Body Language and Focus on Perception Highlight the 2014 South Shore CVA Tourism Luncheon

The South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority’s annual tourism luncheon brought hundreds to the Indiana Welcome Center to connect with our region’s tourism initiatives during National Travel and Tourism Week, and also to learn a thing or two about how body language affects perception in sales and persuasion.

South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority President and CEO Speros A. Batistatos kicked off the luncheon by thanking the attendees, including Mayors David Uran of Crown Point, Brian Snedecor of Hobart and Joseph Stahura of Whiting for their continued support in bringing tourism to Northwest Indiana’s South Shore. Many other supporters were recognized for their contributions in the South Shore CVA staff's success and their plans for the future.

“We asked Chris Ulrich to join us today because I thought body language would be important in what we do for a living,” Batistatos explained in introducing the day’s keynote speaker. “The guests see our body language and in the hospitality industry we really don’t do enough with body language and we really aren’t cognizant of.”

Ulrich gave an engaging and informative presentation on various aspects of body language.  Ulrich is a body language expert, political consultant, improvisational actor and personal coach who has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Headline News, Dr. Drew and Nancy Grace, among other programs.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are all in the business of sales,” he explained. “We are all selling something - a philosophy, a political agenda, a region of the country - we are all involved in sales.”

Ulrich touched on his five years working on Al Gore’s staff, and in particular, learning how to use body language to determine the message someone may or may not be trying to communicate.

Ulrich also shared his expertise from his time with the Body Language Institute with the audience, explain how visual cues like eye contact, handshakes, and what the Body Institute calls “Naval Intelligence” (the belly button) can play roles in how one is received in a presentation or sales environment.

“It’s part of your brand, it’s how you are coming across,” he explained. “That’s very important to us.”

Attendees were also brought on stage to demonstrate that seemingly inconsequential elements in presenting oneself, such as where a subject stands in a photo, or “framing”, matters to perception to power.

“Standing in the middle will help you be perceived as a winner,” he continued.

Ulrich explained that research has even been done that shows by Tilting your head one way versus another, could make you look smarter (left) or more attractive (right). “When you tilt, you allow that person to stay engaged through a difficult conversation,” he explained.

He also focused on micro-expressions - an emotion seen in 1/15th of a second - that play a factor in how we are perceived, using an example of an infamous Alex Rodriguez - Katie Couric interview that was received poorly in the public.

Batistatos closed out the event by sharing short videos produced about the South Shore CVA’s 2014 campaign, “How Tourism Benefits the Community”, which you can see on the South Shore CVA YouTube page. In the video series, you can see how the community benefits from tourism by ways of hotels, conventions, gaming, restaurants, jobs, sporting events and more.

The South Shore CVA recently released their 2013-14 Travel Guide, so stop by the Indiana Welcome Center and pick up a copy. Click here to visit the South Shore CVA’s website, “Like” their Facebook Page and follow them on Twitter for updates on fun throughout the region.

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