Just wanted to share some resources I've been really impressed with.
For a few months now, I've been an avid student of nonverbal clues -- interpreting others' and managing my own. Doing so has made tremendous impact in my business and personal life.
Here are a couple of examples of how I've applied this information:
Earlier this year I accepted a new job and, on my first day, the new boss took me around the office to meet each of my new teammates. I then sat on my desk for 1-2 hours setting up voice mail, filling out HR forms -- the usual 1st-day administrative stuff -- before heading off to a 1:1 meeting with the boss.
In that time frame (2-3 hours), I sensed some troubling dynamics within my department, how they were perceived by the rest of the company, how they felt about me coming on board, and the company culture in general. I questioned my boss (tactfully) about those perceptions and she answered, "Actually, the issues you've identified are the exact reasons why the last person left." It was clear to me the job was not as advertised and I started looking for a new one immediately.
Two months later, I was one of two candidates left for my current job. Again, I applied nonverbal skills to adapt my approach to the clues I picked up from interviewers, and influence how they perceived me. After the final panel interview, the HR person told me it had been a tie between the other candidate and me in terms of qualifications, but the way I presented myself won over the panel -- it was a unanimous decision.
If that's a topic you'd like to explore, here's what I've been reading:
- "What Every Body Is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People" by Joe Navarro
- "Louder Than Words," also by Joe Navarro.
- Paul Ekman's work on microexpressions is also helpful, but I feel it is insufficient since it ignores the rest of the body. (The TV show "Lie to Me" is based on his research.)
- Psychology Today also has some helpful articles on the subject. Just search for "body language" or "nonverbal" -- something along those lines.
Anyway - I'm a big fan of this stuff and just thought I'd share with you.