Ten Persuasive Behaviors For Meetings

Useful Behaviors That Are Not Often Discussed

Posted Dec 26, 2015

I am often asked what behaviors are useful in meetings. Tough question to answer because context, culture, purpose, topic, and time all factor in. But if I had to pick ten behaviors that are not often talked about, that are persuasive and that positively influence others in just about any setting, here they are:

1.            Respond to questions immediately without hesitation, speech errors, throat-clearing, or time fillers.

2.            Head tilted to the side (especially if you are in charge). This behavior says powerfully that you are listening attentively.

3.            People want to see hands so make sure that others can see them, especially if you are talking. While on the subject, it is useful to gesture with your hands but make sure that your movements are broad as well as smooth.

4.            When making a point, your emphasis should be palm down fingers spread on the table surface—subconsciously this registers very strongly that you are confident.

5.            If it is something specific you want to emphasize—a “precision grip” (index finger-tip against the tip of your thumb) display is ideal to make your point. This behavior says, I have thought about this and I have worked out the solution or the issue precisely.

6.            If you have to point to an object or to call on someone to speak, do so with the hand (fingers extended either palm up or in the vertical position) but never point with a finger, not even to point at a chair. People prefer the open hand much better.

7.            Lower your voice to get attention; don’t raise your voice and definitely don’t shout. If you have to raise your voice you are no longer in charge.

8.            Give ample space to others and don’t crowd them at the table. Space equates with comfort while crowding is almost always equated with psychological discomfort.

9.            Sometimes it is hard for people on either side of you at a long table to see you. Try this trick to help others see you as you speak. Pull away from the table so that others on either side can see you.  You may find those immediately next to you will also pull back so that everyone has a line of view.

10.            Give credit for what others say using their own words. This garners respect (you recognize the work of others) and it establishes an empathetic link at a subconscious level that says, she really understands me.

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Joe Navarro, is the author of the international bestseller, What Every Body is Saying, as well as Louder Than Words and Dangerous Personalities. For additional information and a free bibliography please contact him through Psychology Today or at www.jnforensics.com – Joe can be found on twitter: @navarrotells or on Facebook. Copyright © 2015, Joe Navarro.  With thanks to Thryth Hillary Navarro and Janice Hillary for helping me edit.