The definition of ‘interactive’ is a two-way flow of information, allowing people to influence or have an effect on each other. It’s commonly accepted that, as humans exchange information with each other, only 7% is done with words. Another 38% is in vocal tone. And the greatest factor in human communication (55%) is body language. For an interactive character, learning to observe and respond to a guest’s body language is your key to strong, authentic interactions.
Reading body language is a skill you can develop. As you practice, you will become sensitive to a wide range of clues, from small ‘tells’ to big dramatic gestures.
In the beginning, just focus on the larger ones.
Big things to watch for:
Are they looking at you? Where their eyes are focused tells you where their attention is.
Are they staring at you? They could be daring you.
Are their shoulders aligned with yours? Are their hands open to you? They’re interested and engaged.
Are their hands turned away with their body turned away or inward? That’s someone who isn’t into connecting with you.
If their feet are pointing towards you, they’re probably open to you.
If their feet are pointed away from you, they’re likely closed to you and want to get away.
Bouncing and tapping feet is usually a sign of happiness.
Slouching or other bad posture may indicate boredom or lack of interest.
If they are still, upright and leaning forward, they are focused, attentive and engaged.
Someone staying further away from you could be interested but wary.
If they get close, they are connected and ready to interact.
These are authentic clues common to us all. They’re not very refined. But they don’t have to be. They are easily observed and acknowledged. They are unmistakable as the first offer in your scene.
As you read over the list, you may think that these clues could mean many other things. It’s ok. You don’t have to be right. In every interaction, you always make adjustments. In fact, that’s good! That creates the sense of an organic interaction with a living being. Connecting this way sends the message that you are observing and valuing each individual you meet. It shows you are trying to relate specifically to them. To you, they are special.
This is just the start in learning to recognize the larger clues to what’s going on inside a person.
As you become more sensitive, you ‘ll be hearing more than the guest’s words. You’ll hear the messages their body is displaying. This is a fantastic way to make genuine connections with people you’ve just met.
And be comfortable knowing you’re not doing this to manipulate or take advantage. You are learning to be empathetic to your guest and quickly create a relationship.In the long run, being good at reading body language is just another part of being a great listener.
Next Up: Now – Reach Out.