Friday, August 6


Growing up, my dad always watched all of the Westerns. I don't know that I was paying much attention then, but I always enjoyed the climatic scenes where the new sheriffs rolled into town. Their stance, voice, aura were all fascinating. As kids, we often acted out the scenes, emulating our favorite characters, right down to their stance. Fast forward to my professional life. I often see employees in companies missing one of the biggest components to communication in the workplace. Body Language.

A few days ago, my son, Braxton, and I were eating breakfast at the City Cafe in Murfreesboro, TN. It is located right off the town square. We sat in our usually booth right beside the front door. The local attorneys, judges, real estate, and political officials all eat there. Not to mention, it was election time.

A man walked in the door in a straw hat, somewhat of a country attire on, holding business cards to which he was running for office. The man stood in the middle of the front entrance very still. Braxton commented on his business cards and said, "he has some of those cards" referring to the advertising posters displayed for all candidates. The man stood still. Out of nowhere Braxton says to me, "I'm the new sheriff in town. There ain't room for the 2 of us." I lost it completely. I have never laughed so hard in my life. And from an 8 year-old. But is wasn't just the timeliness of his improv, it was his recognition of body language that amazed me.

While his comment was comical it demonstrated how much attention he pays to other people. Employees in today's fiercely competitive business world are missing opportunities to connect with their customers because they are not watching for clues.

The way someone walks into your store, the posture when they stand to deliver their questions, their tone, rate of speed, and the list can go on. All of these are clues that will help connect to an unhappy customer, or even increase a positive experience. Miss out on this opportunity and you may miss out on seeing them again.

Are your employees reading body language? As leaders, are you teaching this skill by asking questions when your staff shows certain body language clues? Can you think of experiences that it has helped your business and customers? Post your comments and thoughts here:

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