Have you ever been in an in-person sales meeting where you had absolutely no idea what your audience thought about your presentation? We have too. It’s not only awkward -- it’s also really frustrating to be left in the dark.

There is, however, a secret code you can crack to find out what potential clients are really thinking: body language. By reading your audience’s posture, gaze, and facial expressions, you can determine whether they’re receiving your message positively or negatively -- even if they don’t give you any verbal feedback.

This interactive infographic explores how to read body language during your sales meetings, and what you can do to adjust your own body language when things start to go off the rails.

How Do I Distinguish Negative From Positive Body Language?

Decoding someone’s body language may seem like magic, but it’s actually a fairly scientific process. There are a number of signs to look for that can help you read between the lines. Body language makes the subconscious visible -- and this is exactly the information you need to gauge your performance and adjust accordingly.

Here are some clear body language signals to pay attention to during your in-person or video conference sales calls.

Negative Body Language

  • Crossed arms
  • Feet pointed away or constantly shifting
  • Putting objects between them and you
  • Raised hands
  • Limited eye contact
  • Fidgeting

Positive Body Language

  • Mirrored body language
  • Feet pointed toward you
  • Leaning in
  • Open posture
  • Steady eye contact
  • Still hands

What Can I Do If I Detect Negative Body Language?

If you’ve decoded the body language message during your meeting and the signs aren’t positive, don’t despair. There are a few things you can do to shift the mood toward the positive end of the spectrum using body language.

1) Smile at Your Audience

It’s hard to overrate the power of a smile. Smiling is one of the most powerful weapons in your body language arsenal, so don’t forget to use it!

2) Shift Your Focus Away from Your Screen

Don’t let your deck or product demo get in the way of engaging with the people you’re talking to. Turn your body and gaze toward your audience as you address them to establish a physical connection with them.

3) Use Movement to Keep People Engaged

Walking around between points will bring more action and energy to your presentation. It can also help you draw attention to yourself if you see that people are getting distracted or bored.

Sources: Buffer, Medical Daily, Daily Mail, AMA

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Originally published Sep 8, 2015 7:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017

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Body Language in Selling