“Call me sometime,” the smooth talking businessman was telling my friend.
He gave her his card and it was a split second before I realized he had no intention of giving his cards to the rest of the group huddled around him.
“That was odd,” I thought and I shelved the thought away for future rumination.
I had accompanied a friend to a business meeting; an affair involving shuffling suits, light sales pitches, incessant smiling and a flurry of handshakes. Networking and building business relationships was the theme with liberal exchanges of business cards. It was the first time in a long time I had been around suits and I was more interested in taking in the environment. I had a few targeted people to talk to but was interested in hearing everyone’s business platform. The problem was not everyone was interested in listening.
One of these businessmen was standing out in my radar. He had zeroed in on who he thought was a key player in his own universe. By definition, this meant someone he could possibly sell his services to and therefore of importance to him. What puzzled me though is that despite my asking what his business was about, he made visible efforts to direct his attention to the one person he was really interested in. In fact, now that I think about it, I don’t think he answered my question.
Interested in seeing how it would all play out, I settled in to watch his performance. His body was half turned away from everyone else effectively providing an impenetrable barrier to any wanna-be participators. His focus on one person left no doubt who he was singularly interested in. Lastly, as a gesture of his narrow focus he enthusiastically shook the one person’s hand he was interested in while he simultaneously smiled dismissively at the rest of his audience before slinking away with his ear gadget thingy still stuck to his ear.
I Knew this event evoked a familiar feeling in me and when I had time to reflect I realized I recognized myself and a lot of people in this man’s body language. How many times does the janitor –who actually knows the ins and outs of the building and can often, get you the best hook up-get ignored while more “important” people get air time? Giving value to people means treating everyone as a valuable member. Great advice has sometimes come from the most unexpected sources.
Based on this experience, I was reminded that:
1. Body language will often give away how you truly feel inside. Entire industries have been dedicated to this one concept alone.
2. Changing the constructs of your mind will be reflected in your daily interactions with people.
3. Focusing on who people are will derail you from the possibility of unique experiences. Labeling people and categorizing people will automatically narrow your focus so that you will choose to listen to some and disregard others risking the possibility of losing out on a valuable experience.
4. Include everyone regardless of what they do. You will be surprised what you can learn from the least likely source.
Giving value to people means steering away from the constructs of the minds. The mind will always want to make sense of things. To label things. Giving in to the desire to label will ultimately limit the possibilities of a given situation. Sure it’s necessary to have a goal and in this case networking was the goal. The act of valuing some and dismissing others means that the businessman narrowed his playing field significantly and therefore his possibilities. Open your mind to the possibility that you might see something unusual. Your body is the vessel that carries out your thoughts. If your thoughts are narrow, your body will respond by dismissing people. If you are open to the unexpected, your body will respond by being more receptive to others regardless of their background.
These are just some examples. Perhaps you have more you could add to this list.
- How body language works (holykaw.alltop.com)
- Body Language (socyberty.com)
- Google leaders need body language skills (blogs.forbes.com)
- Communicating Effectively When Alzheimer’s Is an Issue (everydayhealth.com)
- Your body language tells everyone (empwaynek.wordpress.com)
- The Mistakes People Make Reading Your Body Language (blogs.forbes.com)
- Is Body Language Really Necessary – 3 – How To Manage Your Own Body Language (blogs.forbes.com)