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Skills that win deals.

BAHRAINI companies could be losing business because they are shunning the importance of body language, it has been claimed.

Many senior officials have no knowledge of the concept and their bad habits may cost them lucrative deals, says author Allan Pease, who has been rated among the world's top management and communication gurus.

"In Bahrain the awareness of body language and the impact of face to face encounters is almost unknown to the extent that I have met guys in really senior positions and they don't even have the concept of what it really is and how it works," said the Australian-based expert, who has been educating people about the topic for 30 years.

"Whereas in the Western world it has been part of standard training in sales, management and marketing for around 20 years now.

"First I would like to leave Bahrain with a very clear awareness of the power body language is in terms of making a good first impression and that you can influence an environment in which a person feels positive to make a decision. If people like you then they are likely to buy whatever goes with you."

Mr Pease, is the author of 17 body language books, 10 of which have been bestsellers and has appeared on radio and television around the world.

He said people's skills were fundamental as logic and mutual benefit were not enough to succeed in business.

"If for some reason during a deal you don't hit it off, whatever that reason is, you will struggle all the way through and you will come away thinking I didn't leave with what I wanted and the chances are you are right," he said. "It is the same with everything you have got to sell yourself first before they buy what you are selling.

"So depending on how well you sell yourself the client buys something just because he liked you and he might not for the same reason."

Mr Pease was speaking to 500 participants, including 370 Bahraini students and job seekers whose BD300 per person tickets were sponsored by Tamkeen, during a seminar entitled The Art of Communication and Body Language held at the Crowne Plaza hotel.

It was organised by the Bahrain Institute of Hospitality and Retail.

Mr Pease told participants it was also important to know how men and women perceive the same proposition differently.

"This is the first generation of people in the region that have to deal with opposite sex in businesses, which never happened before, like your father and grandfather can't tell you what to do because they never had to do business with a woman," he said.

He said body language was also important in the context of cultural peculiarities.

"All cultures have several peculiarities usually specific to a region, Arab body language has a few but Bahrain doesn't have many because Bahrain is probably more westernised than the rest of the Middle East," said Mr Pease.

"This is something I tell Westerners. You should never openly admire an Arab's possession because the chances are he might give it to you and if you don't take it, is a serious insult.

"If an Arab guy is really interested in you he will hold attention, not look away and blink little to a Westerner that can seem as aggressive or that you are in love with them. The reverse is true if an Arab doesn't fully look at you then he probably doesn't trust you or is disinterested.

"It is different as most Westerners only maintain eye contact for only two thirds of the time because they perceive staring as rude.

"One thing that really separates different culture is space and that Arab will tend to stay closer than most Westerners are comfortable with."

Mr Pease, who visited Bahrain 10 years ago, said the role of women had changed dramatically in that time. "Even 92 per cent of public relations staff are women because they are better at dealing with people than men," he said.

"You need women more than you need men because most great men have a woman gate keeper and if you can't deal with their woman you will never be able to see the man."

ahmed@gdn.com.bh

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Geographic Code:7BAHR
Date:Jun 23, 2012
Words:723
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