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Wedding Business Solutions Bonus Episode with Traci BrownTraci Brown – Body language in the age of Zoom – Bonus Dialogue Episode

I’ve often referred wedding and event pros, like you, to Traci Brown and her books/courses on body language and detecting lies. I got to wondering recently what reading body language is like in the age of Zoom meetings. Do the same rules apply as in-person? What signals are you sending with your body language on a Zoom sales meeting? Great questions, huh? So, I asked my friend, and National Speakers Association Member, Traci Brown to come on and discuss these questions and more. Listen to this 27-minute episode and find out.

Note from Alan: we record the video and audio, and in this episode Traci demonstrates some facial expressions, so if you’re listening on audio, you might want to go to YouTube and watch the video: www.WeddingBusinessSolutionsPodcast.tv

Traci Brown is one of the world’s top body language experts. NBC, CBS and FOX have asked her to reveal secrets hidden in plain sight. Her tools have helped companies build the bottom line through increasing sales and reducing fraud loss.

To find out more about Traci, her books and courses, visit www.bodylanguagetrainer.com 

Listen to this and all episodes on Apple Podcast, YouTube or your favorite app/site:

Below is a full transcript. If you have any questions about anything in this, or any of my podcasts, or have a suggestion for a topic or guest, please reach out directly to me at Alan@WeddingBusinessSolutions.com or contact me via textuse the short form on this page, or call 732.422.6362

Please be sure to subscribe to this podcast and leave a review (thanks, it really does make a difference). If you want to get notifications of new episodes and upcoming workshops and webinars, you can sign up at www.ConnectWithAlanBerg.com


– When I think about body language, I think about being in person with someone. But in the world of Zoom, what does body language mean? Listen to this episode and find out. Hi, it’s Alan Berg and welcome back to the Wedding Business Solutions podcast. I invited a very special friend, a fellow National Speakers Association member to be with me to talk about body language. because when I think of body language, I think of Traci Brown. Hey, Traci.

– Hey, Alan. It’s so good to be with ya.

– It is so good to be with you as well virtually, and that’s exactly what we’re talking about today, is being together virtually. And I was thinking about this the other day because we always have this thing with Zoom. Where do I look? Where do I look on the screen? How many people are on here? And I started thinking, body language. I see that person over there, are they really paying attention? Are they not paying attention? What do I look like to them? And I said, who do I know? I live in New Jersey, so you gotta have a guy. In this case, I have Traci. She’s not a guy, but I have Traci. So Traci, what have you… I know you’ve been on TV and you’ve been on all kinds of stuff. Have you had any discussions? Has anybody else asked you about this?

– Yeah, body language on Zoom, you bet. Here’s the deal, Alan. The short story is most people aren’t good at reading body language in-person. And when it gets on Zoom, you got almost two hands tied behind your back. However… However, there’s so much you can still tell. But I think it’s important to make sure that you set yourself up for success first. Like pay attention to yourself first before you start paying attention to everyone else. And some of that is just, and you know this it’s just basic cinematography. Make sure people aren’t looking up your nose. And here’s how you can tell. If you look at yourself on Zoom and you can see your ceiling, you are doing it wrong. Right.

– Yes.

– So you want to to make sure your head kinda brushes the top of your screen, or has very little space at the top of your screen. And that’s a good way to come across powerfully. because you’re being read just like you’re trying to read other people. So that’s tip number one. Make sure your lighting’s good and that your audio is good. People will forgive bad video they won’t forgive bad sound.

– It’s interesting you say that because I noticed when I started the recording, my camera pulled back.

– So did mine, why did that happen?

– I didn’t do that. It pulled back, so I was much closer. My head was closer to the top. When I edit these, when I’m doing a solo one, I will zoom in more and put myself towards the top. Here we have this… I’m not sure what I’m going to get out of Zoom on terms of the recording, because you are closer in than me and your head is closer to the top, but it’s interesting. I didn’t tell it to do that. And I noticed yours pulled back as well. Now, so the interesting thing is as you say, to pay attention to yourself. But then of course during the call with someone, you don’t want to be paying attention to yourself.

– Well, exactly. And I was in an article in The Wall Street Journal on this not long ago and they quoted some researchers from Stanford in the same article. And they said that we actually get… like the reason we have Zoom fatigue is that it’s really taxing on our system to watch ourselves all the time. So there are ways you can set Zoom so that other people can see you but you can’t see you. So that can be an option for folks if you’re feeling Zoom fatigue.

– Yeah, I read that article and I thought that was really interesting. You’re a professional speaker, I’m a professional speaker. We’re used to seeing ourselves. We’re used to hearing ourselves, the whole thing. People are like: I don’t like my voice. People are always like, I don’t like my voice. I don’t like the way I look on camera and stuff like that. It doesn’t phase me that way. When I’m looking, I’m looking as if it’s somebody else because I do want to critique the background, the lighting, the sound, all things like that. Those are important. But I remember reading that article. I was like, yeah, you notice yourself like I’m there. And of course, every time you look at yourself, the other people think you’re not looking at them.

– Oh, right. So that’s just the thing. So and the way you set up your Zoom window, mine is minimized quite a bit so you’re on top. And so I can look at you and it’s pretty close to looking at my camera which is not exactly the same, but it’s pretty close. So hopefully I’m hoping you’re not looking close enough to notice.

– But you know what? I have the same thing. I don’t go full screen. You don’t need to be this big on my 27 inch monitor. I always have it down, you’re up at the top there. I probably could turn off my own video, but I’m below. I’m not even seeing that. I did see another one of our speaker friends that had talked about this thing that you put over your monitor so you can mount your camera in the middle of the monitor. So you’re actually looking at the camera and the person.

– Yeah, I saw that too, I saw it. What did you make one up?

– I made it

– Yeah, you rigged it up.

– I made one up. So this is a Lucite document stand. And I cut the top off and I Velcro mounted my camera mount and I could hang it there. I’d done it a couple of times. Right now it’s still more distracting for me because it’s new. But if I put you, like you said right at the top or you’re right below the camera there. The difference between this and this is not that much.

– Right, so take out a little time to set up, I think is valuable. Because when you’re in a sales situation, when you’re meeting people and they’re putting it can be a lifetime worth of dreams in your hands. Make sure that you come across as though you care. And cinematography does that. Like as much as we think it’s not a big deal, like it’s huge. It is so huge. So background, lighting, sound, make sure you’re paying attention to all that. Now, hopefully having just said all that, we are hopefully stepping out of forced 100% Zoom meetings, but nonetheless the principles remain the same. Is that you want to make sure that you come across as well as you can in person. And what does that mean? Oh, lighting, clothes.

– Well, the same things. Well, I actually just did another podcast episode that’s live already which is “Will we be using Zoom post-COVID?” And I think one of the benefits is that people have gotten comfortable with it more. And a lot of people in the wedding and event industry used to kind of force their customers to come in and meet with them, because they didn’t know if they could make the sale. And a lot of them have learned how to make the sale this way. It’s like, well, you’re going to save yourself time and them time if you can just meet now.

– Oh, totally. So much time is getting saved. And you get a little more connection, but maybe not full commitment which I think is the key there, because clearly if let’s say you’re a caterer and you’re talking dishes, you probably going to want to go see the setup. A little showroom can really help, but other stuff it’s just not necessary.

– And you can show pictures and you can show video and you can do stuff like… So what are some of the other things on body language when we’re talking about head and shoulders here. What are some of the things for people to be paying attention to or working on?

– So I think you want to make sure that you’re reading people and that they’re really where you think they are. Like are they in the palm of your hand or do they have more questions. Or are they just there because their wife made them be there. Like those kinds of things. Or fiancée.

– Fiancée.

– Yeah, so one of the easiest things is to understand that well, you want to learn how to detect lies. Because that’s really important, buyers are liars. So whenever the body language doesn’t match the words then you know wait a minute, something’s not quite right. So for American people when you nod your head like this, this means yes. When you shake your head like this, that means no. So if someone says, man, I really liked that dish set. Like, you gotta be careful. And because you want to make sure you’re answering their unspoken questions.

– Unspoken questions. because you had the liars class. I remember I was in your beta test there. Wasn’t that the first one that completed it I think?

– You were, I think you were. It’s called Fraud Spotting and a lot of salespeople like it. It’s an online class. It’s on my website, bodylanguagetrainer.com

– We’ll put all this into the show notes. Everybody, it has that there. So the body language doesn’t match the words there. They’re shaking their head, no. But they’re saying yes words. What are some of the other things that wouldn’t match.

– Well, that’s the easiest one for right now. You want to make sure you’re understanding people’s interest level. So are they leaning forward? Like, oh wow, like checking that out or are they leaning back like this? And even if you’re chest up, you can see when someone crosses their arms. When they cross their arms there’s no absolutes… because body language tells you what’s on someone’s mind, it doesn’t tell you why. So you don’t know are they putting a barrier between themselves and you. Like they don’t like the idea. Are they cold, they could be cold. My husband freezes me out of this house. And since we’ve been working at home, it’s been real interesting to agree on the thermostat level. So you see me cross my arms it’s because I’m a little cold.

– Right, so I love that point. You see what they’re doing but you don’t know why.

– Yeah, so you gotta ask. So you have to ask. You can’t just go down your list of questions. You have to stop and you have to say: “Huh. Seems like you have some more to say about that”, or maybe: “Is something else on your mind that I’m not answering?” The most common thing is when someone crosses their arms and then we’ll get into some other stuff, is that they’re comparing what you’re presenting to what they know, and what they know is different. So there’s a little bit of conflict there. And maybe there’s some new information that they weren’t ready for or are trying to integrate. So you want to make sure you’re answering questions around that. Now, if someone rolls their lips in like that or covers their mouth and then starts to speak after that, they’re holding something back typically. it could be emotions, it could be information. So you want to make sure you dig down into that. Like if you were to ask me: “Traci, what’s the budget for your wedding?” And I said, well it’s about 30,000. Well, there’s maybe some negativity there, or I may not be telling you the whole truth.

– Which is a question I actually tell people not to ask the couples because they are going to not tell you the truth, because they’re going to hold back anyway. And Phil M. Jones, another speaker author, said all budgets are made up anyway, so.

– Totally but that’s just an example.

– Yeah, no but I love it. So the pursing of the lips before they give the answer is “I’m holding something back.”

– Yeah, if your lips get sucked in over your teeth. Now, if while you’re talking to someone they tighten up their lips like that, like tighten up their mouth area, that is silent disagreement. So that’s super important because it’s real subtle to catch, but you need people agreeing with you and you need them agreeing likely as a couple, if you’re dealing with them, like two people in a meeting. Or it could be a bridal party. There could be a whole gaggle of people.

– The posse could definitely be with them. And so now you might have people in different windows as opposed to sitting next to one another on the other side of that. So now you’re paying attention all over. I know how you said to do this in person because I read your book, “Body Language Confidential.”

– So if you have multiple windows going on here how do you find out the decision maker? What would be clues for you who the decision maker is? It’s not the Brady bunch. Like they’re not going to look up at each other in the windows there.

– Yeah, nobody’s asked me that, nobody has asked me how to find the unconscious leader of a group on Zoom. So here is what I… Because in person, let’s talk about it in person because they may not be in one window. They may all be in the same window. So okay, the lowest person on the totem pole will have their hands in their pockets. So you don’t need to worry about that person. The decision decision-maker may or may not be the bride or groom, the decision-maker may or may not be the person paying the bill. What’s you’re looking for is the unconscious leader of the group. And so do you know if everybody sees each other the same in Zoom meetings?

– I think it could be…

– I don’t think they do.

– Yeah, I think it could be all over the place. Well, in a Zoom meeting everybody can see everybody unless they’re not on video.

– But do you know if they’re in the same spot, that’s the question. because I don’t think they are. – They are not. They are in… Well, first of all, you can reorder Zoom windows. Some people don’t know that. If you click and hold someone’s video, you can slide it to a different place. But otherwise they tend to come in based upon where you came in. Then if somebody leaves and they come back that’s going to change. If the settings are such that the speaker gets highlighted up to a certain place, you can do stuff like that. So it’s a little harder.

– It’s a little sketchy.

– It’s a little sketchy.

– So what you want to do to the best of your ability is see who the bride or groom refers to when they see whatever you’re presenting.

– And again, for anybody listening here, it could be a bride and a bride. It could be a groom and groom, the couple. So on the couple, So the important point in case anybody missed this. The person paying the bill may not be the decision maker. They may not be the alpha in this group. So who we’re looking for and this is what again, what I learned in your books. Who is everybody looking to or looking towards. And I don’t mean physically necessarily but that is the clue there for the decision. Who are we looking for approval from? So what I was telling people in person is if you ask a question, so let’s just say it’s two brides. And if I ask the question to one of the brides, does she look at her fiancée?

– Yeah, so if she looks at the fiancée that’s the person in charge generally. At least for that decision. She can look to her mother or father. But see, you also gotta understand that you may have like I said, a whole bridal party there. Look who sits in the nicest chair. And this is what I tell my venues and my bridal shops to do. You get one chair that looks like a throne. And see who the group wants to sit there. That’s your person who’s the unconscious leader of the group, most times. They’ll also cross their legs towards the leader.

– Have their feet pointing. Even if they’re looking at somebody else, if their feet are pointing towards someone. And again, nothing’s perfect because sometimes you just happen to point your feet over there. But you’re looking for these patterns of this kind of stuff here. So on Zoom windows then…

– On Zoom it has to be verbal. I think it has to be verbal.

– Who’s talking, who’s answering the question. Who’s talking over somebody. Things like that.

– Yup, things like that. Look who’s the alpha in the group and that’s where the decision is going to go. Now, the reason that becomes important is because then, you only have to convince one person. You don’t have to convince the whole group. And the risk of not finding the unconscious leader of the group is that they may be the bad apple that spoils the bunch after they leave. So that’s super important.

– The sister or maid of honor, or the mother who didn’t have the wedding that she wanted when she got married, and now is trying to control the daughter’s. The daughter wants certain things, the mom’s going to spoil it. Mom’s going to just cut it off at the knees afterwards.

– Yeah, it could be or go for it full bore. So you just need to make sure you know who that person is. And I had a wedding, Stardust Celebrations down in Dallas. They had me in to train their team. They have two shops and one of the associates came to me. She goes, you know what? I use this all day. She goes I’ve never sold every dress that got tried on all day. And she goes, one of those dresses was $30,000. I’m like, that’s right. It’s because you decided to start paying attention. Like that’s what this can do, but you gotta learn to pay attention.

– So what do you do when the… let’s just call it a bride and groom in this particular situation. You have a brand new groom and mom has a different idea. And mom’s trying to control this. And you can see on the face of the bride let’s say that every time mom talks the bride makes faces. Again, this is a Zoom thing too. If mom is talking and I look and you can see the bride, what are some of the “I’m disgusted” or disdain looks that someone else is talking. What would I be looking for?

– Well, we talked about tightness in the lips area. They may do a snarl. You can see that I can do it. It’s a little bit of an Elvis lip thing. You’re not doing it right Alan, you’re not doing that.

– No, I’m not I can’t. I don’t know what I’m doing here, yeah.

– Don’t look at Alan. But that’s disgust. So they can be… because when I was planning my wedding because we got married pretty late Like I was 41. My mom stepped in on some things and it was so exhausting because I’d already kind of been through it. And my mom, we don’t live close and I was exhausted. But you know this, I was exhausted by the whole thing.

– You just did something again. A lot of people are listening on audio here but you just put your hand on your face.

– Yeah, that’s stress. I’m still stressed about my wedding. It’s been six years or seven or something.

– Traci is already married six years. And yet she’s thinking about this, this isn’t important stuff. And you put your hand on your face, covering your eyes. That’s stress look there. So if I was on Zoom with you and your mom, your mom starts talking and you put your hand on your face like that. It’s like, oy, that’s an official term, by the way “oy”. Oy, here she goes again. It’s that here they go again. So what do you do in a situation like that? Because it could be that the bride or the bride and the groom, the bride and the bride, the groom and the groom, they’re paying for the wedding. But they just invited mom because or mom invited herself. Right, mom invited herself into this. How do you deal with that dynamic?

– Well, what you’re going to do is make sure that each party feels heard. And if the bride’s the one in distress like I was, then you gotta go… you just ask her, “Hey sweetie, you know what? I get you’re totally stressed and I get this is completely overwhelming. What can I do for you?”

– Now, in a personal situation you can do that. And I’ve coached that same thing. I probably heard it from you. Take them aside and say: “Listen, I understand.” I also said, take mom aside and say: “Hey mom, listen you clearly have some strong opinions about what this is. I know you want it to be her day or their day or his day or whatever. What’s the most important thing to you? Like what do you need to have?” So you want to try to be their advocate a little bit to diffuse that. Is that good?

– That’s good and I think also if you get people to understand that they’re actually trying for the same goal, then that helps too. Like you can say wouldn’t you say like our goal here is to have the most amazing day ever. And everyone’s going to be like, yeah. So then you start chunking it down from there as to your part in it, as to everyone’s a little part in it and how that goes. And generally people will come along with that line of reasoning and start to calm down a little bit. And that’s why I say, if we can give everybody a little win. And you might have to say to the couple, listen, we need to give mom something. We need to give her a little win so that she will back off. Because if she’s getting shut down on everything I think she’s just going to get stronger and stronger into her opinions there. So let’s throw a bone over there. So let’s wrap this up a little bit. What else do you think everybody needs to know here? In the age of Zoom, we’re doing these Zoom meetings and Zoom has become a verb. So it could be another platform.

– Yeah, I know totally.

– Definitely another platform here. So what else would you want people to think of when it comes to in Zoom this kind of body language, what are we paying attention to here?

– Well, you know what? Let’s get off body language. Let’s go to tone like listen to your tone. You know your tones. Are they happy, are they sad? Like you can divide up tones into all different kinds of categories. But basically happy-sad or happy-unhappy. So listen to that tone. Like believe it the first time, cause you may not get another chance to have a second time with them to understand what they’re saying it’s how the said it. And so make sure that you’re paying attention to that. Get off your spiel, get off your list of questions and dig down when you see it right then. Do not wait because you’re missing the important information.

– And this is both ways because your tone matters as well. So their tone, you hear something in the tone and you want to to take that elephant out of the room and say: “It sounds like you might not have enough information about that.” Or “It sounds like that’s not what you wanted to do”, or “It sounds like, wow, it sounds like you’re getting really excited about the as well.”

– The elephant in the Indian wedding that you’re trying to order or whatever.

– Exactly, you’re really excited about it. Which is funny because a friend of mine he’s of South Asian descent and his wife is not. He wanted an elephant and it was Charlottesville, Virginia and the closest one was in Boston and it was $10,000 if they wanted the elephant, then he’s like, No. So they had a beautiful horse with beautiful regalia on it or whatever but it was not $10,000 to have the horse but he was like “I want the elephant.” Like, “No, I don’t the elephant for $10,000.” There you go. So, all right. So your tone, their tone, paying attention to that. Paying attention if there’s more than one person on. Who’s talking? Who is being the alpha there? Who is the decision maker? And don’t assume it’s the person with the credit card or the checkbook.

– Yup, that’s right.

– All of those things there. And I would say record them so that you can also play back and listen to your tone. And hear how they… Now, if you don’t want to record the Zoom, you could always record just your audio on your phone or something like that you could listen to it. We as speakers know that we want to record ourselves. And here we’re looking for filler words, we’re looking for things like that. I noticed by doing my podcasts that I say “so” to start a lot of sentences. Doesn’t really bother me on audio. But when you see it in writing, wow. The captioning…

– The transcripts will get you every time Alan.

– It’s the closed captioning for YouTube. If you’re watching this on YouTube there’s closed captioning right here. We do that from the audio. And I noticed, I say “so” a lot. So there you go. So Traci Brown, I’m going to put it into the show notes, but quickly if somebody wanted to find out more, you have books they’re on your website, they’re on Amazon. Where are your books?

– Exactly yep, my website bodylanguagetrainer.com and there’s also online classes there and on Amazon.

– Yup and then the the lying class that I took, what is that called?

– Oh, it’s called “Fraud spotting.” And if you just go to the store on my website, it’ll be right there and it’s 22 little short videos. It’s micro-learning and you will learn how to tell whose pants are on fire by the time you are done with that.

– Yes, and Traci knows that I not only took the course but I would send her sometimes a link to a news video or something like, okay, hey, here’s what I think, what do you think. Which you get all the time from news people also, watch this politician or watch this someone over there. So you get that. So Traci, thank you so much for joining me today. It has been so much fun chatting with you. Again, I’m going to put into the show notes all of the links so you can find out more about Traci. Her books are great they’re nice and short. I liked the short books. You can get some information, you can use it. And this is now going to work for you in person as well as on Zoom.

– Thank you so much for having me.

I’m Alan Berg. Thanks for listening. If you have any questions about this or if you’d like to suggest other topics for “The Wedding Business Solutions Podcast” please let me know. My email is Alan@WeddingBusinessSolutions.com. Look forward to seeing you on the next episode. Thanks.

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©2021 Wedding Business Solutions LLC & AlanBerg.com

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