Body Language for Business Archives - Body Language Australia

So how do we sell (ourselves) better

I believe that some level we are ‘pitching’ or selling every day.

Daniel Pink in his book ;To Sell Is Human’ is in agreement.

So how do we sell (ourselves) better – to bosses, team members, clients and customers, to our partners and even our children?

Some of the answers are to be found in the famous ‘Shark Tank’ show.

So what is it that defines the Shark Tank winners and losers – what is it that stands the winners apart?

And can normal, mere mortals like us learn and use these strategies?

Thankfully the answer is a resounding YES – watch the video or read the transcript to learn more



Hi, it’s Diederik Gelderman here. Have you heard of Shark Tank? You probably have. It’s one of the most successful TV shows on the planet.

In many countries now, they have their own version of Shark Tank.

In Shark Tank, there’s someone who is pitching their idea, and in fact, pitching themselves to three potential investors. Does that scenario sound familiar?

When you’re talking to the people who work with at work; you’re pitching your ideas, you’re pitching yourself to those people who you work with. Whether you’re an employee or a boss, in fact, you’re always pitching to someone at work.

And, if you’re a salesperson… look at the end of the day—Daniel Pink wrote a book saying We’re Always Selling, a really good book; have a read of it.

So at the end of the day, we are in fact, always selling. Whether we’re selling to a client or a customer, or whether we’re selling in some sort of other scenario, we’re all sales people so we’re always pitching something to someone.

If you’re a parent you’re pitching your ideas, your philosophy to your kids and you’re hoping that you do a better job at pitching your ideas and philosophies to your kids than the drug dealer down the road or the gangs up the street.

I won’t say we’re pitching every minute of our lives but we’re certainly spending a considerable amount of our lives pitching, and therefore, I think the Shark Tank scenario is really, really, really important.

As you know, they’re pitching and they’re doing it professionally and it’s worth millions of dollars to the pitcher—to the person doing the pitch if the investor takes them up.

So, I thought it was really worthwhile looking at the difference between the Shark Tank winners and the Shark Tank losers, if will, to see what’s the difference between a good pitch and a not-so-good pitch.

In 2016, there were 495 investors who came to Shark Tank and did their pitches, and of that, 253 people got the deal and 242 didn’t. It’s about a 50-50 split.

The organization that I work with The Science of People, through which I’m certified, looked at all those pitches in great detail and looked at three components of those pictures; body language, business strategies and the psychological effects.

Body language is a really important part of our communication, and sixty percent or more of our communication is through body language, the non-verbal. Over sixty percent is non-verbal.

  1. The first non-verbal component of our communication, the non-verbal component includes body language; so that’s facial expressions, gestures and posture – how you stand, how you walk etc.
  1. The second component of the non-verbal is your vocal tone, not what you say but how you say it. Timbre, pitch, cadence, how quickly you speak, etc.
  1. Then the third component is or are your ornaments; tie, necklace, jewellery, watches, rings, hat, what clothes you wear, style etc. 

So, that’s what was analysed. Let’s go through and have a look at some specifics on that.

First of all, I want to talk about mathematical problems.

64% of the ‘No’ deals had a math problem in the pitch, and 32% of the ‘Yes’ deals, only 32% of the ‘Yes’ deals, had a math problem in it. Do you see something here, a pattern perhaps?

If you’re pitching to someone and you include a mathematical problem, something for them to work out physically in their head or on a calculator, if there’s a Math problem involved, you’re only 1/3 as likely to have a ‘Yes’ response from the person that you’re pitching yourself to. It’s a good idea not to include Math problems.

The second thing is a grand entrance.

How you walk towards that person, how you present as you’re walking towards the person you’re pitching to is really important.

And specifically in Shark Tank, when the people doing the pitch came into the area where the Sharks were sitting, the bulk of the winners smiled and nodded as they were walking down the ‘runway.

So, when you’re approaching someone that you’re pitching to, it really is ultra-important that you smile and nod and not just when you get REALLY close to them. Start nodding and smiling when you’re well and truly just walking in – a long distance away – smile and nod.

Your ‘grand’ entrance is really important, and there are a number of TED talks on this topic and you can look up exactly how to make a grand entrance.

I’m going to suggest you nod to the people as you walk in, you have your hands visible and exposed, you stand square on both legs, shoulders back, erect, head up, chin up and that will make you look much, much, much more confident and therefore you’re more likely to be trusted.

Speaking of trust, we move on to factor number three.

Let me ask you this, what part of someone’s body do you notice first, or does anyone notice first when they’re approaching you?

When I ask that question in a in a forum, in front of a group where I’m doing some body language training, most of the time people say, “Oh, we notice their smile,” or, “We notice their eyes.”

Yes, you do notice the smile, you do notice their eyes, you do notice how they look and stand, but the first thing you notice is these hands, visible hands.

This goes back to our caveman days, and if you’re a cave man or a cave woman sitting around the fire looking after the kids and someone came over the hill a little distance away, the first thing you’d notice is were their hands empty or was there something in their hands like a club or a spear.

If their hands were hidden behind their back, your brain starts to scream at you, “They may have a club back there. They may not be trustworthy. Be careful.” So, this goes way, way back to caveman days.

Studies with juries in courtroom trials showed that when a defendant had his or her hands under the desk and the juries could not see those hands, the juries were more likely to regard that person as being guilty.

It’s really, really important that when you’re making your entrance that you keep your hands visible, and then when you’re directly communicating with that person, you have your hands visible as well – and also expressive.

These hand movements of mine, it’s just the way I’ve always done it a little too much. And I have, probably, jazz hands, I’m a little bit too all over the place with my hands, and it can be a little bit distracting.

The ideal place to have / use your hands is in a square box, about as wide as  shoulder width, in front of your torso, and you move your hands in that space. That is the ideal place to have your hands.

No hand movements at all are also very disconcerting. There’s quite a few good TED talks on this too, where they’ve studied the number of views of similar videos and similar TED talks and the people who get the highest number of TED talk ratings or watches, whatever you want to call it, have twice as many hand movements as similar topics in which there are not many hand movements.

Studies also show that when you examine the comprehension…so, let’s assume I’m a teacher or a lecturer, or we’re sitting around the table talking about whatever we’re talking about, and if I’m passing information on, and you were then examined on all that information at the end of the talk, if I’m using hand movements you’ll retain, comprehend, understand, internalize twice as much as if I don’t use my hands.

Using your hands almost adds an extra dimension and an extra layer of understanding to the communication, so it is really important to use your hands.

The number four strategy from the Shark Tank strategies was to be interactive.

When the person’s selling themselves to the Sharks, or selling their ideas to the Sharks, when they gave the Sharks something to do, something to taste, something to hold, something to feel, something to touch, when they engaged the Sharks – now 81% of the winners were interactive with the Sharks.

Same thing for you, when you’re pitching yourself, pitching ideas, whether that’s to your employees, to whether that’s to your co-workers, whether that’s to your kids, be interactive.

The fifth thing they found out was that the more successful pitchers has a story behind the pitch.

The story is king, and your story is too…and if you’re pitching yourself to, say, a bank or an organization like that, tell your story about why you would be a good relationship for them to have, what brought you to where you are and why they should agree with you etc.

If you’re selling yourself in a job interview, and that’s a pitch, again tell your story.

The take-home message is to find a story, tell the story, engage the person or the people that you’re talking to with that story. It works really, really, really well, and it will increase your ‘sales’, if you want to call it that.

Number six is confidence.

There are some studies that were done by Harvard Business School, and these are really interesting studies.

They took a number of young men and women, and they asked them to sit for job interviews. Now, these job interviews were actually mock interviews, but the young adults, teenagers early 20s, they thought that was sitting for a real job interview.

The Harvard Business School asked the interviewers, to judge these young people on their overall performance, on their presence and on their likeability, trustability, that sort of thing.

The young people were broken up into two groups — so, this is all about confidence, remember…

One group was asked to stand for two minutes in a power body-language pose, so a power pose. That’s standing like Superman or Batwoman; take up space have a big physical presence. You can do it in the bathroom for example, where no one could see you, you can even get an old style broadsheet newspaper and hold it out like you’re reading it, that’s having exactly the same ‘power’ stance.

Half the people were asked to stand in a stance like that, and that was their preparation for the interview.

The other half weren’t told to do anything specific.

All three ratings were much, much, much higher in the young people that had stood in the power pose, or power stance for two minutes than the other group.

Their hire-ability, their credibility, their trust-ability, their presence went up exponentially when they stood in a power pose for two minutes.

This is how simple this stuff is….

If you’re going to have a meeting with someone, whatever that meetings happen happens to be for, whether it’s for a job interview, whether it’s talking with an employee, whether it’s talking with the client for that matter, or if you’re say a car salesman, stand like this for two minutes, and you will make more sales, you will be more credible, you will get more information across. This is a really, really, really important strategy for you to use.

Obviously, if you walk into the meeting in a power pose or power stance, that would be a little bit socially aggressive, so you probably shouldn’t do that.

Once you’re in that meeting, you should stand in what is called a ‘presenter’s stance, or a launch stance’.

A presenter’s stance is what I described earlier, feet shoulder-width apart, head back, chest up, shoulders back and down and standing equally and comfortably – balanced on both feet.

The next strategy that was looked at was powerful voice.

There are a couple of things here that are really important with respect to your voice.

The first thing is to avoid what’s called the question inflection. Let me give you an example; we’ll do a pricing one, “The price is sixty five dollars?” (rising intonation at end of phrase). Versus, “The price is sixty five dollars.” (flat intonation)

So, the second way, “The price is sixty-five dollars.” I had a flat intonation, so that’s a neutral intonation.

The first example I said with a rising inflection, “The price is sixty five dollars?”

That doesn’t sound very credible, it’s an upward inflection at the end of the phrase, and it’s almost like I’m asking you, “Are you alright with the $65 price?”

Use a neutral inflection; don’t use a rising tonality or the questioning tonality at the end. Unfortunately this is something we see a lot in Australia, maybe you see it in your country as well.

The next thing to having a powerful voice is to learn to speak on the out-breath.

When you speak on the out-breath, you have more emphasis, more power more volume to your voice.

The third thing with the voice is to use the lowest natural tone that you can.

I’ll use myself as an example, and even though I’m aware of all this, I still fall into the same trap on a regular basis.

When I get excited my voice just goes up a little bit and it makes me lose credibility.

Bring you voice down to the lowest range that works for you and speak on the out-breath using a flat tonality and you’ve got three of the four points of a powerful voice tone.

The last thing is to use emotionality.

A powerful speaker uses emotions to engage your audience and the people that are listening to you.

The next thing is to be relevant.

By being relevant, I mean finding common ground.

If you can elicit from the person that you’re working with or talking with or talking to, if you can find some common ground, then that’s really going to help bond you to them, bond them to you and have a better outcome.

For example, if you are wearing the same watch that they are, you might point that out. If they have some fantastic jewellery or a tie of a certain kind, and you like that, point that out. If during that conversation, they say that they like going on skiing holidays in Switzerland and you like skiing but you’ve only done Japan, point that sort of thing out.

The more common ground you can find, the more likeable, trustable and credible you’ll be.

There are more, but these are the main tips that come out of the Shark Tank studies.

I’ll redo this video at some stage and go into a lot more depth. I’ve just picked the highlights or the high points and I’ve tried to pick the ones that are quick and easy for you to apply.

If YOU want to be a more powerful speaker, face to face, if you want to get your ideas across more quickly and easily, develop trust, rapport, credibility and have the person you are talking to be engaged with your more, these are the tips and the clues that will make that happen.

I’ll see on the next video.


Introduction To Fronting in Body Language

Today, we’re going to learn another skill that’s really important for you to learn and to use.

But first – I need you to do a Google search, just some quick research…

Pause the video and google some famous people. You could google a favourite actor, you could google a politician, you could google some other ‘icon’. I need you to look at their ‘image’ or their picture.

As you do this just look at the images that you come across. What I’d like you to think about is when you see these images, what are your immediate thoughts with respect to like and trust…

Do you like, trust and respect that person based on that image, or are you less likely to trust, respect and like that person based on that image that you see on your screen

I’d like you to go and do that now. Go and look at three or four different people and half a dozen images of those three or four people.

Then make an instant decision about them – do you like and trust them based on that image or are you less likely to like and trust them.

And see if you can also form an impression as to why you do or don’t like them.

Then come back to me and we’ll go into this in a little more in depth. I’ll explain some of the things that may have come out for you.

Okay, welcome back.

I hope you’ve just done that little but very important exercise.

What we’re talking about today is Fronting.

Essentially people who front us, who look straight at us are perceived to be more likable and trustable.

Fronting is – that’s straight ‘top’, ‘torso’ and ‘toes’ – all pointed to you or at you.

When someone fronts you, this means to your mind and to your body that that person is respecting you, paying attention to you and therefore you are more likely to reciprocate and like and trust them more in turn.

When you went and googled these people a little while ago, if these people were looking at you front on, or maybe their head is slightly turned but to all intents and purposes they are still looking directly at you, you are much more likely to like them, trust them and respect them.

However, if they were like, looking away from you, then you are less likely to trust them, like them and respect them.

Some Examples;

There are some classic pictures of politicians on the internet which are designed to either get you to like that politician or to not-like that person.

When people are talking images of these politicians, they’re trying to portray them in either a good light or a bad light depending on what that writer, that author, that photographer, what image he’s trying to create about that politician.

When they like what the politician is doing, and they like what he said, they’ll have a full-frontal image, (see above) for you to see – or maybe the politician might be slightly turned – but is still looking at the camera. That then gives the reader more reason to trust and like and respect that politician.

Whereas if the writer or the photographer doesn’t want to portray that politician in a good light, then they’re going to have the politician looking elsewhere or looking sideways, or looking up and not facing the camera directly. This results in the viewer having less positive feelings for that politician.

Fronting is a VERY powerful tool and it’s something for you to be aware of.

Fronting means ‘top’, ‘torso’, ‘toes’ all pointing at the most important thing or person in the room. This most important person is the person who they are communicating with – you.

Fronting is the non-verbal way of saying; “I respect you…”

This means that if you are talking to two or three or four people, then if someone is talking you’d front that particular person, and then when someone else talks, you’d front them, and then when the 3rd person talks, you’d then front them.

So, you’d slightly rotate your head and your torso and your toes to that next person and the next person, etc.

You should learn to do this both when you are standing or sitting.

Even when meeting around a table, where you are all sitting down, you can front as well.

It’s obviously very much easier in a swivel chair than in a fixed chair, but it can be done whether you’re in a swivel chair or a fixed chair. In the fixed chair scenario, you just need to make more of an effort.

I’m going to politely ‘insist’ that you start fronting when you are meeting with people and having discussion with people, because your credibility, your likedness, your trust worthiness and your respectedness will improve dramatically in that other person’s eyes when you front them.

This is a very powerful skill to master and will significantly affect your communication outcomes.

Let’s go a little bit deeper on this.

Now that you know the power of fronting, what I’m going to suggest that you do is to look at your Facebook image or picture if you have a private Facebook page—and may I suggest that you look at LinkedIn picture as well.

In a LinkedIn photo (this is a professional business environment where you’re trying to create relationships), it’s really important that your image has a full ‘front’ of you and that you have a good frontal image on your LinkedIn site.

Facebook, may not be as important if you’re not using it for business. If you do use Facebook for business, then the same ‘rules’ apply with respect to your image on Facebook.

However, let’s go sideways quite dramatically and do some lateral thinking.

If you’re dating for example, and if your Facebook image on your Facebook site is part of your dating profile, then absolutely, you should have a good frontal image on Facebook. You’ll be seem as more trustworthy!

And, if you’re using a dating site, exactly the same thing applies, it will really improve your ability to get a date.

And even if you don’t use your Facebook page for business, it could be that someone who wants to do business with you might actually go and ‘look you up’ on Facebook.

If your Facebook image isn’t as good as it needs to be, then this may just cost you business.

So, there are many reasons (both personal and business reasons) for fronting and having good frontal images on the internet.

Just one last thing

I could talk about this topic for quite a while—I’m not going too. I just want to throw one last thing into the mix.

When you’re at a party and you’re fronting someone, typically, subconsciously, our toes point at or to the most important thing in the room (to us), and so you might be fronting someone with your head, your top and your torso, BUT your toes may be pointing at the bathroom.

The person that you’re talking with, at some level, will know that your toes are pointing at the bathroom, or your toes are pointing to the bar, or your toes are pointing to the food table – in other words they will subconsciously ‘see’ that your toes are not pointing at them and that you are only ‘partially fronting’ them.

It’s really important therefore, that when you’re communicating with someone at a networking event or in fact that when you are communicating with anyone, anywhere that you be aware of your top, your torso and your toes, and you pay the other person respect by fronting them fully and you pay that person that you’re communicating with attention by fronting correctly, and also being aware of where your toes are pointing.

This has been a bit of a longer video today and we’ve shared a few tips, strategies and clues for you to implement in the next couple of weeks.

I look forward to catching up with you on the next video.


Expressive Hands

A few weeks ago, we talked about the two big trust indicators;

  • one was ‘visible hands’ and
  • the other one was the smile.

Well, we’re going back to look at the hands today.

Today it’s all about ‘expressive hands’ and using your hands to improve your communication and communication outcomes.

We can grade the use of one’s hands during conversation from no use at all (zero) through the over use (ten).

I’m one of those people who tends to use their hands A LOT – I almost over use them. Call them ‘Jazz Hand’s if you like; I use my hands a lot.

But, studies show, that using one’s hands, does add expressiveness to the communication and it most definitely improves communications outcomes.

Using the expressiveness of your hands does help get the message across to the people that you’re talking with. They do remember more of what you’ve said and you are also regarded as more likable and trustworthy when you use your hands to help you communicate.

One extreme is where you are waving your hands around almost ‘wildly’, using expansive gestures and large movements of the hands. As I’ve indicated above, this can be called ‘Jazz Hands’.

Doing too much with your hands can be distracting and hinder communication. Jazz hands ‘distracts’ your listener and can take away from the message that you are trying to get across. If you are like me and if you have Jazz Hands, just be aware of this and be a little careful therefore to remember to tone it down – just a touch.

The other extreme is no use of hands at all, the hands remaining just sort of flat by your side, or folded across the abdomen, or something like that – no use of the hands at all.

This lack of animation (by the hands) means that your message gets across with less power and less impact.

Without the use of hand gestures, you have a lesser communication impact on the listener

And that extreme (no hand movement) is equally bad, because it also detracts from the power of your message.

Then we have the middle of the road use of hands. This is where you DO use hand gestures and movement, but you limit your movements largely to a ‘restricted’ area in-front of your torso.

This restricted area is a box, about 50 cm to 60 cm square, in-front of your chest and abdomen. Maybe this box is about as wide as your body and maybe a 50cm to 60 cm high, and it’s in front of your abdomen or lower chest.

In this ‘ideal’ scenario your hands would move within that space. Most surely, you would occasionally gesture more broadly and widely, but to a larger degree, your hand gestures would be within that box-like area. This is probably more of the ideal scenario when we’re talking about how much we should be using our hands.

What are you doing with your hands?

The point of this video is to get you to assess how, where and how much you are using your hands when you’re speaking; how expressive you are.

If you’ve got no hand movement at all, if you’re down at the lower end of the scale, then I’m going to suggest that you consciously start moving your hands around to improve the impact of your communication.

Initially this will feel stilted, awkward and strange. You may even feel that your communication is contrived.

The more you practice and practice, the more natural this will feel and the more impactful you’ll see your communication becoming.

On the other hand, if you’re like me and you have jazz hands, and you’re happy with that and if it isn’t throwing your conversation and communication off, then that’s okay, keep doing what you’re doing.

Knowing what you know now, start observing the other person or people in the conversation carefully to ensure that you aren’t putting them off or even slightly ‘frightening’ them.

But if you are throwing people off, maybe just tone it down a little. Remember, all body language and all communication goes on a scale from extremely low to extremely high, and you should fit somewhere in the middle. That gives the best of all worlds.

So, this is another skill to tack onto the skills we’ve worked on over the last four or five weeks. This is all about learning how to use your hands to improve your communication outcomes.

Final Note: If you are speaking from ‘stage’ or to a small or large group, then the correct use of your hands is also VERY important in getting your message across. Here again, learn to use your hands to maximise the communication outcome you will achieve.

Now it’s over to you – it’s time to turn this theory into a new skill by starting to practice, practice and practice.

I’ll see you on the next video.