8 unusual body language tips your frontline staff need to know
1. Keep heads level – Your employees should keep their head level with their eyes facing forward, this is a neutral stance and means they are not open to negative judgment from customers. Pointing their head downwards signifies sadness, worry and inadequacy, but tilting their head upwards signifies smugness or arrogance.
2. Thumbs out – When your staff are on their feet all day it is not unusual for them to put their hands in their pockets, but beware, hands in their pockets can show signs of secrecy and make them look like they are hiding something. However, if they have their hands in their pockets but have their thumbs on display it shows that they are self-assured, open and down to earth. This can make your customers place more trust in them and feel more comfortable in their presence.
3. Hand movements – They make people listen to your staff and allow them to communicate better. They also make your customers perceive your employees as warm and open as opposed to cold and distant.
- According to a study by the Science of People the most popular TED talkers used on average 465 hand gestures compared to just 272 for the least popular TED Talkers.
- Tip – Avoid using overly large hand gestures as these can make employees look awkward, smaller gestures can convey their point whilst making them appear more professional and knowledgeable.
4. Palms are important – When your staff show palms to your customers whilst talking it signifies their honesty and that they are not a threat. However, if they don’t show their palms your customers will put their defence up and question your employee’s intentions. This makes it harder for staff to gain trust and respect from potential buyers.
- Tip – Don’t overuse the show of palms because that will look strange, get employees to show their palms when they ask a question. This will show that they genuinely care about the customer’s response and the customer will feel more at ease when replying.
5. Acknowledgement – When customers talk to your employees it is essential that your staff show that they are listening. This can be done with a nod, smile, frown, or a vocal noise such as “yes” “I see.” If your staff are not responsive at all it creates the illusion that they are rude, ignorant or obnoxious and you don’t want anyone perceiving your staff in this way as it has a domino effect on your entire brand.
- Tip – When you hold team meetings assess who gives physical feedback and who simply sits with a blank stare. Those will be the members of staff who will need the most training so perhaps invite them to workshops. In those workshops, you can teach them easy ways to show acknowledgement in conversations and the importance of showing customers that you are listening.
6. Lean towards customers – Your staff should lean slightly when customers are talking to them however, over-leaning can make them seem creepy so less is more with this one. It is important because it shows that they are interested in what the person is saying and makes them appear confident and calm. If they don’t lean it can make them seem distant and non-caring.
7. Hands should stay below neck level – Face touching is said to signify lying and deception, especially if you touch your nose or are covering your mouth. In a work setting it is also very unprofessional especially if your employees are are working around food and drink. Putting hands behind your head signifies arrogance or big headedness this is not a trait you want your staff to be associated with as it will intimidate your customers leading them to take their custom else where.
8. Watch out for hands behind back – If your staff hold their arms behind their back it can demonstrate confidence, however it is important to be aware of where their arm is holding their other arm behind their back. Holding their arm further up can signify anger as though they are trying to hold their emotions back. Be sure their hands are low down and relaxed.