As Janine Driver, Body Language Expert, made her way from the back of the Grand Ballroom to the front at HSMAI’s MEET Mid-America, she shared with us just how much we say before we even open our mouths to speak.

“This guy’s legs are so far apart under the table it’s like Britney Spears getting out of a limo.”

During her session, “You Say More Than You Think: How to Use the New Body Language to Get What You Want,” Driver explained that before we even speak, we tell our friends, co-workers and current and potential clients exactly how we’re feeling, which sets the tone for the conversation to come.

Sworn to Secrecy: The CIA Oath

Before sharing the secrets of the new body language, Driver made every session attendee stand up, hold up their hand and take the CIA Oath:

“I swear to use the new body language for good, not for evil. I swear to keep the new body language within the walls of this room. And for those MEET participants who choose not to come to this session, but could’ve, screw them.”

Since I took the oath, I can’t share all the secrets I learned, but I’m willing to share a few…

What’s Wrong With The Old Body Language?

Before we get into how Janine Driver defines “new body language,” it’s important to take a look at how we generally view body language and why that’s wrong.

The problem with old body language, Janine explained, can be exhibited in two examples:

  1. “Bill Clinton’s ‘Yes’ Nod”: As Bill Clinton stood before millions of Americans and said he was not having inappropriate relationships, he shook his head “yes.” He said no as he was shaking his head yes.
  2. “Dr. Martin Luther King’s ‘No’ Nod”: Martin Luther King stood on top of the Lincoln Memorial shaking his head “no” while he was changing the way we would forever look at the world.

The problem with the old body language is that it tells us A=B when this is not always true.

Janine Driver’s Formula for the New Body Language

Janine Driver tells us to:

  1. Identify the Baseline: The normal behaviors an individual displays
  2. Identify Hot Spots: When an individual deviates from their baseline behaviors and exhibits a change in their normal mannerisms
  3. Ask Powerful Questions: Ask the right questions when someone exudes a hot spot. A great way to turn a bad situation around is by simply stating, “Maybe I’m wrong here, but it seems to me…”

Janine’s formula tells us to stop being mind-readers and to start paying attention to people’s normal behaviors, notice when they exhibit a change and ask a powerful question to turn a bad situation around quickly.

Implementing the New Body Language

Whether you’re trying to establish stronger relationships with your association members or increase attendance at your annual meeting, implementing the new body language can help you. We often focus on saying the right things, but how often we do focus on what we are already saying with our bodies?

Here is a video of Janine Driver on the Today Show outlining more on the New Body Language:

How can you implement the new body language to drive sales or establish stronger relationships with your attendees or members?