Wed, 4 November 2015
Touch is another powerful part of body language—important enough to devote a whole section to it alone. Touch can be a very effective psychological technique. Subconsciously, most of us like to be touched; it makes us feel appreciated and builds rapport. It is true, though, that we do need to be aware and careful of a small percentage of the population who dislikes being touched in any way. In most instances, however, touch can help put people at ease and make them more receptive to you and your ideas. Touch increases influence. When you are able to touch your prospect they usually becomes more agreeable, enhances mood and increases the chances they will agree and do what you are asking.
Touch can create a positive perception. Touch carries with it favorable interpretations of immediacy, similarity, relaxation, and informality. In one research study, librarians did one of two things to university students: either they did not touch the person at all during the exchange or they made light, physical contact by placing a hand over the student's palm. Invariably, those students who were touched during the transaction rated the library service more favorably than those who were not touched at all. Waiters/waitresses who touched customers on the arm when asking if everything was okay received larger tips and were evaluated more favorably than those waiters who didn't touch their customers. Touch also induces customers to spend more time shopping in stores. In one study, physical contact on the part of salespeople induced customers to buy more and to evaluate the store more favorably.
We know that certain areas of the body can be freely touched while other areas are off limits. Safe areas of contact include the shoulders, forearms and hands, and sometimes the upper back. This all depends on the situation, the culture and relationship between the two parties prior to the touch.