Louder Than Words - Take Your Career From Average to Exceptional With the Hidden Power of Nonverbal Intelligence
By Joe Navarro. Published by Harper Collins, 2010.
As a safety professional, I have spent my career listening to what people have to say, then correlating that to what their body is saying to verify whether they are telling the truth. Accordingly, I am working on a 1-day seminar on negotiations for safety professionals. In no small part, the ability to read body language and nonverbal cues clearly comes to bear during this process. Navarro has done this in a far more acrimonious world in his capacity working for the FBI for no less than 25 years. He knows how to spot key signs far better than I. In his book Louder Than Words, Navarro helps the reader better understand what others are thinking, feeling or intending by reading and interpreting the nonverbal cues portrayed by every person. He explains these nonverbal signals, how they influence people and how a person can use them to influence situations.
Recognizing Nonverbal Cues
One key factor Navarro describes is mirroring. Mirroring can occur when one purposely sits the same way as another, situates one's arms in the same manner, or mimics the individual's movements and vocabulary. Mirroring portrays the individual's common interests or behaviors. For instance, when mirroring one's vocabulary, if the individual says, "my children" do not say, "your kids," rather say, "your children." Mirroring the word children displays a common vocabulary. The more each individual feels similar to the other, the more comfortable each will be. Once a comfort level is established, business is easier to conduct. I have used this in several situations, and it has helped me achieve goals for the safety department.
The brain is trained to react to specific instances in particular ways. If an individual tries to hide his/her feelings, the brain will show an indication toward feelings of comfort or discomfort by utilizing the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system. In comfortable situations, one's body movements, heart rate and breathing are relaxed, allowing them to be open to the situation.
Navarro describes uncomfortable or nervous situations as freeze, flight or fight. During this scenario, one's breathing and heart rate are increased, and the body tenses, with the individual closed to the situation. These feelings are better portrayed through one's body language. The body becomes a lie detector as it were.
When an individual is relaxed, his/her body language is open, arms are unfolded, s/he is calm and still, and his/her full attention is set on the necessary individual. When an individual is relaxed, s/he is more open to new ideas and thoughts, and is more willing to listen than when tense. When an individual is tense, his/her arms are folded, his/her jaw may clench and s/he will not look directly at the individual. In these situations, people are less likely to listen to any new ideas.
We may witness this during incident investigations with employees and senior management. It is one cue we use to proceed with a particular strategy, to pause for timing or to take another path.
Key Takeaways for Safety Managers
Humans are born with busy brains that love to learn. Sporting a stunning lack of physical defenses, we have had to depend on our mental agility for survival. We have the ability to size up situations, take decisive action based on our impressions, learn from everything that happens and remember what we have learned. The world is constantly speaking to us through our senses, sending a continuous stream of impressions, and we are constantly assessing what those impressions mean. You can use this book to better analyze business situations. This book also may help improve success rates in situations that deal with employees and management by understanding nonverbal cues.
The author identified a trick of the trade when interrogating people. It works like this: "When you observe a behavior, ask yourself, does it represent comfort or discomfort?'" This is your cue if they are telling the truth, or in our case, if they are open to the business proposal.
Behaviors that show dominance toward someone are called territorial displays and should not be used toward superiors. Dominant behaviors include taking up more space than is needed or pointing your thumbs out of your pockets (when your hands are in your pockets). These behaviors portray a message that, "I think I am better than you."
Understanding how the body communicates is one form of recognizing nonverbal communication. Recognizing these actions while talking with someone can help determine whether to continue with a meeting (e.g., the client is acting as if s/he needs to leave, or if the client is interested in what you are saying).
Hand movement is very important in nonverbal communication. "For survival purposes, we orient toward movement." Because the clever human hand has the ability to enhance life (e.g., feeding, carrying, cradling) or to inflict injury (e.g., punching, gouging, killing), we watch a person's hands closely. Because we consider hands for our security, our first impressions of someone's hands influence our opinion of them.
When there is comfort, communication is more effective. We become more persuasive and transactions are more smooth. Navarro's book arms the reader with observation skills and a few offensive skills to read others and influence decisions. It may not always help, but it can't hurt. What is that you say? I hear what you are saying but your body language is speaking . . . louder than words.
Mark Hansen, P.E., CSP, CPE
Make Today Count - The Secret of Your Success Is Determined by Your Daily Agenda
By John Maxwell. Published by Center Street, 2004.
In safety, a day without an incident and injury is considered a success. In Make Today Count, Maxwell offers daily disciplines that give maximum impact in minimal time. Maxwell shares his list of "daily dozen" critical areas for successful people, and there are applications within each discipline to apply to the safety world.
Some of us will fluctuate between self-control and disciplines, doing one thing when we know we should be doing another. Maxwell teaches how to control a personal agenda, stretch creativity and thinking, improve and build relationships, and nurture personal growth. He says that success will come if one settles the 12 critical areas, makes the right decisions in each area and manages those decisions daily.
Maxwell provides great examples of each area and challenges the reader on each one. After reading each discipline, think about how you can link it to the safety profession and apply it on a daily basis.
Attitude is a choice. If you want to make your day a masterpiece, then you must have a great attitude. One secret to maintaining a good attitude is valuing people. Interactions with others set the tone of the day. To benefit from the possibilities of a positive attitude, do more than just make the decision to be positiveómanage the decision.
Maxwell says that no daily dozen issue has added more to his success that the principle of priorities. Ask yourself three questions:
- What is required of me? This is asked when ordering your priorities. Give it careful thought before moving on to the next question.
- What gives me the greatest return? Focus on activities that yield a much higher return for the effort.
- What gives me the greatest reward? No one can be successful if they do not possess the discipline to take care of the first two areas before adding the third.
Learn and follow healthy guidelines. Do you enjoy your work? One of the greatest causes of debilitating stress in people's lives is doing jobs they do not enjoy. If a job gives you energy, you must be working in an area of strength. Find your pace. If you continually run at a pace faster than you are capable of, you can burn out. Find your balance. Handling stress effectively plays a part in one's overall health. The author reveals that the worst thing you can do when it comes to any kind of potential pressure situation is to put off dealing with it. Reduce stress by addressing problems with people as quickly as possible.
Building a solid family does not just happen on its own. It takes work. Once family becomes a priority, decide what you want your family to stand for. This should be based on values. The author mentions how to foster problem solving at home: with better understanding, positive changes and growing relationships. Strengthen your family life and make it a source of stability with these disciplines:
- Put your family on the calendar first.
- Create and maintain family traditions.
- Find ways to spend time together.
- Keep your marriage healthy first.
- Express appreciation for each other.
- Resolve conflict as quickly as possible.
The author asks the question, based on the decision you made concerning family, what is the one discipline you must practice today and every day in order to be successful?
Eleven different thinking skills come into play concerning good thinking. It is a mistake to believe that there is only one kind of thinking. The author provides a high-level overview of the skills, which are big picture, focused, creative, realistic, strategic, possibility, reflective, questioning, shared, unselfish and bottom-line thinking. What you do every day in the area of thinking sets the stage for all your actions.
Decide to make and keep proper commitments daily. To have greater tenacity to accomplish the things that you desire, decide to embrace commitment wholeheartedly. As you strive to keep your commitment daily, keep the following in mind. Expect commitment to be a struggle. Commitment does not come easy, but when you fight for something you believe in, the struggle is worth it. Focus on choices, not conditions. Maxwell describes how people approach daily commitment in one of two ways. They focus on the external or the internal.
Those who focus on the external expect conditions to determine whether they keep their commitments. In contrast, people who base their actions on the internal usually focus on their choices. Maxwell asks the question, where do you stand when it comes to commitment today?
One of the most important things you can do for yourself is keep your perspective and be thankful for whatever you have. If you work hard and maintain an attitude of gratitude, you will find it easier to manage your finances every day.
True leadership starts with the heartówith character. Every day, people act on beliefs that have little or no evidence to back them up. Align your beliefs with the truth.
The author stresses the importance of relationships. Many people do not take responsibility for the relationships in their lives. They simply let things happen to them rather than being intentional about it. Place a high value on people and learn to understand them. To understand people, do not take their shortcomings personally, rather, help them succeed. This lays the groundwork for good relationships.
Improve relationships through these everyday actions:
- Put others first.
- Do not carry emotional baggage.
- Give time to your most valuable relationships.
- Serve others gladly.
- Express love and appreciation often.
Maxwell asks the question, what do people often value more than money? The answer is time and attention. The people closest to you would rather have you than your money. A good mentor is more valuable than a mere monetary reward. Being generous means keeping your eyes open for opportunities to give to everyone, whether it is through mentoring a colleague, feeding a homeless person, sharing your faith with a friend or spending time with your family.
Maxwell continually asks himself, am I leading others according to the values I embrace? Managing your life according to your values is not easy. Why? Because your values will be tested daily by those who do not embrace them.Review and reflect on values daily. Good business leaders understand the importance of speaking about their values continually. Most people take little time to think reflectively, yet that is necessary for anyone who wants to live out his/her values with consistency.
The last of the daily dozen is about making yourself better. If you are ready to make the decision to pursue growth and experience improvement every day, then ask the question, what is my potential? The greatest handicap a person has is not realizing his/her potential. Set growth goals and grow in areas that will add personal and professional value. Put yourself in a growth environment where you can expand and reach your potential. The final test of any learning is always application. If what you're learning can be used in some way to help and improve you or others, then it is worth the effort.
As Maxwell says, you really can make today great by managing your decisions. Are you ready to start right now and guarantee tomorrow's success by making today count? I hope that you can connect the daily dozen to the safety profession to make it a better day for the people we value at home, at work and in the community.
Richard Horan Jr., CSP
West Chester, PA
Predicting Comfort of Flame-Resistant Clothing
By Scott Margolin. Published in Safely Made, a publication of ASSE's Manufacturing Practice Specialty, Vol. 4, No. 2, 2013.
In his article, "Predicting Comfort of Flame-Resistant Clothing," Scott Margolin explains how comfort is perceived when evaluating flame-resistant (FR) and arc-resistant (AR) protective clothing. Although comfort is one of the most important factors when choosing such clothing, Margolin states that it cannot be reliably predicted by fabric tests. "This is because comfort is inherently subjective; it is entirely a perception in the mind of the individual wearer and thus defies objective, quantified analysis," he says.
The article discusses misunderstood characteristics of comfortóbreathability and weightóand how workers confuse the different definitions. Weight is another characteristic involved with the concept of comfort. Margolin discusses the misconception that lighter fabrics are considered more comfortable than heavier fabrics, and shares results of objective, blind wear tests. When conducted properly, he says, these tests are the only reliable, proven method for predicting comfort of FR and AR clothing, he says.
To read the complete article, visit www.asse.org/psextra.