12/30/09

Personal Space: How close is too close?

The simplest way to make a person uncomfortable is to invade his personal space. The simple acts of getting too close either face-to-face or even when standing side by side will make a person retreat either physically or mentally.

Therefore, it behooves on us to understand what personal space is and how to respect it. For if you are too close or too far away during a conversation with your client or customer you will lose their attention quickly and you will fail to achieve your objectives.

According to Rinda West, "We garden in fairly small plots where we seek to create sanctuaries that will shelter us from the pressures of our crazy lives. If the lake and the parks give us our big expanses, our personal gardens offer us enclosed spaces, retreats, where we can relax, meditate and feel safe."

Therefore, when someone stands too close it makes one uncomfortable. This may be because one becomes self-conscious or feels threatened by the other person taking (invading) your personal space.

This invasion of personal space elicits either fight or flight response. The person might get irritated and become aggressive or he may move away either physically or tune out mentally.

This is not the ideal response when we are trying to persuade a person. When we are convincing others, we need them to be receptive and responsive and hence learning to respect personal space is important for personal success.

So here is a video that illustrates how close is too close when it comes to personal space.


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