We all have bad habits we realize we should break: stop smoking, don’t get so cranked up in traffic, limit the number of donuts eaten before noon. These are conscious habits: we’re aware that we are doing them as we do them.
But what about our subconscious habits?
“I didn’t even realize I was doing that!”
Certain patterns of behavior can be so programmed into our brains that identifying them can be tough to do. How many times did you say ‘um’ the last time you made a pitch? What was your resting facial expression while your prospect was talking to you? How was your posture?
“We think about what we want to say to answer questions from clients or customers or interviewers, but we very rarely think about how we want to say something,” said Vanessa Van Edwards, a body language expert, in a recent interview. “That’s actually what matters more; our body language carries 4.3 times more weight, more mental weight than our words.”1
This means that our sales success is being affected not only by our verbal presentation, but even more so by how we are perceived as we deliver it. If we are not 100% aware of our verbal and nonverbal cues, we are losing sales as a result.
How video can identify your bad habits
The simplest way to uncover undermining bad habits is to record yourself with your phone, then playback the video to see how you did.
Here are a few things to look for:
- Tone of voice – We often script our pitches and practice them over and over again to get them right. The problem is after so much practice those same pitches can end up sounding dull and lifeless. Bulleting your pitches will enable you to remember the facts and talking points while leaving the rest of your delivery sounding fresh.
- Posture – We all know this one: shoulders back, head up, sit wide. The more space you take up, the more confident you appear. On the contrary, the less space you take up, the more unsure you seem, which calls your information’s integrity into question.
- Crutch words – Have you ever been speaking with someone and notice they use a word more often then they probably should? Keep talking with that person and it becomes the only thing you can hear! Listen to see if you have any crutch words when you speak and become more aware of their use.
- Hand movements – Pay attention to how often you use your hands when speaking. Too often can be a distraction, but not enough can be just as off-putting. In fact, many times when entering a room, a person’s hands are the first thing we look at. This is a leftover survival mechanism from the caveman days of checking for weapons to determine if someone was friend or foe. Bottom-line: higher hand visibility = higher trust.
- Fronting – This refers to aiming your torso and toes towards the person you are talking to. This might be hard to monitor over video, but it is a sign of respect and an important nonverbal cue.
What else should you be monitoring for?
Monitoring yourself can be a great learning tool if you know what you’re looking for. However, what if you don’t? Not everyone is an expert at verbal or nonverbal cues.
Most of us are familiar with in-person coaching sessions, and many have probably participated in them with our managers or other coaches in the business. Those of us who have participated understand that although they work well, coaching sessions can be difficult to schedule, time-consuming, and often involve additional cost and travel time.
To get around some of the problems that in-person coaching presents, we’ve developed Video Coach: a mobile application that directly connects agents with their managers, allowing them to submit their practice videos and receive instant, expert feedback.
We hope you found these tips helpful. Here is a related post about how you can incorporate video into your learning content to increase knowledge retention.