Opening Our Eyes
1. Pay attention to your senses
Anyone who has spent a couple of minutes around a toddler has witnessed an amazing thing–boundless curiosity.
At birth, we are thrown into this world of sensory exposures (e.g. sight, smell, taste) and immediately begin consuming everything within our sense’s reach.
Blankly staring (and drooling), meanwhile, our brains are constructing models.
These models will continuously grow and change as we age–but as we get older, we will be stunted by our routines (there’s only so many ways to drive to work and do our jobs).
Breaking monotony as an adult can be a very difficult thing (especially for parents and caregivers).
Eventually, we reject boundless curiosity in an effort to maximize efficiency by creating habits. Charles Duhigg’s “The Power of Habit” explains the formation and potential harm or benefit of habits.
At the root of our habits–we have to make a judgement about an activity, person, etc.
Attempting to stop these judgments is futile, but we can monitor their formation (meditation and psychology are helpful), and provide the opportunity to reevaluate and change.
2. Check your nonverbals, and pay attention to other’s
(Reference our article “Three Actionable Steps to Improve Nonverbal Communication” for more details).
Whenever I (Tyler) see a new person, I take into account every nonverbal signal they send (nonverbal communication was one of my favorite college courses; much thanks to Dr. Andersen).
What are they wearing? (clothes, make-up, perfume)
What is their body type? (tall, short, fat, skinny, do they even lift?)
What is their body language? (facial expressions, posture, eye contact)
How much time and distance do they give me? (do they go past initial pleasantries, and how close are they standing)
These initial judgments will lay the foundation for our relationship, and affect our disposition toward the individual.
After gaining a general understanding of the person, express yourself as deemed appropriate by the relationship (I don’t talk to my bosses the same way I talk to my closest friends).
3. Listen. Listen. Listen.
Dale Carnegie says it better in “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, but I will do my best to reiterate.
Attentive listening takes a lot of practice. To do it right, you need to shut-out all thoughts and focus on every word and nonverbal signal being sent.
The more you practice, the more you will be able to understand and appreciate the information being sent. You will be able to walk away from a conversation with a much greater understanding of the person and their point of view.
4. Avoid manipulative people
This essay is intended for an audience interested in maximizing the information received during an interaction.
I understand the implicit connection between reading nonverbals and its application to manipulation.
My hope for this writing–individuals will gain a basic understanding which prevents them from falling victim to manipulation. Robert Green’s “The 48 Laws of Power” is an amazing resource for anyone interested in learning more about social power and influence.
5. Take this knowledge to the real world
Every salesperson, homeless person, and marketer is looking for your attention.
They use eye contact to make that initial connection, and follow it up with a specific approach based off the demographic of the audience (e.g. approach men and women differently).
Great salespeople and marketers are able to tap into basic human psychology and create an immediate connection with their target. If a salesman can appeal to the emotions of the individual, they will increase the likelihood of completing a sale.
To avoid sales pitches and marketing, the best solution is to look away (literally). My kind-hearted friends fall victim to street marketing on a regular basis, because they allow the connection to form.
This concludes part one of Monitoring Judgement, I hope the article incites some conversation, which will then fuel my later contributions on the topic.
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