It’s not (just) what you say…

He got up wearily from the table he was sitting at. He smiled and welcomed us, but I could tell he was just going through the motions. He lacked energy. It felt as if today it was an imposition to order our regular breakfast. If it wasn’t already a weekly ritual for us, I wonder if I would have even bothered ordering, or ever coming back.

 

Wow, I hadn’t even realised that I took all that in yesterday when I went to our favourite breakfast joint for a really yummy scrambled eggs (and GREAT coffee). It is amazing what we can pick up on the non-verbal plane. Every Monday I start the week with a lovely breakfast and a planning session at this cafe. I think that with the credit crunch, a lot of local places are beginning to feel the effect. And that’s what I feel is starting to show with this owner. His verve and energy is evaporating. And so is his welcome and warmth. The effect is that he is not inviting anymore and of course with that gone, so too go the customers.

 

You’ve probably heard that communication is made up of the words you use 7%, how you say something 38% and 55% comes from our body language. Depending on whether you are talking to your guest over the phone or face to face will determine the importance of the non-verbal. However, your physiology affects your psychology. This simply means that your posture affects your mood. Try slumping over your desk just now and put your head in your hands, and notice how this affects your thoughts and your mood. Things seem to slow down,… drag,… flatten,… depress… OK, enough of that! Sit up straight again, shoulders back, and smile 🙂 All this means that even over the phone, body language is still important even if it is not seen, it is still heard. Smiling makes you friendlier; standing makes you more commanding and authoritative, arms uncrossed make you more welcoming.

 

Here is a simple checklist to determine the importance of each aspect of these 3 categories. 

 

Words

The words we use are important. Used with volition you can create a sequence that leads your caller to do your bidding. On the phone, these words become more important. 

  • Open ended questions
  • Positive
  • Fully finished (i.e. not mumbled or slurred in to each other)
  • Correct not slang (yes not yeah)

How you say it

Just as we want to be aware of the words that we use so that they produce positive internal representations in our guests mind, it is important to be aware of how we say things, the variations of the tone and other aspects listed below.

  • Tone
  • Pitch
  • Timbre
  • Speed/Rhythm
  • Articulation
  • Resonance
  • Nasality
  • Accent
  • Intonation/Stress
  • Emotion

 

Body Language

Finally, the all important non-verbal aspect of our communication. 

  • Personal Appearance – clothing, hairstyle, tidiness
  • Gestures
  • Eye contact
  • Facial Expressions
  • Posture – direction of lean, body orientation, arm position, and body openness

 

Just remember to be congruent with our communication; physiologically, verbally and intent. Body language and how we sound needs to match what we say. That means that we cannot have low energy and lackluster posture when we are trying to get someone excited about the prospect of staying at the hotel or eating in the restaurant.

 

To attract customers, you need to be attractive.

Cheers,
Tracy 
 
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