You’ve been training your whole life for being around people. And you’ve probably accumulated quite a list of body language tips along the way—many, no doubt, from your parents, teachers, and former bosses, along with a few outspoken friends: 

  • “Don’t slouch.”
  • “Look at me when I’m talking to you.”
  • “Whatever you do, don’t do that thing with your hands.” 
  • “Are you late for something? Why do you keep glancing at the clock?”
  • “I’m not sure you’re aware, but your face looks really annoyed right now.” 

I’ll wait while you whisper a quiet “Thank you” to all the people in your life who, tactfully or otherwise, made you aware of body language habits that were sabotaging your best efforts at being sociable. 

Their timing and delivery may have left plenty to be desired, but they meant well—probably. 

When it comes to listing and buyer appointments—and especially when handling objections—the importance of body language should be pretty obvious. You don’t want your face or your body sending the wrong message, especially when the stakes are high. 

And not to give you a complex about it, but there are seven different body language cues to be aware of when you’re having conversations that can make or break your business:

  1. Eye contact
  2. Facial expressions
  3. Head nods
  4. Arms
  5. Hands
  6. Posture
  7. Legs

Mastering all seven body language cues will help you communicate confidence and professionalism—along with genuine interest, authenticity, and warmth. 

Let’s start at the top. 

1. Eye contact

You could be a sparkling conversationalist with next-level listening skills. But if you can’t look someone in the eye, you’re working against your best efforts at connecting with someone.

Avoiding eye contact tells the other person you’re nervous, bored, or insecure. None of those are impressions you want to make during an important conversation. 

Just think how annoyed you would be if you were trying to engage someone in conversation but they could not—or would not—look away from their phone screen. Or imagine how you’d feel if you were sharing a meaningful story with someone and they kept looking at their watch. 

Eye contact tells the other person you are fully engaged. They have your full attention. 

Going light on eye contact means you’ll most likely miss something—including nonverbal signals that the other person is interested in what you’re telling them, that they understand (or don’t), and that something you said resonated with them (or didn’t). 

Eye contact also communicates confidence and a secure knowledge of your value as a sales professional—and this holds true whether you are showing a property or handling objections. 

That said, if the word “objections” provokes a fight or flight response (or mostly “flight”), we’ve got a free online course that will change your life. 

Tom Toole, the master objection handler, shows you exactly how to build the mindset you need to handle any objection and leave your buyers and sellers convinced that you—and only you—are the agent for them. 

Objection Handling with Tom Toole

2. Facial Expressions

Be aware of your facial expressions and what they’re communicating to the other person. 

Even if RBF is your default setting, you do have control over your facial expressions (at least to a point). Use a mirror if it helps to practice a new default facial expression, and try to convey a mix of the following: 

  • Calm 
  • Patience
  • Empathy
  • Professional interest
  • Warmth
  • Positive attitude

Pretend you’re listening to one of your favorite people—not someone who just dropped the worst pick-up line ever (and I’m not counting the funny ones). 

What your facial expressions convey is not limited to what your eyes are doing. People pick up hints about your mental and emotional state from the way—

  • Your mouth curves at the edges (one or both)
  • Your mouth moves when you talk
  • Your nose crinkles
  • Your brow furrows or relaxes
  • The veins in your neck tense up
  • Your eyes crinkle (or don’t) when you smile
  • You raise your eyebrows (one or both)

Try to keep a slight smile on your lips to show the other person you’re interested in what they’re saying and you’re happy to share your knowledge and experience with them. 

3. Head Nods

Appropriately timed head nods convey interest in and agreement with—or openness to—what the other person is saying. You’re signaling your engagement. 

Head nods are even more powerful when paired with occasional verbal affirmations. Just make sure when you sprinkle those in that they’re based on the truth. 

That said, it’s important not to overdo it. And be mindful of the speed and frequency of your nodding. Nodding too quickly and too often communicates impatience and the desire to either jump in with your two cents or to wrap up the conversation. 

Slow, brief nods let the other person know you’re following what they’re saying. They also indicate you’re able to distinguish between moments when they may be looking for a nod of confirmation (that you “get it”) and moments when a nod is unnecessary at best. 

4. Arms

Some people use their arms more expressively than others. Dramatic arm movements can be overdone, but holding your arms in one position the whole time looks unnatural and conveys tension or lack of interest. 

 The way you hold your arms can say plenty about what you’re thinking and feeling. 

Ever tried having a conversation with someone who kept their arms folded the entire time? Or maybe you’ve had someone else call you out for it: “Why are your arms folded? Have I said something to offend you?

If you’re tempted to fold your arms, try consciously choosing a more receptive pose like resting your hands on your knees with your fingers loosely interlaced. 

And don’t be afraid to use your arms expressively to punctuate some of the points you’re making. Expressive arms convey passion and energy, both of which are contagious. 

5. Hands

Whenever possible, avoid fidgeting with your hands. That includes— 

  • Twisting your hair
  • Cracking your knuckles
  • Twiddling your thumbs 
  • Tapping your fingers
  • Playing with rings
  • Checking your phone—or moving it from hand to hand
  • Messing with your shirt sleeves
  • Clicking your pen

All of the above create distractions and can communicate nervousness, restlessness, or boredom—none of which have any part in a conversation with a buyer or seller. 

This is another area where it pays to be mindful of what you’re doing with your body parts and what those actions are telling other people. You might actually be nervous or restless or bored, but fidgeting only confirms that—as much for yourself as for the one witnessing your behavior. 

Also, try to keep your hands away from your face. Touching your mouth can indicate you don’t believe something you just said. Resting your chin in your hand or rubbing the back of your neck communicates boredom or a lack of seriousness in your attitude toward the other person. 

Always be aware of what your hands are doing. And if you’re tempted to fidget with them, practice the same pose suggested as an alternative to folded arms. 

6. Posture

One of the first things people will notice about you when you meet is your posture. So, it’s worth your time and effort to make a strong, confident posture as automatic as breathing. 

Slouching communicates insecurity, which will undermine even the most carefully constructed and brilliantly executed listing presentation. 

That said, when we say “posture,” we don’t mean standing or sitting up straight as a flagpole 100% of the time. 

Leaning forward slightly conveys interest and openness, both of which are essential to active listening. As long as you’re mindful of the consumer’s personal space, this helps communicate your engagement without sacrificing professionalism. 

7. Legs

Your legs are not part of the conversation. That said, if you’re not mindful of what you’re doing with them, they can easily create unwelcome distractions. 

We’re not talking about fishnet stockings or graphic tattoos. But as a real estate agent, there’s no reason your audience should even notice your legs. So, keep them off the radar. 

That means: 

  • No tapping your toes
  • No mid-presentation yoga poses
  • No constantly crossing and uncrossing your legs while you’re talking

Always keep in mind that your nonverbal expressions must convey both professionalism and a positive attitude toward the buyer or seller. 

Mirror the attitude you want to see. 

If you want more tips on how to nail your next listing presentation, we’ve got a free online course for you. Tom Toole, the objection handling G.O.A.T. breaks down 12 rules you need to follow to build the essential mindset for handling any objection. 

So, if you’re one of many agents who avoid objections as much as possible, it’s time to break out of that shell and become the confident, quick-thinking agent you know you can be. 

Top agents learn from the best. Get started on your free course today