Body Language Fundamentals
I wanna dig into the body language signals. The right signals to be sending at these events Because we want to make sure that we appear approachable, and people are interested in talking to us before we open our mouths. And there's five key fundamentals that we have to nail non-verbally to make sure that we stand out and stand above the crowd that we're hanging out with. And the first one is smile. And as I'm looking at some of you in the room I realize that we don't fully understand what I mean by smile. I don't mean the smile like you're at the dentist. Oh yeah, clean my teeth. That's great. I mean that full face smile where these little wrinkles form next to your eyes, that brightening smile, that when you give that smile to someone else immediately, reflexively, they're going to smile back. Even if they're not feeling good they're going to smile back. And that smile is the strongest non-verbal indicator that you are open and approachable. So Jordan talked earlier about dreading goi...
ng to networking events and networking being such a bad word. If I can guarantee you that every time you went to an event someone would approach you and talk to you, would you be more likely to go to some of these events? Absolutely. And that's the power of the smile. The smile allows us to open ourselves up to opportunity. We had a fun little networking event here. And we had some footage shot of some participants networking. And in doing this for ten years in our bootcamps in Los Angeles, we video tape all of our clients to really show them their non-verbal signals because a lot of times, the way we feel we're presenting ourselves to the world is not really how we are presenting ourselves to the world. So, before we even went into the networking event we went over these fundamentals. We told everyone do these five things and then let's go hang out in the break room. And sure enough like clockwork, even though we knew the smile was most important there were plenty of examples of people not smiling. So as you can see, how interested does he appear in this conversation? Very sullen, not really engaged, and that's going to lose the person's interest that you're talking to. So what does a good smile look like when we're having conversations? I want to show you what some of the better smiles we saw at this networking event looked like. Nice warmth in his face as he walks up, so that both parties feel excited to have this conversation. He seems engaged. Huge difference in perception. Is he interested? Is he not interested? So that clues people in to your internal state as well. And the great part about smiling is it lifts your mood. Scientifically, it's been shown that if you smile, even if you're not feeling it you will lift your mood. So imagine going to that dreaded networking event, not really sure of yourself, if you want to approach people, and then you get there and you freeze up. The one thing I want you to remember to take away from this section, is just put that smile on your face. People will take interest in you with that smile and you will lift your mood. The second fundamental is eye contact. And this is a big one. A lot of people get nervous around eye contact. What's too much? What's too little? So I wanna give you a simple rule to follow. Eye contact obviously lets the person know we're interested in talking to them. It's a great signal to send as you approach someone, making that eye contact. And of course living in LA there are some rough parts, let's say, and when I'm walking down the street and there's some people that I maybe don't wanna interact with, what's my first instinct? Look away. Avoid eye contact. We know it's a visceral feeling when someone looks us in the eye they are talking to us. They want to talk to us. So, making sure that we nail eye contact can allow those conversations to bloom and blossom with ease. So, when it comes to eye contact I like to follow this simple rule. When I'm talking to someone, I'm making eye contact. I'm looking at them, and then when I stop talking I just lightly break my eye contact and give them my ear. That's my queue so that they can talk effectively into my ear. If it's loud, if it's a noisy environment they can hear. I can hear them. And it allows me to catch my thoughts because what we find is when we stare at someone we get this increase in tension and for those of us that maybe have a little bit of social anxiety that tension can lead to us completely freezing up. So the easy way to break that tension is to simply break eye contact and give them your ear when you listen. Again, I want to play some examples for you of again, some bad eye contact. Does this look like Jared's interested in talking to him? As he's talking he's not even looking. So, let's see some good eye contact, some nice, warm eye contact. And what you find here with good eye contact is it's hard for the other person to look away, to get distracted. When you're making eye contact the other person is glued to what you're saying. The third component is body language. And there's these three states of body language that we need to understand so that we can effectively communicate and break that tension that we feel when we're meeting someone for the first time. So, if I could get two volunteers to raise their hand and come up here to demonstrate. Alright, if you guys don't mind coming up here. Alright, welcome to AOC Dojo. If you guys don't mind face each other (laughter) Yeah, touch gloves. And let's make it a fair fight. So this is what we call positive body language. They are fully facing the other person, giving them 100% attention. Now, take a step closer for me. Can we get any closer? (laughter) Right? We're laughing. They're laughing, we're laughing and what is that laughter? Right. We're breaking the tension. We can feel the tension. They can feel it and we can even feel it as the audience. Now, just turn and face the room for me. This is called neutral body language. And it's subtle, but it allows the other person to feel more comfortable. And I don't know how many of you notice this but when they are actually in full positive and I said, hey take a step closer, they made sure they were not touching at all. They couldn't touch each other. But then when I said, hey turn and face the room, they casually bumped arms. So, we know that neutral breaks tension, allows people to feel more comfortable. Thank you guys. The third state of body language is negative, which is when we're being ignored. Someone turns their back to us. So, the two states of body language we want to operating in when we're conversating with someone is positive and neutral. We want to be positive when we get their attention. As we walk up we want to get their attention, let them know that we're talking to us, and then we want to turn to neutral as comfortably and as quickly as possible to alleviate that tension. And that neutral stance is going to again allow us to break that eye contact comfortably. So I can talk over my should here we're having a great conversation and then when he goes to say something I just turn away, give them my ear. Breaking that eye contact allows people to feel more comfortable. And we know this intuitively, if I were approaching a crowded elevator and the doors open, I would never get in the elevator and stand directly in front of someone. Instead, when we get in an elevator what do we do? We pile in side by side because when it comes to meeting strangers, that's where we're most comfortable. We are guarding our torso. So we want to make sure that when we walk up to someone we let them know I'm interested and then get to neutral so both of us can feel more comfortable. The fourth fundamental, oh I want to show you guys some bad body language examples here. We have some full-on positive body language and as you can see, hands in pockets, guarding his chest, all of this shows that I'm uncomfortable being positive. Fully crossed, crossing our arms, closing ourselves off, it's not open, neutral body language. Now, what is some good neutral, confident body language look like? Hands are out of the pockets, comfortably standing there. And this is typically how we stand with our friends when we're out. We'll never go out with our friends and stand in positive body language but for some reason when we're trying to get someone's attention we present ourselves fully and we just end up staying there. And it just builds tension. This is a very, very important thing to realize. Most people upon interacting with you, they're not going to remember what you say. They're meeting a lot of people at these events, they're having a lot of conversations. You're not going to stand out with your words. And you're also really not going to stand out with your actions, unless you're on the totally far ends of the spectrum. Some crazy, lunatic actions or some total klutz actions. But for the most part they're not going to remember your actions either they're only going to remember how you made them feel. Did they feel comfortable talking to you? So the more comfortable you are, the more comfortable they are. And that's why we want to get to neutral. Neutral is where we will be comfortable. And we will allow them to feel comfortable. The fourth fundamental is showing that enthusiasm and excitement. We do this through touch, maybe it's a high five, maybe it's letting them know that we're following along with some light touching nearby. And some enthusiasm in our facial expressions. That emotional response when they say something that we're interested in. Allowing them to understand that we want to be talking to them. And as we saw from the earlier examples, when we're not making eye contact, when we're not smiling at people, it does not at all feel like we're interested and they're not going to follow along. They're not going to want to stay there talking to us. So we want to make sure that when we're talking to someone we are showing them enthusiasm. And I like to think of this as if your best friend walked up to the door how would you greet them? Hey, how's your day going? What are you doing in San Francisco? We would never do that. So, I want you to when you're meeting people for the first time, show them the same enthusiasm that you have for your best friend. Be engaged. Allow them to feel comfortable with you. The fifth and final fundamental of non-verbal communication is commitment. Closing that gap, getting closer to people. We all understand the concept of personal space, but unfortunately when we get nervous around people we tend to expand it even more. We stay two feet away from them, three feet away from them, and when we're not committed to the interaction, again, they lose interest. They feel like we're looking for the exit. We're ready to leave. So we want to make sure that we close that gap and the way I like to think of it when I'm talking to someone, I want to be close enough to them that I could just comfortably throw my arm around them. If I was having a great time with this guy and we're celebrating our marketing wins, like, dude that it so awesome! Super simple! But if I'm standing three feet away from them, how awkward is it going to be for me to even try to touch them, to high five them when I have to walk over, hey! So, commitment means staying in the interaction fully. Not wavering, not pulling back, but instead, getting close and getting comfortable with being in people's personal space. Because touch is how we're going to build trust. And if we're not close we're not going to be able to touch them. So those are the five fundamentals of that non-verbal communication that you should be focusing on when you are approaching people at these events. And I know what you're thinking, that's great AJ, body language stuff is great but I have some social anxiety, I'm a little introverted. What do I say? How do I have that conversation? And again, in teaching this for a decade now I see people fall into two categories. The first category is they don't know how to start a conversation. They go online for ice breakers. How do I walk up to someone and what do I say at the beginning of the interaction? Or, maybe they have that one favorite ice breaker but they find themselves running out of things to say. How many of you have felt that way? Where you're in a conversation, you just ran out of things to say. Maybe you talked about a great topic and you said everything that you possibly knew about that topic and now you're like where do I take this?