Thursday, September 28, 2023

15 Common Body Language Mistakes To Avoid When Talking To VIPs

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Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

When meeting a VIP, be it a business partner or a potential investor, you want to present yourself in the best possible light. This involves two facets: the content of your conversation and your body language.

Non-verbal communication, including your posture, gestures, and eye contact, can convey a lot of information to the person you’re talking to. Seemingly small adjustments can have a significant impact on the energy, connection, and overall success of an interaction. To keep your VIP conversations running smoothly, the members of Business Council shared 15 common body language mistakes to avoid — and what to do instead.

1. Being Too Concerned About Your Body Language

Besides the obvious ones (keep eye contact, don’t fold arms, avoid bad posture, etc.), there’s one big mistake one can make: being too concerned about your body language! A VIP is also a human being – nothing more, nothing less. If you relax and be yourself, you will have a successful conversation. – Tobias Hann, MOSTLY AI

2. Don’t ‘show’ you’re listening

We all communicate on so many levels – we are wired for this. In the past two years with Zoom, some may have thought that body language was an area that needed less attention. Ironically, it’s even more important because we’re connecting through a challenging medium. Whether on screen or in real life, the mistake to avoid is the same: a lack of eye contact, which indicates a lack of focus on others. “Show” you’re listening. – Gregory Roll, Touchpoint employees Business Council is the leading growth and networking organization for entrepreneurs and leaders. Am I eligible?

3. Watching yourself during video calls

At the very least, it’s critical to look at the camera rather than yourself while video chatting. Looking up makes your whole posture more pronounced and creates a more engaging conversation for the person you’re speaking to. If you’re on the phone, try to smile as you speak – you’d be surprised how this affects the tone of what you say! – Maurice Harary, The prayer lab

4. ‘Close’ the conversation

Non-verbal communication is paramount when having a conversation. One of the most common and harmful gestures is the crossing of the arms. Often this is an involuntary response to not knowing what to do with your hands. Even as a nervous response, it can be misconstrued as shutting down the conversation or communication. – Dennis Morales, BEVERAGE LABS

5. Having a Stiff Posture

Those who like to use body language to understand the other party will often pick up on the ridge poses or seating. Forgetting to do subtle specular mannerisms can show a lack of interest in the subject despite being nervous. This can often be shown when the person turns their shoulders in the opposite direction to the person talking to them. The energy can shift a lot, so relax. – Paul L. Gunn, KUOG Corporation

6. Focus on your notes instead of the other person

Eye-to-eye contact has been a “truth detector” for centuries. It is interpreted to show that you really care about the discussion and that you are telling the truth. Because people often want to look at notes, they forget how important this is. And now after years of virtual meetings on Zoom, etc. with people concentrating on multiple screens and notes, this is a common mistake. To remind! – Jerry Cahn, Age Brilliant (.org)

7. Keep your head down

Avoid lowering your head or shrugging your shoulders when talking to a VIP or potential investor, as this can come across as a lack of confidence. Keep your chin up during the interaction, as this also ensures that you maintain eye contact. This keeps conversations engaging and meetings more productive. – Saravana Kumara,

8. Prioritizing social skills at the expense of content

I don’t think people should be judged on their body language or ability to speak in public under pressure. We need to encourage people to be more themselves and to be judged by the content of what they are talking about and their business potential. Try to look beyond social skills. – Lucie Marchelot Shukla, Improve health

9. A look at your phone

A look at a watch or a telephone. In the modern world, it might be hard to avoid looking at your phone to check the time or read a notification. However, it does not send the correct message to your interlocutor. The general rule of thumb is to store your phone all the way. Otherwise, if you pay too much attention to it, you will be perceived as disinterested, bored or rude. – Tytus Gołas, Tidio

10. Ignore Eye Contact

From my experience, it’s a good idea to pay attention to your head movements and eye signal involvement. Paying attention to your non-verbal communication is critical to a successful conversation, no matter who you’re talking to. Eye contact is crucial, as it builds trust with (and concentration on) your communication partner. – Michael Ede, Uplift11 Sport

11. Crossing Your Arms

Avoid crossing your arms, even if you’re cold. It really scares me when someone does this without saying why, and it definitely projects a very negative energy into our interaction. – dr. David Lenihan, Tiber Health

12. Looking around the room

A common body language mistake people make when talking to others is not making eye contact. It’s tempting to look around the room or fix your gaze on a point in the distance, but it’s essential to remember that eye contact is the key to building rapport. Avoiding eye contact shows a lack of interest. – Tomas Keenan, Break Free Academy

13. Have a defensive attitude

A defensive posture, such as folded arms, is a sure sign that someone has a hidden agenda or some other problem they’re holding onto. Make sure you’re open to conversation by adopting inviting poses such as good eye contact, relaxed shoulders, and leaning forward slightly to show you’re focused and engaged. – Ty Allen, SocialClimb

14. Yawn

This may sound trivial, but it isn’t. Avoid yawning. It makes you uninterested, uninvolved and exhausted. The impression this can give to a VIP or potential investor would be alarming and unpleasant. Stay alert, make eye contact and bring out your best energy in a calm and inviting way. Present yourself as engaged, enthusiastic and ready to listen. – Sam Kaufman, On The Level Construction, LLC

15. Not giving your full attention

In my experience, the best way to stay engaged in the conversation and also let the other person know that you are interested and involved is to lean forward and focus on them. Let them know you’re listening by giving them your full attention. Don’t be distracted by objects in the room or your phone. Give them the same attention you want them to give to you and your presentation. – Chris Clear, Clear Storage Group, LLC

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