You’re tired. You’re alone on the empty elevator. Leaning against the back wall, you cross your ankles to get comfortable, looking down at the ground.
- What are you going to do when your fist stop picks up two strangers?
- Two more stops fill the elevator with five more strangers. What are they all doing when the doors close?
- What is impossible to do when you walk onto an elevator with passengers?
- You will uncross your feet, keep you head up for the entire ride, and move so that all three of you are equidistant from each other.
- Assuming they’re all strangers, all will be facing forward looking at the indicator showing which floor is next.
- When talking with a friend you’re comfortable with, you’ll tilt your head. But when getting onto an elevator full of strangers, it is impossible to tilt your head.
You’ve completed your presentation before your client’s group and you’re taking questions. You notice the marketing director’s chin rests upon her thumb, her index finger points upwards, and she has a slight smile.
- Is she having positive or negative thoughts?
- What does her posture say?
- What should you do?
- Most people think this is a signal of interest. It’s not. She’s having negative or critical thoughts about you or your presentation. Even though she has a smile, the negative gestures outweigh the positives.
- Leaning away from you with her arm in front of her torso completes the cluster of negative signals that should warn you to do something.
- Get her involved immediately. Simply stating, “You seem to have some concerns. Would you mind telling me what you think?” will get her to change her body language and attitude.
What Do You See?
The “Figure 4 leg cross” is a seated position used mostly by American men. You’ve just made your presentation and the decision maker takes this position.
- What is his attitude?
- Should you challenge any negative comments he might make?
- Is he ready to make a decision?
- His attitude is competitive – “bring it on!”
- If he makes a point, he’s ready to argue for that point. Tread carefully.
- Don’t ask for a decision until both feet are flat on the ground.