Power Thinking, with Dr Morris O’Connor

Power body language

Legs crossed, waving, running your hand through your hair, tapping your thigh, giving someone a Vulcan Death Grip – what do all these common place gestures mean and how can you use them more effectively to manifest success?

If you’re a good speaker, but get ignored in meetings, can’t close a sale or accidently turn on the more creepy members of staff, you may not be giving off the right signals. Or you could just be creepy yourself – it’s not an exact science. If you know you are creepy I can’t help you and I suggest you stop staring at this and go back to the office kitchen area to eyeball your colleagues.

The correct body language is often a shortcut to 100 words. If my wife Pae Pwang-O’Connor has washed the car particularly well or doubled her wife wages down at the bookies, she’ll get a single thumb up from me. It’s all she needs to know she’s going to stay in the wife role at least to the end of the financial year.

Through experience I’ve learned to let my body do the talking after my words have offended potential buyers and investors. I remember I was trying to sell some patio furniture to a garden centre owner called Jed in Tunsbury and was dying on my arse.

“Morris, I don’t see what me looking a bit like Louis Walsh has to do with buying your patio sets,” Jed explained. “I’m just saying he’s got the same set and you look alike, and to me, that’s very cool.” “Okay I’m busy so I’m going to end this. It’s poorly made, it’s expensive and it’s all painted in the colours of the Jamaican flag.”

At this point I thought all was lost, but I relaxed, bit my bottom lip and flicked him a leg kick very much in the style of the late Michael Jackson. It broke the ice and suddenly Jed was on my side. “Listen Morris, I know times are tough [they weren’t that bad] I think I can get rid of this junk.” Jed could call it what he wanted, but he took the lot and the Jamaican patio furniture was off my hands.

So when your mouth fails you don’t forget you’ve got your body. Not winning over a client? Try a finger in the mouth and then upping the number of fingers until you get their attention. Mirror your interviewer’s body language to put them at ease. If they walk over to the window, slide on over there too.

Think of body like a wind instrument, touching different parts of it gives off different notes to the observer.

Dr Morris O’Connor is the best selling author of Human Saxophone: Playing Your Body for Business Success.