While reading The Wichita Eagle’s “Next Element helps groups with conflict, communication”, which discusses a unique Kansas-based corporate consulting agency, one particular passage stood out,
“Partner Nate Regier said that he could tell within 15 minutes at a company staff meeting whether there is a problem, what it is, and how deep it is just by listening to how people talk, what they say, and watching their body language”.
Next Element Consulting uses these skills to help their clients solve workplace disputes, and tuning into the subtleties of nonverbal communication and word choice can give you a leg up in gauging someone’s true feelings and intentions in nearly any situation. There are countless ways in which this can be beneficial.
We previously discussed tips for helping job seekers identify phony career opportunities based on the language of the job posts, but what happens when you reach the all-important interview stage? This is a great learning experience on both sides. While they learn more about you, you can learn more about both the company and the individual interviewer. If it is a phony or less stable opportunity, expect some of the same language from those job ads. If you are told that you can be your own boss or own your own business, find out if you will be working out of an office or from your home. Many of these positions require a lot of driving, often without being reimbursed for gas. If you get the impression from the beginning of the interview that you are the one making the decision, not them, that could be another bad sign.
If the interview is for a traditional job, it is highly unlikely that the interviewer will offer you the job on the spot, and you may want to tune into his or her body language and or word choice to determine how the interview is going. This might be obvious, but if the interview goes long, that is a good sign. If the interviewer appears to be checking the time or trying to wrap up the interview, you are probably in trouble. Other positive signs include open body language (e.g. arms not crossed) and mirroring of your body language. These behaviors show that that they are receptive to you and feel a connection to you, respectively. Of course, any hint of a smile is another point in your favor. These guidelines are also good for social situations in general.
Picking up on the subtle details of human communication can also help you better assess whether or not someone is being truthful with you. Aside from paying attention to inconsistencies in the story told, you can pick up on dishonest behavior in their body language. When people lie, they often avoid direct eye contact, cover their face, or fidget more than usual. One of the top telltale signs, however, is the use of micro expressions. Micro expressions are involuntary expressions of mood that show up in a person’s face for a split second. They can be hard to detect, but can often show how a person really feels, versus what they are consciously trying to express.
Since detecting micro expressions can be a useful skill in any human interaction, not just when trying to determine whether someone is lying, let’s test our ability to do so now. CIO.com has released a wonderful game in which you guess the micro expression shown on your screen. Good luck! You might just be one step closer to reading minds.