Why Arent You Talking to Me?

Your nonverbal communication talks before you do. Only seven percent of interpersonal communication is transmitted verbally-the remaining ninety-three percent speaks for itself.

And, because nonverbal communication is learned and practiced on an unconscious level, you won't be aware that you silently scream, "Please don't talk to me!"

When you enter a room full of employees, clients or friends, each of them intuitively asks one crucial question: are you approachable? If the answer is yes, the conversations in which you engage will be initiated with ease and comfort. You make new friends. You create new contacts. And you will not have to suffer through another meeting clamped to the snack table. However, if the answer is no, there won't be any conversations! As a result, you miss opportunities to create connections and meet valuable people.

It is vital to understand some of the non-receptive behaviors that hinder your approachability. If you avoid the following six barriers to communication, you will become more accessible to the people around you. As a result, you will welcome better business and social opportunities to transform strangers into valuable connections.

Eye Avoidance
To start a conversation with a person whose eyes are fixated on the ground is about as easy as hurdling over that person! This is why numbered lights always reside at the highest part of the elevator door-so you don't have to talk to the person next to you! You gaze at the beautiful yellow numbers ascending to the penthouse while your conversation plummets to the basement!

Your eye contact is the single most effective indicator that conversation is desirable. When you avoid it, you will be perceived as anxious, uninterested and bored with the conversation and the company.

When your eyes are focused up, down, away, at your watch, at your notes or simply off into space, nobody is going to talk to you. It's as simple as that. Remember, eyes always talk. And they always provide valuable cues for approachability.

Lack of Smiling
If you've ever asked yourself, "Why isn't anyone talking to me?" odds are it's because you didn't smile. Of the ninety-three percent of communication that is expressed nonverbally, fifty-five percent is through your facial expressions.

When you don't smile, you look unresponsive and unreceptive to the people around you. You look unfriendly. You look like you don't want to be wherever you are!

Before you say hello, before you shake hands, and before you even decide to talk to someone, smile. Smile all the time. Smile until your face hurts! Then smile some more. Remember, a smile is your messenger of goodwill. A smile is your free invitation to anyone who wants to have a conversation with you. And a smile, above all, is the most contagious thing in the world.

Hand and Arm Placement
As the old saying goes, "You cannot say nothing." Nonverbal communication expresses emotion, conveys attitude and communicates your personal traits more than any language in the world! A common vehicle for this expression is through hand and arm placement.

Don't place your hands over your face, mouth or anywhere close to your head. If you bite your nails, play with your hair or tap your fingers against your mouth, forget about it! People assume you're engrossed in deep thought and unavailable for conversation.

Also beware of the most common, most physical nonverbal barrier: crossing your arms. Even if you're cold, don't do it. People won't want to "bother" you. They will form the impression that you are defensive, nervous, judgmental, close minded or skeptical. Honestly, do you want to approach someone like that?

Posture
Body language is the oldest language. For example, have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone who sat down while you were stood up? It's not easy! If you close your shoulders, turn down your wrists and palms or lean away from someone, you position yourself in a "rejection pose." This type of closed body language emits an aura of disinterest. If you are not physically open to the people around you, they will physically close the conversational door on your face!

Be certain to keep your posture commensurate with the people around you. This makes everyone feel equal. No one will be intimidated. And no one will be excluded--especially you!

Silence
Silence is a negative influence in the communication process. It creates tension and uneasiness. It makes you look shy, which isn't necessarily true; but your silence will also be perceived by others as an indicator of disinterest or disagreement.

In regards to silence, one of the caveats to start conversations is something called diffusion of involvement. In other words, everybody thinks someone else will be the first to say hello, and then nobody says hello. And then, silence. Therefore, the longer you wait to interject, ask a question, say hello or break the ice, the more uncomfortable and unproductive the situation will become.

Involvement Shields
Why do people read the paper, listen to headphones or talk on their cell phones in at work or in public? To catch up on the news, relax and stay in contact with each other is to be human. But these involvement shields significantly decrease your approachability and result in missed opportunities to create connections.

When you use something to protect yourself from involvement with people, knowingly or not, you put up a nonverbal barrier. These barriers tell others two things: 1) you're busy, and 2) to start a conversation with you will be an exercise in futility.

Next time you attend a meeting or event, be careful not to spend your "socializing time" clamped to the snack table. Or the brochure table. Or the bar. These are safe havens for the reticent. And by "safe," I mean silent.

The only thing that stands in your way of transforming people into mutually valuable connections is you. With proper hand, arm and body position, you appear open and ready to talk. With proper eye contact and a contagious smile, you come off as friendly and polite. And, with a continual desire to break the silence without shielding yourself from interaction, others will be happy to step onto your front porch!

Some people will enter into your life and change it forever. Your newest client, best friend, most valuable colleague or even the strangest of strangers awaits the opportunity to interact with, offer help to, or learn from you. Every meeting, event, room, restaurant or public place in which you socialize offers these people to you for the low price of one attribute: your approachability.

2005 All Rights Reserved.

Scott Ginsberg is a professional speaker, "The World's Foremost Expert on Nametags" and the author of HELLO my name is Scott and The Power of Approachability. He helps people MAXIMIZE their approachability and become UNFORGETTABLE communicators - one conversation at a time. For more information contact Front Porch Productions at http://www.hellomynameisscott.com.

In The News:


From Friendster to Facebook: Social networking do's and don'ts
Engadget
If you haven't, don't worry. You're probably not alone. These are just a few of the many social networks that have come and gone, most of them vanishing either through acquisition or simply due to lack of audience adoption. That's surprising, when you ...


USA TODAY

6 networking tips for retirees
USA TODAY
When you technically retire from whatever it is you've been doing, it doesn't mean you retire from life, says George Fraser, 70, corporate networking guru and author of Click: Ten Truths for Building Extraordinary Relationships. "You wouldn't retire ...

and more »

Slate Magazine

Facebook Started at a Girls' Reform School, Not Harvard
Slate Magazine
The Italian computer scientist Massimo Franceschetti writes that for all the popularity of social networks today, “few know, however, that the first example of social network is attributed to psychiatrist Jacob Moreno, a hand-drawn image depicting ...


InfoWorld

5 ways Docker is fixing its networking woes
InfoWorld
Docker's recent advances have made it the darling of startups and innovators throughout the IT world, but one pain point causes admins and developers alike to bite their nails: networking. Managing the interaction between Docker containers and networks ...


5 Major Networking Flops (And How To Fix Them)
Forbes
I've been to my fair share of networking events, sometimes as the speaker and sometimes as a fellow participant. From each vantage point, I've witnessed many impressive, thoughtful, and incredibly beneficial interactions. I've also seen some ...


Software Defined Networking
CIO
Software-defined networking (SDN) is an ideal technology to simplify your infrastructure. The basis of SDN is automation of control of your network, which allows application services to run independent from the underlying hardware. Most networks ...


Upcoming: Small-business networking events
News & Observer
Raleigh Business Connections Lunch Networking: Oct. 22, 11:45-1 p.m.; Manchester's Grill, 9101 Leesville Road, Raleigh; RSVP at http://bit.ly/1xVVthM. Business and Beers of Wake Forest's Meetup: Oct. 23, 6:30 p.m.; Gatehouse Tavern, 960 Gateway ...


A night of networking with West Michigan women
WOODTV.com
A night of networking with West Michigan women. By eightWest Staff Published: October 21, 2014, 12:32 pm. Click to share on Twitter · Click to share on Google+ · Share on Facebook · Click to share on Pinterest. GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) Enjoy an ...

and more »

Gigaom

Nwave lends its internet-of-things networking technology to the Weightless ...
Gigaom
Instead, Nwave is submitting its networking technology as a template for the new Weightless-N standard, which aims to use the ISM bands as a connectivity blanket for millions of low-power sensors, meters and devices that need only intermittent and ...

and more »

The Epoch Times (blog)

3 Steps To Deciphering Golden Networking Opportunities
The Epoch Times (blog)
The same scenario repeats itself every week: you receive an email from a networking organization inviting you to a 6-9pm mingle. And, if you are an adept networker, there is simply one question that pops into your head: How is this networking event ...

Google News

Did You Market Yourself Today?

"If you build a better mouse trap - the world... Read More

Why Cant I Remember Your Name?

You're terrible with names. You forget someone's name within ten... Read More

Hey, Whos the New Guy? How to Make Guests and First Timers Feel Welcome

The New Guy is a person we all know. And... Read More

Lesson 14 - Whats In A Handshake?

The StoryAs a child growing up, one of the many... Read More

Lessons from the Wedding Mafia

One of my clients shared a story with me from... Read More

Successfully Meeting And Greeting - Ten Strategies For Getting Off To A Good Start

A day in the life of every businessperson is made... Read More

Real Business Networking Doesnt Happen at Networking Events

Real networking isn't about handing out business cards at a... Read More

Savvy Networking: Grow Your Business and Your Career

Did you know that contacts are the bread of career... Read More

Land the Ideal Job Using Social Networks

With at least 60% of job-seekers finding employment through networking,... Read More

Networking Skills: Arguing in Context

If you're fond of a good debate, you know how... Read More

Give People Something to Talk About!

My husband and I tried an experiment one night. We... Read More

How Speakers, Exhibitors, Consultants, and Meeting Planners Partner-Generate More Money and Value

? "Make Every Moment Count" is the title of a... Read More

Plan for the Event or Flounder

Rather than being there to eat the food and drink... Read More

Client Attraction Technique #2: Networking

One of the most cost effective ways of generating leads... Read More

The Answer to Your Worst Networking Nightmare

Imagine you just met your ideal client at a networking... Read More

Strategic Networking: Take the Shortest Path to Success

Do you use Ryze or LinkedIn to promote your web... Read More

Networking: Breaking into the Buzz

Breaking into conversational groups is one of the things people... Read More

How to Organize a Successful Bad Sweater Party

"Hey Scott, would you like to go to a Bad... Read More

Ten Simple Steps to More Customers with Better Networking

Networking is a great way to meet people in a... Read More

Social Networking: A Link To Like Minds

Not all dot-com dreams died when the Internet stock bubble... Read More

You Can?t Spell Networking Without Serendipity

"Fear not to entertain strangers for by so doing some... Read More

Networking: What the Heck is a Ryze?

If you're new to the internet marketing club, you may... Read More

How Well Do Your Customers Know You?

Know your customer, know your customer, know your customer. Three... Read More

Write It Down!

Why would you want to write information on paper when... Read More

Talk Isnt Cheap

The most successful organizations have good communication skills. Survey after... Read More