For the last two weeks I talked about what interest looks and sounds like in a conversation. To me, those signs are some of the easiest to spot and that’s why I wanted to write about them first. Now I want to talk about body language signals that are a little more complicated (i.e. what a “maybe” looks like). While these signals can be more challenging to recognize, its important you start to notice them because at this point in a conversation, the situation can still go either way. Here are three signs to look for:
- Slower processing time: Seen when the person you’ve been talking to slows down their reactions to your questions. This isn’t a bad sign, instead its a signal they’re evaluating the information. For example, you might see them look off in space and/or purse their lips as they contemplate what you’re saying.
- Chin stroke: When someone is thinking things over, you may see them start to play with an object, such as a pen or a ring, or you’ll see them react physically. Two physical reactions are the chin stroke and/or the mouth cover (see above for an example). Also notice, the above model is leaning back while he thinks. Pulling away is an sign the person needs some distance from the conversation.
- Torso Turn: The direction the torso faces is a sign of respect. In this situation, when the torso is facing you, you have their interest. However, when it starts to turn away, it’s a sign you losing them; but not necessarily in a bad way. As long as the turning of the torso is coupled with other encouraging feedback (which I’ll talk about in next week’s post), it just signals the other person needs a little space.
As always, notice the above but also listen to what the other person is saying. Then ask follow up questions. By using this technique, you’ll have a better understanding of whether or not the other person is still interested or leaning towards a “no.”