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Can something as simple as how you position yourself in a doorway change the way others perceive you at work? A body language expert at a recent AAMA event made a pretty convincing case for it. We were fortunate enough to have one of our most raved-about keynote speakers in recent years address the attendees at the AAMA 80th Annual Conference in February – Janine Driver didn’t shy away from a large group. She even managed to round up some volunteers (including staff) to the front of the room to illustrate her new concepts of body language during both her keynote address and two subsequent workshops.

Driver is retired federal law enforcement officer. Now, as a contributor to NBC's Today show, Anderson Cooper Live, Extra!, and the Dr. Oz Show, she is a body language and detecting deception contributor. Per her bio, as a DEA officer, it was imperative to size up body language very quickly during questioning and arrests. During the conference, she shared tips on how to read and use body language to develop and maintain good relationships with customers. Driver emphasized that understanding nonverbal communication is just as important as putting it to use in our own actions.

Driver also played up the importance of asking your customers questions. If you sense they may be withholding information, intentionally or otherwise, gently let them know you sense there may be something they’re not saying. Then, stop talking and wait – they’re likely to spill the beans.

Another tip for customers: When greeting them, face your body toward the person with whom you’re shaking hands. Driver said it’s easy to accidentally give them the cold shoulder with your body language, so make sure you’re putting your best foot forward from the start.

When it comes to getting ahead at the office, consider all appearances, Driver said. For example, if you want to be seen as important, she has advice for you: “Frame yourself to fame yourself.” She said that if you appear in the center or near the center of group photos, you’ll be perceived as more important than if you are on the outskirts of that same photo. Or, in a related concept: When entering someone’s office, use the door frame to your advantage by casually leaning against it. This will make you look more confident than if you stand in the doorway with your hands folded in front of you.

What do you think about these tips? Do you think using nonverbal cues like these could help you gain customers’ trust or get ahead at work?