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:


Benefit your business with networking
The Southern
What are you doing to grow your business? How often do you take advantage of networking opportunities? Many of us hear the word network and we immediately groan. Stop groaning and start smiling. Seriously, next time, start smiling when you hear the ...


Evidence Grows That Online Social Networks Have Insidious Negative Effects
MIT Technology Review
Online social networks have permeated our lives with far-reaching consequences. Many people have used them to connect with friends and family in distant parts of the world, to make connections that have advanced their careers in leaps and bounds and to ...


Upcoming small-business networking events
News & Observer
Wake County Women Business Owners Networking: Sept. 19, noon; Roper Bookkeeping, 242 Millbrook Road, Raleigh; RSVP at http://bit.ly/1bQj6Rs. Zebulon Chamber of Commerce's 2014 Business Expo: Sept. 25, 3-7 p.m.; Zebulon Middle School, 1000 ...

and more »

BusinessBecause

MBA Jobs – Business Schools Teach Art Of Networking
BusinessBecause
Julia Hobsbawm is the world's first professor of networking, but she won't be the last. The honorary visiting professor at Cass Business School, the London MBA provider, is one of a cadre of networking pros brought into the business classroom to show ...
Women in Business - Sophia Arthur, MBA graduateFinancial Times

all 3 news articles »

The Intricacies of Networking to Find a Job
Forbes
Lately, there has been a spike in the number of articles that have been written on networking to find a job. While this is not a new concept, the overarching view of networking does bear some fundamental flaws. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans ...


Daily News & Analysis

Rehabilitate unwed tribal girls, control social networking sites, panel tells ...
Daily News & Analysis
An interim report of the Justice (retd) Dharmadhikari Committee, set up to curb crimes against women, has asked Maharashtra government to control social networking sites as they can be used to harass women. It also wants the state to rehabilitate unwed ...
'Ban bar dance, frame policy to check vulgar activities on social media for ...Indian Express

all 11 news articles »

Channel Pro

Networking: Keeping up with trends
Channel Pro
Adding to this, technologies such as open networking allow businesses to integrate hardware from multiple vendors rather than being locked in to a particular brand as they would with proprietary systems. This gives organisations the ability to build ...

and more »

Getting Connected: Work out a plan for networking
Times Herald-Record
I have to admit that I'm completely flattered by the perception that I "go to everything." The truth is, I was tagged in pictures on Facebook at a handful of consecutive events over a short period of time, and BAM! There you have it. Mr. Ubiquitous ...

and more »

Forbes

Discoverly Is The Social Networking Tool That Makes Work Intros Easier (And ...
Forbes
I'm looking at the Facebook page of a well-known angel investor in Silicon Valley, staring at a little icon silhouette of a person next to his profile picture. It's faded out and grey, meaning he's eluded the networking efforts of the social plug-in I ...


Zhaopin Limited: An Online Professional Networking Website Worth Buying Into ...
Seeking Alpha (registration)
Zhaopin Limited (NYSE:ZPIN) the $684.04M market cap online professional networking company has been called the LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) of China. "Zhaopin Limited, through its subsidiaries, provides online recruitment services in the People's Republic of ...

and more »
Google News

Small File Box With Resumes to Help Customers

I bet you have not thought about it much, but... Read More

Acknowledging Referrals! What?s in It For You?

I grew up in a household where saying thank you... Read More

Networking: What the Heck is a Ryze?

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

Ten Simple Steps to More Customers with Better Networking

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

10 Terrific Tips to Talk Your Way to the Top

What is "the top" anyway? According to society, "top" has... Read More

Five Steps for Expanding Your Customer Base with Guerilla Networking

As a single company, it is impossible to provide your... Read More

Good Manners Mean Good Business

Good manners, good networking and good business all have the... Read More

Your Front End

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

Network Marketing Secret: On Becoming the ?GoTo? Guy

For years we've been taught to identify ourselves as reps... Read More

Five Stumbling Blocks To Successful Networking And How To Overcome Them

The ability to connect with people is essential to success... Read More

How to Get Ahead in Your Career

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

Strategic Networking: Take the Shortest Path to Success

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

Talk Isnt Cheap

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

Network Your Way to Success, and Remember: Its Not About You!

Quote of the week"The answer is always no...unless you ask."... Read More

Real Business Networking Doesnt Happen at Networking Events

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

Youve Got Personality, Use It!

For the self employed professional, nothing is more important than... Read More

Community Involvement Networking

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

Networking: Strangers, Friendship, and Business Growth

You already know that uncomfortable feeling, that knot in your... Read More

Defining a Quality Networking Group

When it comes to quality, how do you choose the... Read More

34 Power Affirmations for Networking with the Affluent

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

Politics, Religion, Race; Conversational No-No?s in Business

Do not destroy all your positive displacement and high energy... Read More

Why Arent You Talking to Me?

Your nonverbal communication talks before you do. Only seven percent... Read More

Flying High, Flying Far

"What me? Sell myself? You have to be joking!"This was... Read More

Lesson 14 - Whats In A Handshake?

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

Networking: Is Your Approach Too Self-Centered?

It's a classic mistake by networkers: their approach is focused... Read More