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Not a Look you Want!

deer headlights

As a business person, you want to avoid this look.

Being caught by surprise by a question often results with a “deer in headlights” response. To a greater or lesser degree it happens to all business people at one time or another.

An example: A business associate was asked by a potential client, “Why should I use your service over another one that is cheaper?” He hesitated, seem flustered and tried to compare his service to others. In the process he confused the listener, looked like he was avoiding the issue and spent most of the time talking about his competition. Boom – a deer caught in headlights.

Message: Maybe you should be looking at another service provider or I am not sure my service is as good, or … .

Body Language Challenge

Most of us would agree that in face-face communications our body language is the most significant part of our communications. Some say 80%+ of the message. But, we are not necessarily accurate in interpreting someone’s body language. A problem arises when the words we speak and the thoughts we express are not consistent with what our body is saying. There is a perceived lack of integrity in our communications. When confronted with a difference between the verbal and non-verbal, people will tend to believe the non-verbal.

How to Address This Challenge

The “deer in the headlights” expression results from us being asked a question that is a surprise or a question we had hoped no one would ask.  You avoid the “deer in the headlights” phenomenon through preparation. First develop a question document. In private, list all of the questions you could get about your business, some examples include:

  • The effectiveness of your programs or products
  • The experience of others with your product or service especially something negative
  • Your pricing structure and how it was set
  • List the questions others have asked you especially those you found difficult to answer
  • Any question that you never want to be asked.

Now develop a point form answer for each question (no more than three points). Next, practice the answers. Finally, learn how to lead the conversation to something about which you want to talk, a.k.a, your agenda.

In summary, non-conscious body language is a reflection of one’s inner feelings and attitudes. If you ask yourself all the questions that may cause you anxiety and then develop answers that you are comfortable delivering no one can surprise you. And you will never be a “deer in the headlights”.

About Andrew Mackey

With 34 years experience as a communications consultant, Andrew is one of the most experienced and qualified resources you can access to enhance the quality and effectiveness of your business communications. Our goal is to ensure you have the greatest opportunity to communicate effectively about your business. For small to medium businesses, Andrew is the answer to challenges in keeping themselves or their staff up-to-date on the most current and effective communications techniques. At a more strategic level, Andrew can help you develop a strategic communication plan that identifies: the WHY of your business, how your communications will support your business goals, who your strategic audiences may be, the most effective messages to communicate your corporate vision, and how to select the most cost effective tools and communications materials for communicating about your business.

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