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Missing the Connection? Open Your Eyes!

“What we have here is a failure to communicate”- Cool Hand Luke

Very few of us have all the business we could possibly want or cope with. To boost sales we join networks, attend gatherings and conferences, and arrange one-to-one meetings. Yet the amount of time invested, and the conversion rate from possibility to profitability is frequently too modest to satisfy.  At times there may be little or no fit between the businesses, and we say thank you and move on. Other times, however, we almost get a deal done, but an elusive ’something’ intrudes and blocks the way, and it is not necessarily down to price, presentation or sales technique.

One of the most common issues I see arising in such circumstances is a tendency to act as if the other person sees, thinks, and feels as we do, and to communicate in a style that works for us but may be totally wrong for them.  Another tendency is to talk far more than we listen. Either way, we can miss out on a significant amount of available business simply by failing to read clear signs.

NLP practitioners refer to people being primarily Visual, Auditory or Kinesthetic, and the importance of recognizing  which is which and adapting our communication style accordingly. Those familiar with DISC will seek to identify primary and secondary – natural and adaptive – behaviour styles, and tailor their communication to fit. My experience is that we can take the best of those – and other tools – to greatly enhance our ability to communicate effectively and take our businesses to another level. The reality is that how we habitually stand, sit, breathe and move reveals a great deal about our personality and behaviour style. Even apparently small gestures can be informative. The fact that Bill Clinton is left-handed was very revealing to observant readers of body language when he famously denied having had a sexual involvement with Monica Lewinsky.

Watching Lance Armstrong’s facial expressions change during his interview with Oprah Winfrey told far more than his words, and often contradicted them. Observing micro-expressions is important once the conversation starts, but we can gather a wealth of information before people begin to speak. Mien Shiang or ‘Face Reading’ has been used to great effect for several millennia in China, and has become increasingly relevant for many businesses in the Western world in recent times. The shape of the face; the shape and dimensions of the forehead, cheeks and nose, chin and jaw; the size and position of the facial structures in relation to each other; which side of the face is fuller and larger in area; the location and depth of lines and markings, all of these aspects provide clear clues as to the personality we are dealing with. The size and angle of the eyebrows is one of the quickest ways to recognize how an individual takes in information. The thicker the eyebrow the more information they can take at one time – but if tangled you will probably need to ask them regular questions to keep them focused. If the eyebrows are thinner they may be more comfortable with a bullet-point style presentation. Straight eyebrows are more concerned with factual information, and less interested in any emotional content. Curved eyebrows indicate that this individual is likely to be comfortable in a relaxed and more personal setting, and doesn’t respond well to being pressed for a quick decision. Eyebrows angling sharply towards the bridge of the nose reveal an autocratic personality who likes to give orders, and will expect to be obeyed.

These are just a few visual indicators which are easily spotted, and can help open the door to accurate and relevant communication, leading in turn to solid business relationships. Once that door has opened your new connection may then open further doors to their most valued connections!

Happy people watching!

Joseph McGuire is the owner of Clearsight Communications who provide personal evaluation services and training in the areas of senior level recruitment/promotion, negotiations, sales and HR. Individual consultation sessions are available both in person and via Skype. He is also in demand for group presentations, private functions and conferences. For further information email: