Did you know your body reacts to information five seconds before your brain? This means anyone paying close attention has a five-second head start to find out how you really feel about something before you respond verbally. This is how New York Best Selling author and Body Language Expert Janine Driver has made her living — analyzing and studying body language, for many years as a Federal Law Enforcement Officer for the Department of Justice.
A record-number of attendees gathered last month at the Sandestin Beach & Golf Resort in Miramar Beach, Florida for the 51st annual AIM/R conference. In addition to their rep-focused educational content, awards and roundtables, attendees had the opportunity to hear Driver speak twice, a treat both times no doubt.
I’ve now heard Janine speak three times, as ASA Women in Industry fell in love with her as a speaker in 2022 and had her back at their annual conference earlier this year. Each time, I’ve walked away amazed, inspired and with new nuggets of information applicable to professional and personal life.
At AIM/R, Driver focused on emotional intelligence and how to analyze it in sales situations. She also dove into her famous, “You Can’t Lie To Me,” program and taught the audience about common deception identifiers. After seeing her speak a few times, I’ll list out some of my key takeaways that I think anyone can benefit from knowing below:
A HANDSHAKE IS EQUAL TO THREE HOURS OF RAPPORT ONLINE
Driver showed various types of handshakes, both good and bad. She explained that your bellybutton should face the person you are addressing, and showed that oftentimes people give the “cold shoulder” while shaking hands. Taking your time to handshake properly, with good eye contact and attention, is far more memorable than a Zoom call.
CROSSED ARMS MEAN YOU ARE USING BOTH SIDES OF YOUR BRAIN
Oftentimes arms crossed over someone’s chest is associated with dissatisfaction, but Driver explained that it simply means someone is engaging both the left and right sides of their brain; thinking extra hard or focusing on something intently.
“JUST” AND “LEFT” HAVE DEEPER MEANING
This is one of Driver’s points that I find myself thinking about extremely often. She says, “Just” is a minimizing word, and it can often be eliminated from your sentences. I find myself writing, “Just following up,” or “Just checking in,” in emails, but then I remember, “Just is not needed.” Just get right to the point, Natalie.
Similarly, Driver explained that “Left” is often used when people are experiencing strife. “I just left my house, I’ll be late to today’s meeting,” or “I just left the doctor with my mom, I’ll be there in 10,” are opportunities for you to check in with someone to make sure today is still a good time to meet — they likely have other things on their mind. Paying attention to situations like this gives you the opportunity to connect with someone on a more meaningful level and have a more positive outcome from your meeting.
ANGER IS A SECONDARY REACTION TO FEAR, ANXIETY OR SADNESS
Driver taught us that many times when people present as angry, they are actually fearful or sad about what they are reacting to. A customer might be acting angry, but they are really just anxious about getting their job done. A family member might be angry with you, but they are really just reacting out of sadness for the situation.
In business relationships, she gave this formula for addressing customers:
- Here’s what I know: Explain what you know about the situation at hand;
- Here’s what I don’t know: Be honest about the information you do not have; and
- Here’s what I’m going to do to bridge the gap between what I do know and don’t know: Explain your next steps to getting more information and closer to a solution for them.
This formula should replace the language, “I’m doing everything I can!” Driver says this helps no one, and is a defensive response to an upset customer rather than a helpful one.
One more fun take away on anger and anxiety is Driver’s “Name it to tame it,” technique. A self-proclaimed hot-head, Driver says when she feels angry, she will number the situation from 0-10. If it’s 7 or below, let it go; if it’s an 8, 9 or 10, be angry then. The same technique works for anxiety and fear.
There are numerous other takeaways you can find from Driver’s talks. I encourage you all the check out her books, “You Can’t Lie To Me,” and “You Say More Thank You Think,” and look her up on YouTube. I bet you’ll be entertained, engaged and you’ll find a couple nuggets of your own to apply to personal and professional relationships.