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It's Not Just What You Say … It's What You Radiate
By Arnold Sanow   Printer Friendly Version

First impressions are lasting impressions. In fact, it's not what you say; it's what you radiate that counts. Many studies show that only 7% of the message that people perceive comes from the words you use. 38% is from your tone of voice and 55% is from your body language.

To get your associates, employees and clients to like you, trust you and respond to you favorably you need to be sensitive to the messages your body is conveying. Many people when trying to persuade, motivate and influence others are at a disadvantage because they think their verbal skills are all that matter. Little do they realize that people are consciously or unconsciously picking up what you are really saying by observing your body language. To get an unfair advantage in business and exploit your opportunities use the SOFTEN technique to make yourself more approachable, likeable and trustworthy:

S - Smile - A simple smile shows that you really care. It also provides a sense of warmth and increases your likeability. As the saying goes, "A smile is the light in the window that tells people you are home."

O - Open Posture -By keeping an open posture (i.e. don't cross your legs or arms) you will appear to be open minded, less defensive, less arrogant and more approachable.

F - Forward Lean - One of the best ways to show interest is to lean forward when communicating. If you are attentive and interested in them, they will be interested in you.

T - Territory - In the USA the acceptable distance between two people is 14 to 46 inches, Closer than this and people will be distracted, while further distance is interpreted as aloofness.

E - Eye Contact - One of the most important ways to establish trust and rapport is through eye contact. Although some cultures may view eye contact differently, for most of us eye contact is positive. In a business presentation, eye contact should not be held for longer than four or five seconds with any one person.

N - Nodding - Nodding shows attentiveness, enthusiasm and validates the speaker.

To be truly successful we want people to focus on the substance of our message and not the style in which it is presented. By understanding and being sensitive to our body language and the message it is sending, we can increase our chances of getting our message across in a clear and concise manner.


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