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:


U.S. News & World Report (blog)

4 Networking Tactics for Veterans
U.S. News & World Report (blog)
Most people know that networking is the critical foundation of any job search. Unfortunately, most people – including veterans – are terrible at professional networking. Beginning with a basic misunderstanding regarding the purpose of networking, most ...


MSNBC

Don't make this networking mistake
MSNBC
Networking is not about trying to get everyone to like you. It's not about making close friends. I've said it before and I'll say it again now: people-pleasing is poison. It is enemy number one for women who want to grow personally and professionally ...


Computerworld

Apple's iOS Networking With Cisco's Suits
MediaPost Communications
β€œCisco networks and iOS devices will be optimized so that they work together more efficiently and reliably with the goal of providing users with even greater performance,” according to a joint news release yesterday. Cisco executive chairman John ...
Apple leans on Cisco Systems' Internet networking expertise in bid to sell ...Fox Business
Cisco to Optimize Networking Products for iPhones, iPads in the EnterpriseChannel Partners

all 393 news articles »

insideHPC

Cray XC Series Networking
insideHPC
As part of the Cray networking environment for the Cray XC30, the Aries interconnect and related software stack have been optimized for parallel computing environments. The Cray software stack includes a high performance MPI implementation as well as ...


eWeek

HP to give VMware's software defined networking efforts a boost
ZDNet
HP's move to sell NSX is aimed directly at networking rival Cisco. VMware, also a partner of Cisco, moved into network virtualization as did HP. HP is planning to work with VMware to deliver products and services such as HP Software-defined Compute ...
VMware updates SDN platform for data center networkingTechTarget
VMware Gets Physical With Latest NSX Software-Defined Networking UpdateCRN
NSX Helps Networks Cloudify – VMwareLight Reading
eWeek -EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet -TechRepublic
all 128 news articles »

Motley Fool

3 Things Intel's Networking Chief Wants You to Know
Motley Fool
During the question-and-answer session with Rivera, one analyst pointed out that the networking-chip market has generally been serviced by chips built around the PowerPC and MIPS architectures. The analyst wanted to know what had kept Intel from being ...


Networking Session at First Presbyterian Church
Omaha World-Herald
Please join us on September 1st from 4:30 – 6:30 for the next networking event at First Presbyterian Church located at 216 South 34th Street. Parking will be available directly south of the Church, next to the Mutual of Omaha South Tower. From a tiny ...


Consultant: Preparation key to networking
The Daily News Journal
MURFREESBORO – Networking events can prove intimidating to even the most gregarious of professionals, so make the most of time by arriving prepared with a strong plan and effective strategy, a consultant advises. This is just one of the many tips for ...


Hindustan Times

Social networking, hosting events, ways to popularise PAU museum
Hindustan Times
"Social networking is one of the easiest methods of reaching to a large number of people and is highly efficient. Even the corporate sector actively uses various social networking platforms to promote their products and services. Similarly, PAU should ...

and more »

Network World

Cumulus Networks adds VMware to its long list of partners
Network World
There's a funny dichotomy between the container ecosystem and the software-defined networking (SDN) one. In the container space, seemingly every vendor is creating their own lightweight operating system that is designed to work well in a containerized ...
VMware eyes hyperconverged model for private cloudsThe Register

all 2 news articles »
Google News

Powerful Networking: Focus on Building Connections, Not Closing Sales

You can find numerous references in the business literature about... Read More

You Can?t Spell Networking Without Serendipity

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

The 7 Habits of Highly Horrible Networkers

Networking is a term that didn't exist (academically) until almost... Read More

Real Business Networking Doesnt Happen at Networking Events

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

How to Get More Visibility, Increase Your Influence, and Get More Referrals

Earlier today I was helping a client develop a better... Read More

Sharpen Your Business Networking Skill To Grow Your Small Business

Most people become lax at maintaining their professional business network... Read More

Test Your Networking Know-How

Let's test your knowledge on networking:1)The best definition of networking... Read More

Community Involvement Networking

It is important for you to join at least one... Read More

The 4 Attitudes of Awesome Hospitality

Hospitality relates to the Latin term philoxenia, or "the love... 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

Networking: What the Heck is a Ryze?

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

Power Networking: Getting Your Name Out There!

Today's economy presents some very special challenges to people who... Read More

Your Front End

While surfing for traffic or browsing your safelist emails, you... Read More

62 Ways to MAXIMIZE Your Approachability

If you walk into your local bookstore and pick up... Read More

The Foundation of Networking: Its Not Rocket Science

Commandment 1LoveWhen we choose to simply love, our giving and... Read More

Alliances: More Than A One Way Relationship

What is the biggest advantage of forming an alliance?Everyone has... Read More

Joining Industry Specific Organizations Has Many Benefits

Recently, while providing an up-and-coming Virtual Assistant (VA) and small... Read More

The Promotion Factor: Seven Strategies to Promote Yourself and Your Business by Playing Golf

Effective business promotion is more powerful than advertising. Using golf... Read More

Ask for What YOU Want and Gain More Business

Why ask others for help and what do you gain... Read More

Should You Offer Commissions For Customer Referrals?

As a small business owner you may find yourself in... Read More

34 Power Affirmations for Networking with the Affluent

Here are 34 affirmations I have created after studying the... Read More

How to Get Ahead in Your Career

Bigger Better Deal. That's what everyone always hopes will come... Read More

The Five Step Formula For Getting Prospects to Call You

Are you tired of prospecting for new business?Are you sick... Read More

Develop a Great Network - Pay It Forward for Maximum Success

Who needs a network of people to talk to about... Read More

Networking

Networking: Is it who you know or what you know... Read More