We are all fascinated by articulate speakers who have the ability to sell a popsicle to an Eskimo right? Becoming a good speaker is something you should strive for in your professional career, or better yet a great speaker, and continually expand upon. I've been fortunate over the years, from early on while in the Marines as a Force Reconnaissance Marine Scout/Sniper and when I was CEO of my company to have spoken all over the world. I've been interviewed on FoxBusiness News and appeared in numerous articles and magazines over the years, one thing has always held true, I've continually grown as a speaker and can always get better. What always comes out of your mouth is something you can practice and refine, it's the other part of that equation, your body language, that can help you in your business deals and close more of them.
Whenever I first meet someone, particularly in business, I'm vetting them by listening to how articulate they are and then how they carry themselves. It helps me determine:
- Are you trustworthy
- Are you credible
- Are you a confident speaker, but more importantly a confident person
- Can I believe your message
In real estate our clients are doing the same thing to us, some more than others, but you should always be thinking that every potential client thinks this way. Simply put, you need to use body language to be credible and persuasive. Here are the 7 deadly sins of body language, I'd say if you have more than 2 of these traits, it's time to reassess your body language and start employing a language that helps your cause instead of hurting it. Remember the webinar I hosted with Bob Stewart of our very own ActiveRain titled, The Art Of Verbal Judo, well consider this the Art of Body Language that you need to employ with Verbal Judo. For the sake of brevity I will not write long paragraphs on each of the 7 deadly sins but will just list them.
- Poor stance or posture (Imagine a string from the top of your head to infinity and someone is tugging at it)
- Avoiding eye contact (Trust is your most valuable commodity as a speaker, particularly when you're trying to close a deal, we all know the floor starer or power point speaker who's in love with the screen right?)
- Creating a barrier that shuts out listeners (Arms crossed, or fig leafed in front of your crotch, how about the proverbial "church steeple" in front of the face, or washing the hands, let your hands dangle by your side), Will Smith said it best here. (Skip to 1.11, "this is where you live, right here." Keep your hands by your side.)
- Unproductive use of space (It's your job to command space, do so from different spots)
- Employing weak or repetitive gestures (each one should be strong, support the phrase and end cleanly)
- Relating negatively to listeners (Negative facial expressions, nodding at questions, etc.) I had one guy that worked for me who thought he was the greatest speaker, at a major event overseas he spoke and at the end of his presentation everyone was mumbling "What the hell did that have to do with anything?" Everyone shut him down about 3 minutes into his speech, he thought it was one of his greatest speeches.....it ended up being quite embarassing
- Clumsy use of objects (Blowing into the microphone before you even begin, the pen being twirled, or the laser pointer that's shaking so bad you feel like a cat being taunted. As with any prop, you need to use it rather than it using you)
In the end, you'll be a far better Realtor and business person and close a lot more deals if you become an effective speaker and combine that with effective use of body language. A great organization you should check out to become an excellent speaker is Toastmaster's. I've met more professionals and done so many real estate deals while networking here than I care to remember. For about $40 a year it'll make you at least three more zeros at the end of that $40 in sales, guaranteed, purely based on your speaking abilities. It's an awesome way to go from a good speaker to a great one.
Alex Popovic is the founder of Semper Find My Home and is an OIF/OEF veteran Force Reconnaissance Marine Scout/Sniper. Don't let this kind of body language let this happen to you.
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