Saturday, October 01, 2011

How to decode body language.

by contributor Megan Podeszwa

"I studied Tot Mom, Casey Anthony's body language during her recent court appearance for the Nancy Grace show. She demonstrated several comfort cues such as holding her own hand and bringing her hand up to her mouth which showed her high level of anxiety. She is also seen obsessively adjusting her drink on a napkin, adjusting the band on her ponytail and other behavior that reveals her desire to control what she can control." body language and communication expert, Patti Wood

So what was Patti Wood doing at Affinia’s The Liason Capitol Hill adjacent to Art and Soul? 

Wood was teaching staff members how to decode body language in guests to make them feel more comfortable in their hotel environment. - it's called  “Comfort By Design.” 

Through various activities and stories, Ms. Wood engaged the staff in what people are really thinking based on how they position their body. She talked about how feet were the most honest point of the body because they need to be alerted in order for other responses to take place.   She also stressed the importance of a first impression.   "Without a physical attraction, a person is able to form an accurate first impression of another in 1/300th of a second and that first impression takes up to six months to change with everyday face to face interaction." 

She pointed out the differences when communicating with men and women:  "Men communicate better side by side, while woman communicate better face to face.  By changing the direction in which they are speaking to a guest it will make the guest feel more comfortable." 

So, what to do if a guest looks uncomfortable?   Generally, their “body windows,” as she put it, would be closed, meaning there arms and legs would be crossed and their body would be very tight together.  She went on to explain ways to make them feel more comfortable such as matching their body language or tone of voice to put them at ease and make them feel safe in this situation. 

The hotel staff was highly intrigued by this information and as they left they were already reading the body language of those they had been in the room with. 

Wood talked about how she really wasn’t giving them tips or rules on how to handle hotel guests, but letting them figure out what they should do on their own.  “You’re laying down the foundation for ‘what can I do if they’re uncomfortable,” they have all of these choices to do.”

Christina Denihan, brand integration manager of the Denihan Hospitality Group which runs Affinia Hotels had this to say about the importance of this training.  “It’s not just about interaction with the guests but it’s about interaction with each other.  Ms. Woods’ expertise is giving a new approach to providing a comfortable environment for both the guests and employees of Affinia Hotels and helping them to better give their guests “Comfort by Design.”

Have a nice stay!