In every conversation, there are two parts to it – the explicit which are the words spoken and implicit part of it which is not being said. The latter being the more essential one. It is important to know how to read in between the lines and picking up the subtle cues when you are at a workplace. You need to understand people – what motivates them, what they fear, what they dislike and what’s not being said in order to build trust. When you have trust from others, you will be able to get things done easier. You need to have self awareness of your effect on others, and how others are responding to you which psychologist Dr Tasha Eurich says is a powerful tool to be a better leader.
How does this translate for you? Some people are intuitive enough to be able to quickly pick up the subtle cues in any situation. For those who are not able to, fret not. Below are some pointers which you can easily apply to size up any situation in your surroundings.
Pay close attention to people. When in a room, do a quick scan of the individuals, noting who is next to whom, who is smiling, who is not, who is standing, sitting and how much space is between people. Pick up on how people are feeling by looking at their facial expressions, posture, and body language. Look out for quick micro expressions such as fleeting smiles, raised eyebrows, or even tiny frowns.
Observe who is the most socially adept at deciphering such situations in your office. Isolate the behaviour of your social aware role model exhibits and try to emulate them.
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2. Control How Much You Talk
Watchout for non- verbal cues that your partner whom you are having a conversation with is making. When the conversation is more intimate, you must strive to make the other person feel heard. Be present, be engaged. Make eye contact. Help the other person feel confident that you are all in the moment together.
3. Interpret Your Observations
Try to make sense of what is going on. Reflect on the possible reasons for their individual and the collective emotional states in a room. Think what is happening in their lives and subsequently see if your observations are accurate.
If things get tense, don’t allow yourself to be hijacked by a room’s negative energy. Keep your emotions in check. Many times, it has nothing to do with you.
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4. Check Your Hypothesis
Check your understanding by continuing to gather more information and continue to be open to what you are seeing so that you don’t fall prey to confirmation bias.
If in a meeting and you saw your colleague furrowed her brows when the discussion turned to a certain topic. Take note of it and ask her after the meeting, how do you feel about it? When you make note of people’s feelings and reactions, they feel attended to.
5. Put Your Perceptions into Practise
If in the midst of a meeting and you notice that things are getting tense, you can take the opportunity to shift the emotional reality of the room. Use humour or empathise with the group. Determine who in the group has the most social or hierarchical capital and focus on getting that person on your side. Continue to pay attention to what’s not being said.
Do you have any points which you think should be included in this article? Feel free to leave a comment below! If you like what you read, don’t forget to share!