For sales professionals, strong communication skills are crucial. So much of being a great loan officer is about making connections and building relationships, and without good communication, those things can be quite challenging. Often, people tend to focus on their words when considering communication. Interestingly, whether we realize it or not, most communication doesn’t actually come out of our mouths. Instead, much of our communication is conveyed nonverbally through our body language. This means that we can sometimes send messages we’re unaware of. On the flip side, it can also mean that we can harness an opportunity to communicate better. When it comes to your body language, here are some of the main areas I’d recommend paying attention to:
Eye contact is key when it comes to body language. It conveys things like vulnerability and honesty, allowing you to form stronger connections. The way you maintain eye contact or avert your eyes during conversation can give the impression of confidence, trustworthiness, and ease. A healthy balance is key. While you don’t want to seem distracted or dishonest, you also don’t want to come off as too intense.
The rest of your face conveys some important nonverbal cues as well, and there are some key things you can do to show interest. If you want to make sure to convey that you’re engaged and listening attentively, simple things like smiling or raising your eyebrows can quickly do the trick. Most of us do these things naturally, but it’s always smart to check in from time to time and ensure the signals your sending say what you want them to.
It’s not only your face that communicates these nonverbal messages. Much of our body language has to do with our spatial awareness. By leaning your body in towards a conversation, especially while listening to the other person, you can better convey attentiveness. Small cues, like crossing your legs towards someone while sitting, can signal that you may be feeling defensive. When standing, your spatial awareness matters as well. A wider and taller stance conveys confidence and control. If your stance is wide and open with your arms uncrossed, you’ll give a more welcoming impression.
Our body language isn’t just sending messages to others, it’s sending messages to ourselves as well. Let’s say you have an important meeting coming up. Some sales professionals practice power poses beforehand to help them mentally prepare. A power pose is a confident position where you stand up straight and take up space, maybe taking a wide stance with your hands on your hips. This can be done just before an important interaction to boost self-assuredness. Depending on the situation, a slightly toned down version can be useful during interactions as well to support a feeling of confidence.
Considering your own body language helps you tune into that of others. While it’s important to focus on the message you’re sending with your own nonverbal cues, it’s equally if not more important to pick up on the messages being sent by those you’re interacting with. The more you pay attention to body language, both yours and others, the more effectively you can communicate and connect.