The Powers of Observation

It’s sometimes funny when you watch two people who are meeting for the first time. The meetings could include two people on a date, salesperson and prospect, a sports coach and his new team, a person interviewing for a job and on and on. People will show confidence, awkwardness, shyness, wariness and a host of other “first time meeting emotions”. None of these are unnatural or bad. We are who we are and sometimes it is difficult to bridge the gap between two people until some significant times passes.

It needn’t be that way. NLP has been around since man first started using flint. Individuals express themselves differently, emote in different ways, hold there bodies in different ways etc. The signals are all there if you’re watching but unfortunately most of us don’t bother watching or don’t know what to look for.

So let’s spin this puppy into the sales environment. You’re a salesperson or a sales manager with a salesperson and you’re meeting with a prospect whom you’ve never met before. Here are some things to look for at first glimpse:

  1. Does the prospect come out to meet you or are you taken into their office? (Going out to meet someone is more engaging; being led in could mean the prospect likes to show off power.)
  2. Watch for eye contact. (This is but a fleeting 5 seconds or less but it broadcasts information. The direct, unwavering eye contact, to me anyway, signifies that the individual is confident and business like.)
  3. Of course the handshake is a dead giveaway. (Beware the person who is trying to break your hand with a vice grip. The firm, no-nonsense handshake signifies professionalism and strength. I don’t know what wimpy handshakes  signify because I’ve seen tough negotiators meet me and shake hands like a piece of linguine. And I’ve seen the opposite.
  4. Facial expression is part of that first moment of introduction. Smile? Frown? Nothing? They all mean something.)
  5. Where do people sit during the meeting? (Does the prospect use the desk as a barrier? Does the prospect lead the salesperson to chairs that face each other?)

Of course all this is happening at roughly the speed of light and to make it even more fun, the prospect and the salesperson are drawing conclusions about each other from first sight. Here’s a ridiculous yet funny anecdote. Years ago I met with the owner of a small sign company. As I sat across from him I realized that my eye level was almost a foot below his. Talk about a power junkie! I looked to the left and saw a phone book, which I took and put under me so that now our eye contact was close to level. The guy laughed so hard I thought he was going to fall off his chair. I also got the business.

My rule of thumb, as NLP outlines, is to match and mirror the behavior of the person I’m speaking with. I’ll expand on what this means on the 1/23 post.

The Final Thought: God, grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked…the good fortune to run into the ones I do and the eyesight to tell the difference. Author Unknown


One thought on “The Powers of Observation

  1. I should stop reading your posts at work. I sit alone giggling and people are beginning to think I’m this weird person laughing alone.
    I do agree body language plays a very important role when you meet someone. There might be times when you read it all wrong but one does improve over time.

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