In our recent blog series on how to navigate your firm’s politics successfully (part 1part 2part 3), we talked about the need to learn to read non-verbal body language. Very often it is a person’s body language, which will give the greatest clues to their state of mind. The skill of reading non-verbal body language can be used in all sorts of situations. For example:

  • In business development meetings – does the client seem willing to proceed?
  • In 1:2:1s with members of your team – do they seem enthusiastic and open to the opportunities you are giving them?
  • With clients – is the meeting progressing positively?

Here are 9 non-verbal signals that not all is going well:

  • changes in body posture, especially turning away
  • crossed arms
  • staring
  • withdrawal of eye contact
  • doodling on the note pad
  • looking out the window
  • drumming fingers
  • frowns
  • glancing at the clock or their watch.

If you sense that a meeting is not going well then,

pause, take a breath, and ask how people are feeling

What non-verbal body language clues do you look out for and why?

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