Speak the Language

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Smart RSAs know their body language is as important as the words they speak to customers. Remember these 5 tips to make sure your verbal and nonverbal communication are complementary

Collage od several men and women portraits. Different facial reaction on situation.

Maybe you speak perfect English, but there’s a second language you need to be fluent in for your career as a retail sales associate and for your life in general — body language.

Harvard Business School’s Amy Cuddy, whose popular 2012 TED Talk about body language has scored tens of millions of views, offers numerous tips for using body language to your advantage. Here are five of the best, as summarized by Inc. magazine in an April 2 article:

  1. Speed-reading: It takes only a few seconds to read someone’s body language, and you don’t have to be a psychoanalyst to pick up on it. It’s just a matter of looking.
  2. Are you open or closed?: Standing apart from a customer and/or folding your arms sends a negative message, whether you intend to or not. To send a more positive message, open your stance and unfold those arms.
  3. Mirror, mirror: While it might seem natural to “complement” a shopper’s body language — to mimic what he or she is doing — it’s not necessarily a good idea. If you cross your arms because someone else is doing the same, you’re sending negative vibes that you may not intend to send.
  4. More power to you: Cuddy famously champions “power posing,” particularly when meeting new people, because it helps you radiate self-confidence. To strike the proper pose, think Superman or Wonder Woman — open stance with feet apart, hands on hips, chin tilted upward.
  5. It’s all about you: When communicating nonverbally, you’re essentially communicating with yourself, building your own self-confidence and revealing your own feelings and emotions.

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