Rapport Building through the Eyes of others

Standing in the other person’s Flip Flops, is a technique that I use as an integrative approach to interpersonal communications. In our digital world, we have limited ability to develop relationships with our communication partners.

As our world becomes more narcissistic, it is imperative that you view the world from the other person’s perspective. What are you projecting via the first impression? How do you interpret their body language and more importantly, what are you conveying through your various channels of communications to include nonverbal communication. You must enhance your observational abilities to identify common points of interest that can help develop and deepen the relationship.

So often, conversational partners want you to focus on them. If you can stand in their flip-flops and view the world through their eyes and interests, you can make them more comfortable and want to spend time in your company. You can succeed with earning new friends and business associates. As time progresses, you can begin to share your story, but you want the focus of the conversation to remain on your conversational partner. Make them feel important. You might learn a few things but opening your ears and closing your mouth.

Family_in_Flip-FlopsI love hearing the insights of others. I was undergoing a routine MRI once. I asked four simple questions. Are you originally from here? How do enjoy living here compared to Buffalo? How long have you been in the MRI business? You must have seen quite a few changes with technology over the years, haven’t you? For twenty minutes, she talked. Not once did she ask me a question. My hair stylist was out of town. The substitute had a study guide for the teacher certification perched on the counter. I asked her about the study guide and followed with some additional questions. As I prodded with the additional questions,  I learned about the teacher certification process, her autistic son, her military service, a car accident and her college education. Again, she never asked a single question concerning me. My hair is not too long, so she was very talkative in the short time it took to trim my hair.  During my haircut, I learned a few tidbits about life that I did not know previously.

Flip-flops have become synonymous with our culture becoming more casual. So loosen up the tie, kick off the shoes and have some fun. We want those around us to relax and have a good time. Stand in the other persons flip-flops and view life from their point of view.

For more tips on first impressions and developing rapport, take a look at FACE 2 FACE : Observation, Interviewing and Rapport Building Skills: an Ex-Secret Service Agent’s Guide http://www.amazon.com/Face-2-ebook/dp/B009991BII/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354630000&sr=1-6

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10 Tips for Job Interview Success

Awesome! Your highly crafted resume has finally landed you a precious job interview. Now what? Preparation is essential to minimizing anxiety and maximizing your potential in a personal interview. Having sat on both side of the interview table, here are 10 tips that can be of value to to you in improving your job interviewing skills.

1. Check background of company and person you are meeting – It was a shocking to ask a basic question of the interviewee, “What is about our firm that interests you the most?”  The sound of crickets is not the answer nor is, “a…ahh…job?”  Conduct some Google searches on the business. If they have a Wikipedia page, read over the content, so you are familiar with the background of the company. Do a quick search on the person you are meeting. You might find a common point of interest. I am not suggesting that you go stalker. Some basic background that may help to establish rapport and ease your tension. Check their profile on LinkedIn. They may be an alumni of the same school or from the same hometown. The internet can provide insight into the most common human resource questions.

2. Dry run – Drive to the location of the interview. This will allow you the opportunity to gauge the drive time, where to park, and visualize the building. Google maps will not disclose current road construction or detours. Add thirty minutes to the commute to allow for traffic, road closures, sinkholes and other disasters. One applicant, called me to ask to reschedule his interview. He failed to realize that he would need to pay for parking. In his quest to find an ATM, he had become lost and then caught in a traffic jam. How can you not find an ATM in a downtown major city? Was it all fiction?

3. Sleep/Alarm/ Breakfast/ Arrival – Listen to your mother’s advice. Go to bed early, so you can get eight hours sleep. Set three alarms. At least one should be powered by a battery. I use a clock radio, a battery powered and my cell phone. Neurotic? Perhaps. Do not depend on the hotel wakeup call. For once, give yourself plenty of time to prepare in the morning and visualize success. Have a good breakfast and do not over caffeinate.

4. Attire – Pick out your wardrobe the night before. Remember, you are not going to a club. Dress conservatively and never under dress. When you conduct your reconnaissance, gauge what other employees are wearing. It is always better to dress to impress. I remember a fellow who was wearing a velvet sport coat and three-day growth of beard. Really? Can’t afford new clothes? Go to eBay or consignment shops.

5. Eyes – Make eye contact with the receptionist and your point of contact. Focus in the triangle of the face. This is the region from the eyes to the mouth. It demonstrates your interest in the person. Avoid the stalker stare. Maintain eye contact around seventy percent of the time.

6. Smile – a smile is usually reciprocated. It demonstrates that you are a nice person and you like the person you are facing. Smiles releases feel good endorphins in the body. The pleasure zones of the brain will fire when you smile. Smiles are good for you and the interviewer. Have fun!

7. Handshake – Practice your handshake with a friend. Match their pressure. Squeeze and release with a two second grip. If your hands are cold, stop in the restroom and run warm water over your hands. If your hands are clammy, have a dew rag in your purse or pocket. Mositurizers in moderation can be helpful.

8. Active listening – Most employment interviews are focused on the applicant. That does not mean that you cannot allow the interviewer to speak and listen attentively. Make eye contact, smile and nod. Focus your toes, and torso in the direction of the interviewer.

9. Body language – Avoid intrusive pacifying gestures and closed body language. I had one person who was picking his fingernails during an interview. I watched one girl play with her hair. These are distracting and diminish your standing. There are many books on positive body language. Some are good. Yes, I have written a book that you might find helpful. Anything written by Joe Navarro is well researched and well written.

10. Follow-up – after you leave, send an email to your interviewer. Short and sweet. Avoid being a suck-up. Thank them for their time, the opportunity, and have a nice day. If they disclosed an upcoming event or assignment, wish them enjoyment or good luck. This helps to separate you from the herd, demonstrates you were listening to them, and cements your job interview in their memory.  A genuine thank you is often an underused trait. This is a missed opportunity for many sales professionals as well.

Do not take rejection personally and become discouraged. You can only present the best face that you can. Often, there are other forces at work. View the interview as an opportunity to sharpen your skills and have belief in abilities.

For more tips on interviewing skills and developing rapport, take a look at FACE 2 FACE : Observation, Interviewing and Rapport Building Skills: an Ex-Secret Service Agent’s Guide http://www.amazon.com/Face-2-ebook/dp/B009991BII/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354630000&sr=1-6

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Handshake Cements the Realtionship.

hamdshakeIf you are appearing for a job interview, meeting that special someone on the first date or conducting a sales call, you must stand out. I am not talking about standing out like clown at the rodeo. You must be memorable. You must make that personal connection. Your appearance, your stride, your posture, the tone of your greeting, your smile and your handshake are essential elements. You can practice mock interviews and go through all kinds of tutoring and sales training. You might know your product inside and out and your knowledge may have a bearing as time goes on, but if you flop on the entrance, you may as well pick up your ball and go home.

There is nothing like a firm handshake web to web to establish that personal connection. Do not grip the fingers. Plant the web between the thumb and pointing finger with the target’s web. Practice with a friend and see how your grip is conveyed. I have felt all extremes. One person crushes the hand to the point I have to shake off the tingling loss of feeling, while others have felt like a wilting rose.

In a study at the University of Iowa, they found women with firmer handshakes, were gauged higher and surpassed men with similar shakes. This could be a result of the women separating themselves from the competition. They left a good first and lasting impression.

Adjust the grip as you grab the hand. Just do not engage in a battle of manliness to overcome the death grip shake. Another subtle technique used by those who want to convey domination is grabbing your hand and either pulling your body towards them or they attempt to give a slight roll of the hand to exert their self-perceived importance. Accept it for what it is and that is an over dominant gesture. Avoid the stabbing shake. This is where if they were carrying a knife, you would have to call a homicide detective. Hold your shake until your conversational partner begins to extend their hand.

Don’t be a lingerer. You know the one that won’t release the grip. Two seconds in and out. Squeeze and release. The lingerers are viewed again as being dominating and the extra long grip could be viewed as creepy.

If your hands are cold, warm them up in your pocket, rub them together, or head to the warm water tap in the restroom. A little hand lotion can dull the cracks in the pavement, but be cautious. Make sure there is plenty of time for the lotion to absorb, so you are not giving a slimy shake.

I encountered an individual who suffered from overly sweaty grip. My associate also noticed slippery shake. Mr. Sweaty Palms returned the next day and his overly moist hands were still perspiring. This response could be from nervousness or a medical condition. If you have this problem, you might consider a dew rag in your pocket or a sprinkle of powder. After shaking his hand, my only thought was to run to the rest room and wash the germs.

Practice makes perfect. Shake hands with a friend to determine the message you are delivering with your handshake. Remember to lead with a heartfelt smile and maintain eye contact. The handshake will cement the relationship and rapport.

For more tips on first impressions and developing rapport, take a look at FACE 2 FACE : Observation, Interviewing and Rapport Building Skills: an Ex-Secret Service Agent’s Guide http://www.amazon.com/Face-2-ebook/dp/B009991BII/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354630000&sr=1-6

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The Myth of 93% of Communication is Nonverbal

Cell Phone Talking GirlWe have all heard of the study, “That we only use ten percent of our brains.” This myth has taken on the persona of the urban legend. It is inexplicably not true. If that were truly, our brain would atrophy to the size of an alligator’s brain. A person who is healthy without significant brain impairment is using the entire brain to process and move on.

Along the same avenue is the statistic often quoted, “Ninety-three percent of our communication is nonverbal.” This information is based on a study conducted at UCLA by Dr. Albert Mehrabian. His research was based on the utterance of a single word in which the human lab rats would deliver the word with different intents. Even Dr. Mehrabian has criticized the ninety-three percent model. He claims the intent of the study was to monitor feelings and attitudes, not channels of communication.

Despite the assertions of the professor who conducted the study, some body language experts and NLP practitioners have continued to hijacked the data to substantiate the importance of nonverbal behavior. I have heard presenters espouse this ratio, I have read the inaccuracy in books, blogs and news articles. As Francis Bacon said, “Truth is so hard to tell, it sometimes needs fiction to make it plausible.” I would like you to take a moment and really think of the veracity of this ninety three percent theory. Does it really make sense that your verbal language only accounts for seven percent of the message being delivered? How could you accurately assess the channels of communication which are constantly changing? Inside the sterile setting of the laboratory perhaps, but not in the constantly evolving world of real life communication.

Christopher Witt PhD., has written a great book on communications, Real Leaders Don’t Do PowerPoint. How to Sell Yourself and Your Ideas. Witt said about the 93% model, “Nonsense! That idiotic claim comes from a misreading of a small group of studies done by a psychology professor more than forty years ago…that had very limited scope.”

I would agree that our nonverbal behavior could make up a large proportion of the total communication pie, but it does not approach ninety-three percent. Have you watched television without the sound? Do you know what is the message being delivered? Absolutely not.

If you are one of the few people without an iPod and forced to listen to the radio, you are missing nonverbal behavior. The broadcaster is communicating though verbal delivery only. True, the tone, pitch and speed that the words flow through the microphone provide a tremendous amount to the base of communication, but the words and choice of words have a lot to do with the message. The same holds true during a telephone conversation. You are merely monitoring verabl communication.

Avoid not being deceived by urban myths. I encourage everyone to focus on a holistic approach to communications and developing rapport.

For more tips on first impressions and developing rapport, take a look at FACE 2 FACE : Observation, Interviewing and Rapport Building Skills: an Ex-Secret Service Agent’s Guide http://www.amazon.com/Face-2-ebook/dp/B009991BII/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354630000&sr=1-6

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The Illusion of the Facade Effect – Do you really know your neighbors?

How well do you know your co-workers or neighbors? During the course of investigations, I would commonly conduct behavioral assessments of suspects by interviewing those that could provide some insight into the suspects psyche. I was not too surprised to hear friends and associates of the Boston Bombers described in complimentary terms. I found these positive affirmations quite frequently. Many times this is because people are in denial that a lethal killer lived or worked among us. As a result, the “Façade Effect” conceals the fact that we often do not know much about those around us. We are only familiar with the projected image in the neighborhood, family gatherings, or at work.

We have all read stories of the great community leader or coach, who was arrested for child pornography. He was described in equally reverent terms as the Boston murderers. He was a great neighbor, always willing to help, quiet, friendly, and so on. I recall a serial bank robber who lived next door to two police officers. The officers socialized with the future jailbird. Oops. We all have a public persona that we project to others around us.

background-city-facadeOnce we chip through the façade and see what happens behind closed doors, we would often be shocked. Robert Putnam wrote an interesting expose on the changing socialization of America called Bowling Alone. The socialization dynamic has shifted from an abundance of club activities to a more private existence of engaging in activities requiring more seclusion. The solitude of television, video games, and the internet has replaced the bowling leagues, church attendance and civic club organizations. We often pass our neighbors on the street or the sidewalk and offer a wave or a smile to each other. That limited contact provides limited insight into what occurs behind the façade and leads to a superficial existence.

Professor Stephen Reiss of Ohio State University developed a theory of the 16 basic desires of human existence. We all possess some of these desires. I have always stressed the importance of exploring the more positive desires to assist in developing rapport and deepening our relationships with others. Acceptance is number one on the list. A life without acceptance can be a lonely one that promotes a myriad of negative desires.

In my research of lone shooters, I have often identified a common motivation behind these senseless attacks, as an attempt to attach some significance to their meaningless lives. Most people need and crave social interaction and desire to be recognized beyond the anonymity of the neighbor across the street or the former classmate. In time, more facts will be disclosed concerning the murderous brothers, but I am not surprised at the opinions offered by those that thought they knew them.

For more tips on first impressions and developing rapport, take a look at FACE 2 FACE : Observation, Interviewing and Rapport Building Skills: an Ex-Secret Service Agent’s Guide http://www.amazon.com/Face-2-ebook/dp/B009991BII/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354630000&sr=1-6

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The Eyes of Body Language

green-eyesIf you remove the “E” in eyes, you are left with yes. Sure, it may sound a bit hokie but the focus of your eyes will more likely lead to a yes. Combine the eYES with a smile and a good handshake, and you are well on the way to a obtaining a yes of approval from your conversational partner.

Blinking is a natural effort to keep our eyes lubricated. The blink rate will vary from a low of around four blinks per minute while you are focused on reading to high around forty blinks when engaged in other activities. This can vary widely because of physiological and environmental conditions. If a person has a sudden increase from their norm, this could be an indication of anxiety, or it could mean an eyelash fell into the eyeball. During allergy season, some people will blink more often to lubricate their irritated eyes. Keep the eye blink rate in context. Look for changes in the normal rate, up or down.

When President Clinton was asked about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, his blink rate jumped off the charts. I will not dispute this display of discomfort. People with faster blink rates are not viewed with as much trust. Professor Aldert Vrij of the University of Portsmouth, UK, who is one of the leading researchers in the field of deception, has found the blink rate is of limited association with those being deceptive. I have seen a number of folks whose blink rate increase dramatically when faced with a question that makes them uncomfortable. Are they being deceptive? Not necessarily.

The eyes are said to be the link to the soul. Perhaps. Certainly, dilation or constriction of the pupils will indicate a level of excitement. If a person’s eyes are the size of beach balls, it means they are either excited, on drugs, in a dark room, or dead. Constricted pupils of the person to whom you are talking with would indicate that they are being exposed to bright light or not excited in the conversation or the subject. I believe females are more apt to pick up on this trait then men, unless the eyes are a brilliant color out of the norm. Try identifying the eye color of your conversational partner. It will cause you to focus on their eyes.

Our eyes are always open to incoming stimuli. We can become easily distracted. Our gaze should be focused on our conversational partner around seventy percent of the time. Display an interest in the person to whom you are talking with and avoid the stalker stare. We become self-conscience when we receive a focused and unrelenting stare. You start to think that there is something stuck in your teeth or a pimple on your nose. In addition, avoid the uninterested gazing off into the background. Show deliberate and genuine interest in your conversational partner with your eyes and you are well on the way to deepening rapport.

For more tips on first impressions and developing rapport, take a look at FACE 2 FACE : Observation, Interviewing and Rapport Building Skills: an Ex-Secret Service Agent’s Guide http://www.amazon.com/Face-2-ebook/dp/B009991BII/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354630000&sr=1-6

 

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First Impressions in 2 Seconds

Try typing “First Impression” into Google and see how fast the response comes after hitting the enter key. I will save you the trouble. My search was received in .021 seconds. Just that quick.

Your mind works almost as fast as Google. The first image of your conversational partner will be cemented within two to three seconds. If you are the client, it is difficult but not impossible to overcome that first three seconds. As quick as you can clap your hands in front of your face, bang, the decision of likeability or distaste is cast like an etching in granite. You had better hope it is not a tombstone.

In first impressions, you get one. There are no second or third impressions. You may have an opportunity to counter a first bad impression, but it might be easier to climb the north face of Mt Kilimanjaro.

Nalini Ambady, professor of psychology at Tufts University, has conducted a great deal of research into first impressions. She is probably one of the foremost experts in the field. In a 1993 study with Robert Rosenthal, Professor Ambady determined how quickly we could assess someone on the first impression.
The researchers used video clips of thirteen teachers in ten second segments. The teachers were rated on different factors including empathy, likeable, dominant, confidence and others. At the end of the semester, the same teachers were rated by their students on the same criteria. There was a significant correlation between the semester long judgments versus those exposed to the ten second video clips. Then they shortened the clips to five seconds and finally to two seconds. Unbelievably, there was still a significant correlation with the end of the semester ratings. What this extraordinary study revealed was that people exposed to a person for a mere two seconds, did not differ significantly from those exposed to the person for an entire semester.

First Impression Factors:

Appearance – It does matter. Your grooming, hygiene, and what you are wearing all matters. Seek the input from a valued friend, which does not include your spouse.

Entry – Stride with confidence.  Act like you own the place. Jurors have found that those that project confidence are 70% more likely to be believed.

Smile – Avoid looking like the rodeo clown with a smile painted on your face. Flash the smile when you are introduced. The smile is the most easily recognized facial gesture and it is usually reciprocated. Brain scans show the happy places of the brain light up with a smile.

Eyes – Keep your attention on the focus of your conversation seventy percent of the time. The eyes should be trained on the facial region and you are displaying a genuine interest in your partner.

Handshake – Squeeze and release. The shake should be firm, but mirror the recipient. Avoid the crushing grip or the three-week-old wilting rose grip. None of this pulling or rolling the hand business either. Two pumps up and down.

Proxemics- Don’t crowd. After the shake, take a step back and allow the person to set his or her own personal bubble.

Body language and nonverbal behavior – too deep of a subject to adequately cover in this post. There are many good books on the subject. Keep your belly button and toes pointed towards the interest of your conversation.

You may not be accepting an Oscar at the Academy Awards, but first impressions are the entry into establishing rapport and deepening our relationships with others. Those first two seconds are crucial for the first impression.

For more tips on first impressions and developing rapport, take a look at FACE 2 FACE : Observation, Interviewing and Rapport Building Skills: an Ex-Secret Service Agent’s Guide http://www.amazon.com/Face-2-ebook/dp/B009991BII/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354630000&sr=1-6

 

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Female Cops are Tough and Dependable

police_carsI was indifferent to female cop partners. The same went for race. As far as I was concerned, we all wore “blue.” My memory of three decades in law enforcement, recalls more comfort working with females. As a caveat to this conversation, I never once dated a co-worker. I witnessed a great deal of “drama” when partners dated, and I wanted to avoid the conflict.

I recently spoke with a retired female detective supervisor. We had a discussion on the proficiency of female cops and my preference. As she said, despite the obvious positive attributes, she was of the opinion that many females felt they had to work harder for acceptance by their male counterparts. In a male dominated field, in which females comprise only 12% of the law enforcement community, I would not argue with that observation. They are in the minority and I could not begin to imagine the intimidation factor to “prove” your competency on a daily basis.

Along the lines of observational techniques, the females were the protector of the family. They had to rely upon their observation skills for survival. Men are physically stronger and were the hunters in the tribal days. Men relied upon endurance and strength for survival. Sometimes, testosterone has its limits and can add to a masculinity contest. My muscles are bigger and I can talk louder than you can.

According to Shelley Taylor, Ph.D., a psychology professor and her colleagues at UCLA, the introduction of stress stimuli to a female, can evoke a behavioral response called “tend and befriend.” After reviewing studies conducted over the past 30 years, the study concluded that females’ physical aggression and fear related behaviors are less intense and more “cerebral.” Despite males and females sharing the same limbic response for fight, freeze, or flight, females will rely less upon this response than their male counterparts.

Hang with me, as I will discuss some wonky science concepts going forward. Using FMRI scans of the brain, generalizations were concluded based upon these scans in response to stimuli. Each of these results can be argued with contradictory findings. As such, I would look at these as generalizations and not hard and fast rules.

Women have higher communication skills and as such, they were often able to diffuse volatile situations using empathy and communication. Due to their higher verbal skills and patience, I found females were more accomplished interviewers. Their softer approach was more appealing to obtain necessary information not just from suspects, but witnesses traumatized by crime. Due to higher empathy, they are more capable to read emotions and identify nonverbal behaviors leading to a physical confrontation. I was always a big believer in talking my way out of trouble as opposed to fighting. My face may not have been pretty, but it was all I had. Physical confrontations usually led to a trip to emergency room for the suspect or officer and a lot of paper work.

Studies have concluded that females have four times as many brain cells connecting the right and left side of their brain. Men on the other hand are left-brain dominant and as a result, solve one problem one-step at a time. Women are more efficient accessing both sides of their brain. Therefore, women tend to be more successful in approaching multiple problems, while also facing a multiple stimulated environment. This translates to managing chaos. Look at any multi-tasking working mother.

Dr. Peter McLeod, Oxford University professor, studied the boys and girls behavior of successfully completing a hedge maze. This was a small sample group. Boys were more likely to successfully complete the maze, due to their spatial competence and “big picture” recognition. This is due to a larger right brain cortex. Due to a higher degree of verbal reasoning in the left-brain and interconnectivity between the two sides of the brain, the girls relied more on individual details for charting their navigation. In this exercise, boys were able to complete the maze with more efficiency. Perhaps this is why men are more reluctant to stop for directions, but in police work, as independent determination can be useful, it is also vitally important to rely on teamwork.

In watching the Sherlock Holmes CBS show Elementary, Dr. Joan Watson is quite adept at the deductive powers obtained from observation. Despite her being the understudy of Sherlock, science backs up the observational abilities of the female gender. Women are more likely to spot which of a group of objects has been moved to a new position (the spot the difference task).

Women are said to be better at distinguishing between the fleeting expressions that cross our faces every day. According to Professor Simon Baron-Cohen at the Autism Research Centre, Cambridge University, this is because empathy comes naturally to women, while men are wired to understand how things work. On average, women are better empathizers. They possess a higher degree of accurately guessing other people’s emotions and responding appropriately. They would be more likely to comfort you in a time of crisis.

On the wall of the Law Enforcement Memorial, there are 257 female law enforcement officers, who have lost their lives protecting society. I once had a supervisor tell me when considering the proficiency of an officer – would you want them behind you going through a door, or if you were a victim of a homicide, would you want them leading the investigation to bring your killer to justice. I never questioned the female cop’s ability.

Therefore, I wanted to thank Patti, Lonetta, Mary (times 2), Christina, Erin and all the other female and male officers for watching my back and keeping me safe.

I modeled my fictitious character, Detective Kate Alexander as an amalgam of the females that I had the privilege to work with. http://www.amazon.com/The-Blue-Monster-ebook/dp/B0054H8TMA/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1312641741&sr=1-1

To find out more about observation and nonverbal behavior, take a look at Face 2 Face- Observation, Interviewing and Rapport Building Skills: an Ex-Secret Service Agent’s Guide: http://www.amazon.com/Face-2-ebook/dp/B009991BII/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354630000&sr=1-6

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Intruding on Body Language

I could smell his tobacco stained breath wafting through his yellow teeth. Crinkle nose. My spirits were lifted by the scent of her vanilla fragrance. Smile. Two different images based upon your proxemics to your conversational partner. Proxemics is the name given for establishing body distance. We all have certain zones of comfort. These spatial zones are changing in response to our social climate or culture. For example, if you are in a crowded nightclub with heart thumping music, your zone of comfort will be much closer, say six to twelve inches. If you were at a company picnic and stood that close to your boss’s spouse, you could probably cross yourself off the holiday bonus program.

A police officer that I knew had a history of invoking combative behavior in suspects. He had developed good defensive skills as a result. He never worked on his spatial zone awareness. He liked to crowd people. His body language conduct accelerated the tension and instigated combative situations that could have been avoided.

Determine the persons natural comfort zone. After the initial grip and grin, most people will retreat to their normal space. The social zone is between two and four feet. The intimate zone would be less than two feet. If you encroach, they will typically ease back to the normal range in a polarization effect. As they become more comfortable with you, they might inch closer into a more intimate zone. Do not get hung up the measured distances of the various zones. That is not as important as monitoring the self-imposed zones of your partner. Throw away the tape measure and respect their bubble.

It is humorous to watch people who are in one position and then as they like or dislike what is being said, will change their distance from the purveyor of words. This can be seen in reality television shows. Watch The Apprentice, or The First 48.  If they do not like what is being said, they will try to put space between the language they do not like and their body. The pulling back of the body screams, “Let me out of here!”  One thing that stands out, is once the investigator launches the accusation, many times the suspect will recoil from the accuser. This does not mean they are guilty but like anyone, they are uncomfortable with the accusation.

If you want to appear interested in the conversation, just lean in with your upper body just a tad and maintain eye contact. Do not lift your backside up and get close enough to smell the cologne. No one can hold a position forever and will occasionally sit back.

Your torso should be directed at the conversationalist to provide interest. If the person is sitting to your side, you should angle towards them. If a person is turning their chest away from you that is a good indication of disinterest or impatience.

Most football coaches will direct their tacklers to focus on their opponent’s belly button. The ball carrier may give a head bob or throw a leg in one direction, but the true intent of the player is the direction of the belly button. Point the belly button towards your interest. I catch myself on occasion with my torso not pointed directly towards my target. I have to self-regulate and adjust. Remember to monitor the spatial distance and position your body to demonstrate interest.

For more tips on increasing and developing rapport, take a look at FACE 2 FACE : http://www.amazon.com/Face-2-ebook/dp/B009991BII/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354630000&sr=1-6

 

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Winning Rapport for Recruiters

The National Signing Day for high school athletes is almost upon us. ESPN will devote an entire day of coverage to the winners and losers. They will project what college football teams captured the most highly rated recruits. There will be the last minute drama and hysterics from the athletes who are undecided or have experienced a change of heart. They play Three-Card-Monte with ball caps, feigning turmoil in deciding which school will win the trophy of their services.

What I find to be most interesting, is the athlete that will leave the safe confines of their hometown and travel hundreds of miles to a college far from home and family.  I often wonder, why? Was it a sense of adventure, or did they just want to bring some air under their wings and break out of the corral?

One Miami area recruit who chose the University of West Virginia, put it in the best terms. He had never seen snow and wanted to move north. For many others, it comes down to 100911-N-3857R-007relationships established with assistant coaches. Good recruiters are in high demand at prominent schools. Upcoming changes in NCAA rules will allow coaches unlimited communication with recruits through social media. The rapport established and developed by the recruiters with the recruits will become even more important, as they have to cut through the barrage of social media white noise the recruits will experience.

In the book and the movie the Blind Side, Louisiana State University (LSU) football coach Nick Saben, was recruiting Michael Oher, a prized five star recruit in the home of his foster family, the Touheys’.  At the time, Saben was coming off winning a national championship.

He knew the value of relationships and that those relationships included everyone that would have input into the decision-making process. He made a comment about how much he liked Mrs. Touhey’s window treatments. He could have just left it with, “You have a lovely home.” Saben was more specific and said the window treatments, not curtains. He used specificity and earned respect from Mrs. Touhey. Michael Oher did not choose LSU, but instead he chose to attend Mississippi. He is now playing for the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens.

Meanwhile, Saben continues to stockpile prized recruits as the head coach at the University of Alabama, which won the last two National Championships. Talk about Roll Tide Roll. His recruiting coordinator is Mike Groh. Previously, Mike Groh was at the University of Louisville, where he helped to land Teddy Bridgewater.  In an interview leading up to the Sugar Bowl win against Florida, the prized quarterback, was interviewed. Bridgewater was asked why he chose to spurn offers from local schools in the State of Florida and move north to Louisville, Kentucky. He said it was based on his relationship with assistant coach Mike Groh and head coach Charlie Strong. He added that the relationship was built upon trust.

Charlie Strong has demonstrated his trust and loyalty by remaining at a school, despite being tempted by much better compensation packages from other schools. Strong appears to practice what he preaches and from all indications, he is a man who is devout in integrity. Loyalty, trust and integrity are often rare commodities in sports.

There will be a lot of nail biting this week as the commitments are announced. Then they will quickly shift full attention on next year’s class. Coaches will have to focus on developing deeper rapport with their recruits for next year’s class. As those of us on Twitter understand, the social aspect for some coaches could be a challenge. It will still come down to demonstrating a genuine interest in the student athlete’s life and social influences. They have to demonstrate empathy to the recruit and stand in his cleats to view the world from his perspective. While working with a Division 1 coach, I stressed to recall the emotions they experienced when they endured the recruiting process. They needed to find commonality and uncover the passions and fears of the athlete.

Note – As a caveat, I did not attend any of the aforementioned schools. My heart is at the University of Arkansas and I will be anxiously awaiting the results from new head coach Brett Bielema.

For more tips on increasing and developing rapport, take a look at FACE 2 FACE : http://www.amazon.com/Face-2-ebook/dp/B009991BII/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354630000&sr=1-6

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