ignoring body language like most people do, they bring it to consciousness early on and follow successful example around them. Their minds are subconsciously prepared to imitate good postures and appear in control and confident. As we will see, good body language isn’t something you are either born with, or must be without forever. It can be learned.

I recall a time when my wife and I were visiting a fellow who was giving away a second hand washing machine which would I would use for a rental apartment. His body language made him appear inept and he came across as awkward. He’d cross his arms when I was talking and when I’d make a point, he would do his best to contradict me. He’d lean in too close and his body odor was overpowering. This person had no reason to be dishonest, he explained that he needed the space in his house for another project. We took the machine because at the time we needed it, however since he gave us such a negative impression we still don’t know, to this day, if the machine works or not. I’ve never hooked it up or used it! My wife and I got a terrible impression of the guy and the feeling attached itself to everything about him including his free washer. It didn’t affect us while we were there, but as soon as we left, we were able to verbalize reasons for storing, instead of using the machine. We simply didn’t trust that the machine would work properly despite his verbal assurances, and instead of taking the energy to move it into the basement to test it, we stored it in the garage and purchased a new set. His body language told us that something must be wrong with the washing machine, that perhaps it ruined clothing or leaked and he just wanted some sucker to help him dispose of the machine. Other people who aren’t studied in body language but finding themselves in a similar situation would have concluded that their ‘gut feeling’ was off. Since I could read his cues, it was obvious to me why I didn’t trust him, but I did have to explain to my wife why she felt so uneasy.

This story illustrates the point about the strength of nonverbal body language and how salient and important it is. Even though the result was at no cost to him (and little cost to me), if he had been a commissioned salesman, or salesman of any sort, he would have lost the deal with certainty.


Honest hands - palms up, but what happens next?

Honest hands – palms up, but what happens next?

Hands return to pockets indicate dishonesty and is incongruent with the intended meaning.

Hands return to pockets indicate dishonesty and is incongruent with the intended meaning.

The word congruence, as it relates to body language, refers to the degree to which body language cues in a person matches one another in terms of their meaning. If, for example, one is speaking honestly with the palms up (an honest gesture) we can say that the body language and verbal language are congruent. That is, honest words match up with honest body language. A child with their hands in their pockets (dishonest gesture) speaking about how they didn’t steal a cookie is incongruent since their body language does not match their verbal language.

We regularly place more importance on what words are used rather than how others gestures in their delivery, but this is a mistake. When we don’t have congruency and the verbal language doesn’t match the nonverbal gestures we should always place more importance on the nonverbal channel. Credence should almost always be given to nonverbal language over spoken words since the research tells us that it is often more accurate. When people plan lies they often rehearse the sentences and in what sequence they will deliver them, but they often ignore or disregard gestures that will accompany them. While we monitor our spoken words, our unconsciousness can leak unwanted information through our bodies. However, even if people were consciously aware that their body language gave them away, they would not know what to do since most people are completely unaware of the meaning their body conveys.

Politicians can leak information through congruency and this can give them away, although most politicians today are quite learned in body language. We should be suspicious of politicians, however, when they have their arms tightly folded against their chest while saying that they are open to change or to a door-to-door salesman that swears his life on a product but wipes downward with his hand as if to clear the lie. Another example is the cheating husband who tries to pass off a late meeting and then pulls at his neck tie, collar or scratch his neck indicating stress.

Sometimes however, knowledge about body language just comes off as less expressiveness. The body language thus tends to be much more controlled and subdued because it’s much easier to eliminate body language altogether then it is to add honest body language. However, even reduced expressiveness helps us read people because a relaxed and natural politician is more likely to be telling the truth. Therefore, even reserved body language can be a ‘tell’ to those who are in tune. Congruency therefore, is very important because it is a clear comparison between two communication channels, the verbal and nonverbal. When words are mismatched against the body language, we can be sure something dishonest is at play and these hints should instigate us, at minimum, to pay closer attention.