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.
It’s the start of a new week, and while the weather is finally on the upswing again, that doesn’t stop us from thinking that once again the weekend is a long way away. That said, how do you stay motivated when all seems lost? There are only so many quotes you can read, only so many cheerful little desk ornaments you can buy, only so many cheerful co-workers with the pasted-on smiles you can take.
The answer, young paduan, lies within you.
With your mind in the right place, you can motivate yourself easily and carry those tools for success and positivity every day. The best part is, because these tools are all metaphorical, they don’t clutter your desk!
First, make a personal commitment to yourself. Relax: we’re not asking you to put a ring on it. Just make a promise to yourself that you’ll do the absolute best you can and stick to it! By promising yourself to follow through, you’re promising not to disappoint yourself. We are our biggest critics, and we all know how it feels to fall short. Commit yourself to never feeling that way again and day by day, it’ll get easier to follow through. People will look to you as someone who is determined and focused and that, in turn, will get you the respect and recognition you deserve. Instead of working with gaining respect in mind, work with the purpose of being motivated.
As cheesy as it sounds, remind yourself of your strong points. Remember way back when you applied for the job and you were asked in the interview “What do you feel are your strengths?” Hopefully, you didn’t just blurt out the first cliche that came to mind. Instead, focus on something that actually makes you stand out from the rest of the workplace. Every day when you look at yourself in the mirror or the reflective edge of your desktop computer, remind yourself of why you’re so awesome. The validation will come after you tell yourself the same thing over and over. It’s like brainwashing, but the socially acceptable kind: the kind that will result in confidence.
Think of yourself as unstoppable. Use it as your code word,…heck, use it as a password! Reminding yourself that you can overcome challenges will make you believe that you can do anything you want and that no matter how unmotivated you may feel, you have it within yourself to see things through.
Finally, reward yourself! Give yourself the praise and reward you deserve. Your efforts should go rewarded, even if you just take yourself out for a treat or buy a little gift for yourself. People who work themselves to the bone but forget to reward their efforts often burn out and lose motivation. Like a mouse receiving a piece of cheese for pushing a button, motivation is a learned behavior. You have to subconsciously learn that you’ll get something out of following through with your plans and working harder than before.
Keep upping your game this week and see how you feel. We bet you’ll feel pretty good and even more motivated to come back to work the next week!
Wires: they are the price we pay for living in the connected age. Your laptop is connected to the wall. Your mouse is connected to your computer. The keyboard is connected to monitor. The phone is connected to the charger is connected to the wall and the green grass grows all around, all around; the green grass grows all around!
It can be depressing sitting at your desk and seeing all these wires, tangled and dangling. Sometimes, you might feel like you’re surrounded by these little rubber-insulated cords and they are dragging you down. With so many wires draped over your desk and hanging from the walls, it’s easy to identify with Jacob Marley’s ghost from “A Christmas Carol.”
But there are little tricks you can use to keep your desk not only de-cluttered but a little nicer and more motivating.
Definitely step into the 21st century with a wireless phone! It’s even better if you can invest in a hands-free device, leaving you free to work on other things while you phone into that conference call. Plus, nothing will make you feel more like an awesome super spy like a fancy headset!
A wireless mouse also gets one more little thing off your desk. Just plug in the little USB and you’re off to the races! Cordless mice come in all shapes, sizes, colors and themes. Some high-end versions even have keys on the side so you can do a few keyboard functions with your hand on the mouse!
A new innovation in the world of tech are charging pads. Charge it up overnight, then during the day if the batteries in your cell phone or your tablet drops, just place it on the charging pad and it will recharge your batteries…sans cords!
The Kikkerland Charging Station is another (cheaper) option for all your electronics. This one just disguises the cords, hiding them in the fake grass with the cords extending out an opening in the base so you can plug it into the wall or a surge protector under your desk.
And you can disguise that overworked outlet under your workspace by simply draping a dark swatch or material in front of the outlet. What a difference!
You know the saying, “Can’t see the forest for the trees?” By hiding and disguising all your wires and cords, you’ll see more than just the trees or the forest: you’ll see your own unbound potential!