The customer has asked you a question, and you pause to collect your thoughts before speaking. To emphasize you’re thinking, go ahead and touch the side of your face.
It might seem abnormal, but for most people this gesture is a very logical part of their thinking process. It can be seen as a way of giving more importance to whatever you say after you pause.
Notice I say “touch the side of your face.” Don’t touch your face in a manner that hides it, because when you touch your face in a way that hides it, you can be giving the message you’re either about to lie or you’re trying to hide something significant.
Touching the side of your face may require some practice to be able to do it comfortably, but if you doubt the effectiveness of it, watch how other people do it.
If you’re a male, you might try rubbing your chin. For females rubbing the chin is not seen as a normal gesture, so my suggestion is for females to stick with a light touch on the side of their face.
Best approach in touching the side of the face is by using your index finger or a couple of fingers, using your entire hand or palm could be seen as being lazy.
If you’re wondering if I’m selling out to body language and the perception everyone does things the same way — relax, I’m not.
In the end, you still have to do what is natural for you, because if it’s not natural, the other person will pick up on it. But with anything there are exceptions, and I believe we can teach ourselves body movement techniques that can help to emphasize a point we want to make.
One word of caution: Anytime you use a body gesture too much, it will lose its impact.
Don’t think you need to touch the side of your face each time you pause to collect your thoughts.
Try it once or twice on a sales call and leave it at that. The impact of what you’re doing is you will give the customer the impression you’re thinking very seriously and, therefore, what you are about to say will be that much more important.
Copyright 2012, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.