Thursday, February 24, 2011

I See What You Are Saying

For those of us in the people business, we always say more than we think we are say.

There is a vast amount of material on the market today that deals with non-verbal communication (often called body language). I just finished the book You Say More than You Think by Janine Driver. Here are some highlights from this 229-page powerhouse book.

Key Principle – Total Communication
--50% of what we communicate with others is nonverbal.

-- When we focus simply on the trees, instead of taking the time to slow down our judgments and look at the entire forest, we can miss valuable information. This is a phenomenon called inattentive blindness, also known as perceptual blindness, and it’s related to how our minds see and process information.

Key Principle -- First Impressions
The first thirty seconds may be all you have to make a good impression.

Within the first seven seconds of meeting someone, he/she has already formed the first impression of you. This “primacy effect” dictates whether or not the person will trust you.

Key Principle -- The Belly Button Principle
Our belly buttons speak volumes about what we think and feel and especially where we do and do not want to be.

The direction of the torso determines a person’s level of interest.

Belly button direction is the most important aspect of reading a person’s intention.
The direction of our belly button reflects our attitude and reveals our emotional state.

When we suddenly turn our navel toward a door or an exit or simply away from someone, we subconsciously send the signal that we want out of the conversation and perhaps even out of the interaction.

Let’s take a tip from former president Bill Clinton. When President Clinton greets someone, he points his belly button to the one he is greeting, smiles, and gives them a great handshake... After he lets go of the individual’s hand and moves to the next person, he keeps eye contact on the first person for an extra second as if to say, “I hate to let you go.”

What an important people skill.

When people angle their belly button away from you, they are communicating one of several possibilities:
-I don’t like you, trust you
-I want out of here
-I’m hiding something

Key Principle – The Feet
This is tied to the belly-button principle. A person’s feet always point in the direction of where their body wants to go. For sales people, make sure and position your feet toward your prospect, face to face, in a direct line. Watch your prospects feet. Are they with you or headed for the door? This is worth noting, and then figure out what to do to re-engage your prospect.

OK, that’s enough for today. You need to read the book to discover what Janine means when she refers to your “naughty bits” and the fig leaf cover-up, and there is some other great material that is worth knowing.

Hope you are intrigued. It really is a terrific book and one I highly recommend if you really want to understand all of the ways in which you and I communicate.

After all, I can see what you are saying.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sine Cere - Without Wax

Once upon a time in Italy, there were some less-than-honest sculptors who would make mistakes when sculpting and to hide their flaws they would fill their statues with wax, yet pass off their work as the real, unblemished thing. On a hot day the wax would melt and their deceit would be revealed.

The authentic master sculptors of that day would advertise their work as “Sine Cere” – “Without Wax”. In other words, “My Work Is True Blue, with integrity. No Flaws.”

What a way to live: Being an authentic person.

To be a person of value and to offer value I want to be “without wax”, an authentic representation of who I say I am.

What do I say about myself?

Am I an authentic me?

So my question is this:  Am I acting in a way that is consistent with the principles I hold?

If I hold myself up to be a man of integrity, when I think that no one is watching, do I act and think like someone of integrity? Am I without wax?

People can tell whether you care or not. Am I acting and responding in a way with other people so that they know without a shadow of a doubt that I care? Does my integrity shine through?

I am a reader of books. One book I’ve read recently is called The Go-Giver by Bob Burg & John David Mann. In it they state “The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself. Let’s offer an authentic representation of ourselves to our world.

I like giving gifts, especially good quality stuff that has enduring qualities and lasting value. My chief aim is to offer a true representation of who I say and believe myself to be.



                    Sine Cera

                              Without wax!

William Shakespeare says:
“This above all: to thine own self be true;
and it must follow, as the night the day.
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

I choose to live each day
without wax -- with authenticity.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Catch Someone Doing Something Right

There is a principle in people relationships that I hope we never lose. Tom Peters made it popular in his book in the eighty’s called In Search of Excellence.

It is simply this …

Catch people
doing something

When I was a regional director for Sylvan Learning Centers it was a popular tenant by which we lived. We would look for something a student did, or a correct attitude one might hold, and we celebrated it.

Maybe they tried their best but still fell short.

I gave a kid some tokens one day for simply picking up a piece of paper. He didn’t drop it. It wasn’t necessarily his concern, but he saw something out of place and he was in a position to do something about it.

Catch people doing something right!

That means employees, customers, your spouse, students, kids, siblings, church members, close friends, ministers, plumbers, carpenters, airline pilots, teachers, co-workers, bosses, etc.

Catch them doing something right and then celebrate it. Shout it to the world.

In a world when it is the norm to criticize someone, show them appreciation instead.

Notice the small things. Compliment them, pay it forward.

Mention the little gestures.
 Celebrate the random acts of kindness.
  Catch people doing something right.

Parents, a word for you.

Do you celebrate the triumphs, the little things?
Shoes that stay tied
     The shirt tail that is generally tucked in?
          The small improvement in keeping a bedroom a bit neater?
               Celebrate the small stuff.

Customers need to be recognized for doing something right.
-Are they consistent in paying their bills? Celebrate it.
-Do they always make time to see you when you come by for your presentation? Celebrate it.
-Do they listen and take your advice on a new product and try it? Celebrate it.

Catch customers doing something right.

Did someone write a brilliant blog, such as this one, and you really gleaned a lot from it? Catch them doing something right. (I dare you.)

Catch someone doing something right, today!

It just might come back to you in some wonderful ways.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Have you ever played the trust game? The game goes like this: the participants all stand in a circle with the chosen one in the middle. The middle person is then asked to trust those in the circle and fall into their arms and allow them to move the trusting one around the circle without allowing him/her to fall down.

What an interesting experience. Some trust willingly. Others stand rigidly in the circle with their body language screaming “I don’t like this. I don’t trust you!”

Trust is earned, one encounter, one incident, one conversation at a time. And once earned, hold onto it for dear life. Guard it, protect it, and cherish it.

How many examples can we name today of individuals or corporations we fully trust?

I suppose we could fill many pages with people who have let us down.

Always guard
the sacred trust
others place in you.

Max Lucado, pastor of a church in San Antonio wrote a book called When God Whispers Your Name. Listen to this story.

"I stand six steps from the bed’s edge. My arms extended. Hands open. Sara, all four years of her, crouches like a playful kitten. She’s going to jump. But she’s not ready. I’m too close.

“Back more, Daddy,” she giggles and commands.

I dramatically comply, confessing admiration for her courage. After two giant steps I stop.

“More?” I ask.

"Yes!” Sara squeals, as she bounces gleefully on the bed.

With each step she laughs and claps and motions for more. When I’m on the other side of the canyon, when I’m beyond the reach of mortal man, when I am but a tiny figure on the horizon, she stops me. “There, stop there."

“Are you sure?”

I’m sure,” she shouts.

I extend my arms. Once again she crouches, then springs.

Superman without a cape.
Skydiver without a chute.

Only her heart flies higher than her body. In that airborne instant her only hope is her father. If he proves weak, she’ll fall. If he proves cruel, she’ll crash. If he proves forgetful, she’ll tumble to the hard floor.

But such fear she does not know, for her father she does. She trusts him. Four years under the same roof have convinced her that he is reliable.

He is not superhuman, but he is strong.

He is not holy, but he is good.

He is not brilliant, but he
doesn’t have to be to
remember to catch
his child when
she jumps.

And so she flies.
And so she soars.

    And so he catches her

and the two of them rejoice
at the wedding of her trust
and his faithfulness.

Sara’s older sister, Andrea, was in the room watching and I asked Sara if she would jump to Andrea. Sara refused. I tried to convince her. She wouldn’t budge.

“Why not?” I asked.

"I only jump into big arms.”

If we think the arms are weak, we won’t jump."

It’s all about T-R-U-S-T!

I have an investment counselor friend named Riz. I’ve known him for 2 years. I can trust him with my modest investments in a flash of a moment.

Riz is worthy of trust.

I worked with a man named Jim Tharp for ten years. He was my mentor, my pastor and my friend. He is one of the most integrity-filled men I know. I could trust Jim with my most intimate secrets and with my life.

Jim is worthy of trust.

I am married to Carolyn. After five years of knowing her, loving her, and experiencing life with her, she is someone that I look forward to seeing after a long and hard day. We talk, we share, we laugh, we trust.

Through it all, we love each other.

Carolyn is worthy of trust.

For people in sales, the most difficult part of our jobs is sometimes earning the trust of our potential customers. How do we go about doing that?

Here are some key words to focus on that may help.

  Accurate knowledge
          A smile
            Open body stance
              Direct eye contact.

Who do you trust?

If the arms are weak, we won’t jump.

If we fear deceit, we won’t follow.

If we fear betrayal, we won’t trust.

Who do you trust?

Better question.

Are you and I trust agents?