You’re talking to a co-worker about your last successful campaign and you notice the corners of their mouth tighten and shift downward. They tilt their head and their eyebrows come together just a little. Suddenly, you realize that maybe they haven’t been doing so well. You ask if they are doing well or if they need anything and suddenly, their face relaxes and their eyes widen with interest. They tell you they’ve actually been struggling and could use some advice from someone like you.
Congratulations, you’re a face-reader.
No, not a mind-reader; a face-reader. Reading faces is a valuable skill not only in the working world but in every day life. Being able to guess what a person is thinking simply be reading the small gestures (often called micro-expressions) on a person’s face helps you navigate your way to the top of the dog pile by being more empathetic. You’re not a mind-reader, but you’re the next best thing.
There are four parts of the face to pay attention to when you are trying to read a person.
1. The eyes. Pupils dilate and become large when a person is legitimately interested in what you have to say. However, if they are angry or they think they’ve perceived something offensive, the pupils become very small and focus intently on the subject of their anger: you. If the other person’s eyes narrow or squint, they think you’re being dishonest, so it’s best to clarify what you’ve just said. And finally, eyes that can’t focus, that dart here and there signify discomfort and distraction. Get them to focus on you again and sell your point!
2. The lips. A person will purse or tighten their lips into a hard, straight line when they are on the defensive. They are frustrated or they disagree with something that’s been said. In the opposite direction, a person who puckers their lips, or bites them, in any way drawing attention to their mouth is feeling unsure or vulnerable. In this case, it’s best to be comforting and reassuring but establishing your dominance. Be the leader and do it now! A person whose lips twitch is hiding something. They might be lying and trying to hide their pleasure with themselves by suppressing a smile. Call them out.
3. The nose. The nose doesn’t move as much as the lips or eyes, but it still has a lot to say. A reddened nose indicates increased blood-flow and simply means the person is lying and unsure of what they are saying. When a person’s nose is flared, meaning the nostrils are wide, they are clearly angry or annoyed. Generally, when the nose is crinkled as if the person smells something bad, it’s because they are contemptuous and have disdain for you or what you’ve said. Time to put on the charm!
4. The eyebrows. If you’ve ever seen a silent movie, you know how much emotion we can convey just by raising or pulling together your eyebrows. High brows show fear, surprise, or interest. Eyebrows that are lowered and form several wrinkles on the forehead can either mean anger or intense concentration. And last, if you notice the eyebrows are lop-sided with one raised and one lowered, it usually indicates the person is confused or uncertain. It’s best then to assuage their fears and sound more confident.
While gestures can change with a person’s upbringing or their cultural background, facial expressions linked to emotions are universal. Disgust, surprise, fear, and love look the same in one part of the world as another. Mastering the ability to read subtle and overt facial expressions will make you a master at communication and negotiation and a valuable company asset.
If you’re not familiar with the Myers-Briggs test, it’s a multiple choice questionnaire that determines the key points of your personality. Most companies when they hire new employees offer the test as a means of targeting ideal candidates to make sure they are picking someone who is not only qualified in education or experience but would be a good fit depending on their working style.
Knowing your Myers-Briggs personality benefits you by helping you narrow down the choices you have to make when it comes to applying for a new position. It saves you time by helping you weed out the careers you would be ill-suited for and letting you put your best foot forward by showcasing your natural talents in a new job.
So here’s the breakdown. Myers-Briggs targets four different categories and separates each into two personality times. You choose which of each pair applies to you the best. The end result are four letters that classify you and your individual personality type.
Energy Style: Where do you draw your energy from? If you like working in large groups, leading the charge and staying busy and constantly active, you’re an extrovert (E). If you like working independently and knuckling down on a project in a quiet and calm space, you’re introverted (I).
Thinking Style: No two people process information in the same way. If you prefer to work with concrete ideas, facts, spreadsheets, people, data, and machines, you’re a sensor (S). But if you are more abstract in your thought process, if you can take ideas, theories and possibilities and turn them into a plan, you’re intuitive (N).
Values Style: Next, what do you value in your work? What is your end game? If you want work that lets you use your intelligence and lets you truly shine, you’re a thinker (T). If you’re motivated by work that lets you help others and use your emotions, you’re a feeler (F).
Life Style: Are you the kind of person who likes organization and structure and keeps everything tucked away in its proper place? You’re a judger (J). But if you are flexible and can operate in an environment others would find “chaotic,” you’re more of a perceiver (P).
So put it all together. The resulting four letters reflect your work personality. The best way to succeed in this life is to take that cumulative assessment and pursue a career geared more towards your specific strengths.
Ideal jobs for people who are ESTJ, ISTJ, ESTP, ISTP are pragmatic. You love your work when you can be logical and produce hard evidence of results. You’re basically Spok. Ideal jobs for ESTJ and ESTP people are supervisors, managers, financial advisors or contractors. ISTJ and ISTP people are better suited for roles where they can produce results like being accountants, mechanics, police officers or systems administrators.
People who are ESFJ, ISFJ, ESFP or ISFP are caretakers. They love to do practical things to help others. ESFJ and ESFP personalities are good providers or entertainers who make good teachers, receptionists, nutritionists or registered nurses. ISFJ and ISFP personalities are sensible and analytical artisans like jewelers, bookkeepers, social workers or anything that lets them pay specific attention to details.
Empaths are those who identify as ENFJ, INFJ, ENFP or INFP, and no, they are not psychic. They love to improve people’s lives and work for the greater good. In the case of ENFJ and ENFP people, they are charismatic teachers, writers, nonprofit directors or PR specialists. A person with INFJ or INFP tendencies and well-suited for careers as psychologists, authors, veterinarians, or school counselors where they can be compassionate caregivers.
A person who loves coming up with innovative ideas or inventions is a theorist. They typically fall under ENTJ, INTJ, ENTP or INTP classification. ENTJ and ENTP people are directors and inventors, executives, attorneys and entrepreneurs. INTJs and INTPs are strong-minded strategists and judges. They are natural scientists, mathematicians, technical writers or engineers.
It is this last field, the theorists, who always seem to find their way to the top in the marketing world. They are naturally ambitious and strive to be front and center in the entrepreneurial world. For an idea, Bill Gates and Adele are ENTJs. Martin Scorsese the filmmaker and Henry Kissinger the US Secretary of State are a couple of famous ENTPs. Mark Zuckerberg is an INTJ as was Ayn Rand. Famous INTPs include Marie Curie, Larry Page, Tiny Fey and Paul Allen.
The moral of the story here is get to know yourself and apply what you learn to your career. Your best tools are the ones you are born with and the best way to succeed is to hone those skills until they are razor sharp!
When you think of improv, you probably picture a group of people in khaki pants on an empty stage pantomiming a wild west stick-up while one person shouts at the others do perform acrobatic tricks. It seems like nonsense, but the rules of improvisation are keystones in the world of business.
The business of marketing is about collaboration and communication. You must be able to work efficiently with others to seamlessly communicate your ideas in a compelling way that will get your audience on its feet ready to follow you wherever you take them! The Second City, one of the world’s leading authorities on comedic theatre and improv has been a powerhouse for decades churning out headliners like Tina Fey, Steve Carrell, John Candy and Amy Poehler. What makes them exceptional is they have taken the principles of improv and focused those skills on entrepreneurial enterprises like directing, writing, and producing.
The Second City now has a new division called Second City Communications which hosts seminars for businesses that want to expand their reach and be more influential to their target audience. The seminars focus on everything from sales effectiveness to talent development to marketing and content!
Tom Yorton, CEO of Second City Communications says, “Working without a script, creating something out of nothing, working in teams, co-creating solutions with input from the marketplace – all that’s improvising.”
So where does business come in? The number one rule of improv is “Always say yes,” closely followed by “Always say yes…and!…”
“Yes…and!…” Whether you are in a meeting with co-workers or giving a presentation in tandem with a partner, use what the other person is saying and keep moving forward. If someone asks you if you can change something and you say, “No,” the whole thing comes to a screeching halt. You sound argumentative and the audience has nothing to go off of. Negotiations halt, money is lost and time is wasted. But if you say, “Yes, and…” you’re progressing. Contribute ideas, use what the other person is saying and you will appear confident and the collective world you have created becomes real to your audience.
The world is full of obstacles. In business, you’re challenged with connecting with your customers, engaging and motivating your employees, coping with change be it big or small, innovating new campaigns, moving into new markets and on and on! There’s no script, there’s no plan, there’s just a goal: get our message across! You have to be willing to improvise a little to work your way around, over, under and through these obstacles.
Embrace the “Yes…and!” rule and lean to listen intently so you don’t miss a single idea. When you yourself are actively engaged in what is happening, people can’t help but meet your enthusiasm. “Yes…and!” is even effective in workplace conflict resolution. By saying “Yes…and” and following where the conversation goes, you destroy barriers and create open and honest communication.
So the next time you give a presentation or hold a meeting, use “Yes…and” and see what it can do for you. Before long, your audience will be on its feet and you’ll be taking a bow!*credit: “How to Succeed in Business Without Trying” musical cast
It’s a fierce world out there. Competition for choice careers is high and in order to stay on top of your game, you need to stand out as much as you can. There are several ways to make your mark in the office from the overt (like showing up early or closing the most deals) to the covert…which we’ll cover today. Some of the most successful people in your office you’ll notice are the ones who don’t work themselves into a sweaty pulp by 4pm. The most successful people are often the most persuasive!
Persuasive people are masters at casting their point of view in the most positive light. They can influence others into agreeing with them simply by employing a few verbal and physical techniques that will inevitably play persuasive mind games with the other person. Master these techniques, and you’ll stand out from your competition as the valuable and persuasive asset that you are!
So buckle up, young Jedi: it’s time for class.
1. Mirror body language. A lot of people will talk about not crossing your arms or legs to appear more “open” to the other person. Do not. Subconsciously, the person you’re talking to will “see themselves” in you and will be more likely to believe that you two are of the same mind.
2. Speak with confidence. This one seems like a no-brainer, but think about it. When you watch a presidential debate, are you going to feel comfortable supporting the guy sheepishly staring at his shoes or mumbling “Well…So…Uh…” Probably not. Make definitive statements! Stand your ground! You’re a lion! Hear you roar!
3. But don’t yell. Or wave your arms. This is a complicated dance you’re doing, balancing gestures and vocal patterns to sound strong and assertive without seeming like a crazy person. Speak deliberately, politely, smile on occasion and actually…..
4. LISTEN. Pause and listen to what the other person is saying. Not only do you give your sparring partner a chance to voice their opinion, it shows respect, and they will see that and be more likely to reciprocate and listen to your point of view as a result. Plus, it gives you a chance to plan your next move.
5. Compliment sincerely. When you listen to what they are saying, take a step back and verbally acknowledge something that they said. “I see what you’re saying,” “That’s an excellent point,” and “I agree” are a few useful phrases that will open the other person up to your perspective and will actually get them to parrot you back!
6. Transfer your energy. Make eye contact, touch their shoulder, or laugh. These acts make you seem strong and confident and like someone they want to follow and listen to.
7. Have good posture. This goes along with transferring your energy. But if you stand tall, you’ll be more imposing and seem like an authority.
8. Create opportunities. Consistently referring to the person you are talking to and offering them a chance to participate in the conversation, the project, the campaign, etc. makes them feel like they are being brought into an exclusive club. And who doesn’t like that? You are bringing them under your wing and showing them a whole new world. Bring them on board that flying carpet and make them feel like they are getting the experience of a lifetime by going your way.
9. Create scarcity. Push them. Express the idea that you are only accepting ten more applicants, or that the sale is only going on for a few more days. That sort of timeline will more often than not assuage them of any notion that they have time to think about what you’re saying and thus deny you.
10. Review. Get your last words out and close hard. Review your key points whatever it is you are trying to accomplish, do it. “Great, so let’s get started.” “Sounds like we’re good to go.” “Let’s proceed.” You see? You’re ready to get going, aren’t you?