Although most of your translation work might be done in front of a computer screen, there are times when you’ll need to meet clients face-to-face, either in person or through an online video chat. When you’re in this situation, reading each other’s body language, and making sure you’re using your own body language to communicate effectively, is very important.
With this in mind, let’s discuss a few messages that you might be conveying to clients without speaking. On the other hand, perhaps you’ve noticed some of these traits in your clients too!
“I’m feeling defensive”
When someone’s feeling defensive they normally compress their body, and crossing arms is one of the most common ways people unconsciously signal that they’re guarding themselves.
“I’m not interested”
If your not feeling engaged by what someone’s saying, it’s easy to show this by slouching in your chair, fiddling or restlessly tapping your fingers. Make sure that you don’t offend potential clients by doing this in their presence!
“I’m not telling the truth”
Signs that someone is not being completely honest with you include a hesitancy to maintain eye contact, or if they do look at you, blinking excessively. Blushing is also an indicator that someone might be lying to you. If one of your clients displays this sort of behavior when discussing when they intend to pay you, then you might want to proceed with caution!
Biting a lip, touching a hand to the mouth or looking away and scratching the opposite shoulder indicates that the person your speaking to is anxious about what you’re saying. If your conversation partner starts doing this, then take time to reassure them.
If you’ve ever felt yourself getting annoyed by what someone’s saying (and who hasn’t at some point?!), then you might remember clenching your fists and frowning. If you see someone else is doing this in response to what you’re saying, then it might be a good time to change the subject or apologize!
“I’m open and listening to you”
When someone is talking to you, sitting with your legs uncrossed and your hands resting on your thighs shows that you’re open to what they’re saying and that you’re listening to their thoughts.
It’s always good to show people that you’re interested in what they’ve asked, and you can display your interest by using your body language: when someone asks you a question, stroking your chin and looking away for a brief moment indicates that you’re giving what they’ve said some serious consideration.
“I’m ready to speak”
If you find yourself talking for a little while, and your partner starts sitting on the edge of their seat or takes their glasses off, then you should be aware that they wish to add something to the conversation. Being aware of when someone wants to speak shows that you’re a generous and considerate communicator.
“I’m confident in my perspective”
When you’re speaking with a client, try to maintain an upright posture. If you’re hunched over, then you’ll appear unconfident in what you’re saying. By also making eye contact when you say key points, you’ll present a convincing and confident demeanor.
“I’m in control”
Have you ever noticed someone standing with their hands on their hips, often when they’re addressing a group of people? That’s because this particular posture asserts the speaker’s authority, indicating that they’re in control of a situation. If you’re speaking with a few people at once, then adopting the hands-on-hips position shows that your opinion carries weight.
When it comes to body language, it must be stressed that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to interpreting it – so use this information as a general guide rather than a written rule! But by paying attention to what your body’s saying when you’re not speaking, and by being aware of the body signals other people are sending to you, then you’ll come across as a natural communicator.