Listening for Body Language

To listen well, is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well, and is as essential to all true conversation
~ Chinese Proverbs

This issue is critical to telesales success for a huge reason…

that reason the 55% that’s missing when you talk to someone on the phone:
body language!

The theory that created those statistics was developed by noted psychology Dr. Albert Mehrabian back in the late 60s.’s Crazy Idea:

You Can Hear Body Language

No you didn’t read that wrong, you can hear body language – if you’re paying attention and listening.

Listen or thy tongue will keep thee deaf.
~ Native American

Listening for Body Language

It does make sense if you think about it, last time you were speaking with a friend, spouse, or parent on the phone and they were:

  • Exasperated
  • Angry
  • Frustrated
  • Discouraged
  • Sad
  • Excited

Couldn’t you hear it? That is the 38% of communication that is based on your tone, volume, pace, and pitch (want a fancy word for it? Paralanguage).

Take it a step further, do you know when they are:

  • Walking vs. Sitting
  • Watching TV
  • Flipping through a magazine
  • Surfing the net
  • Checking email
  • Stretched on the couch
  • Shaking their head
  • Waving their arms

Those are parts of body language that are more obvious than others, but hopefully you’re getting the idea.

This is why in telesales training you are often told to use the gestures you would use if you’re in front of someone “like they can see you”.

All we’re doing is turning that idea around and actively listening for those gestures:

  • Smiles
  • Rolling eyes
  • Head cocked to one side
  • Sitting on the edge of the seat

It takes a lot of practice, but the effort is completely worth it.

Who speaks, sows. Who listens, reaps.
~ Argentine Proverb


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