“Have you smiled today?”
Oehlers Shopping World - The Column
Saturday. Supermarket. Doing the family shopping for the weekend. Huge selection of products within a short radius. Everything you need. Everything you could desire. Organic, deli, “run-of-the-mill”. Every reason to be happy.
However, if you read the facial expressions and body language of customers around you, you will see a different picture: down-in-the-mouth faces, glum expressions, hectic activity. And what about me? The exact same gloomy, facial expression. I’ve allowed them to get to me – these miserable shoppers.
My spontaneous test is to smile! And lo and behold, I suddenly encounter happy, smiling people who stand aside to let me pass. None of the usual jockeying for position at the cheese counter. Some even let me go in front of them at the checkout. Everything is so easy with a friendly face. Sincere and heart-felt.
Facial expressions and body language are of key importance in professional negotiations. Non-verbal and paraverbal communication accounts for 93 % (!) of our entire communication. Only 7 % is purely verbal content. A smile, a friendly facial expression and corresponding body posture – provided it is authentic – opens people up. A positive facial expression is infectious. It promotes trust and tames our basic instinct: “He's not threatening...at least not today.” A smile and a positive facial expression have a disarming effect. Endorphins are released that suppress the release of the stress hormone adrenaline. You reach a constructive level where both sides behave completely differently than when under stress. Stress is blocked. The less stress we experience in negotiations, the better the negotiation outcome. And that's what it's all about. A good outcome. For everyone involved. Whether in negotiations with suppliers, employees, customers, children or your partner.
So, have you smiled today? Get going!