3 Secrets to Making A Great First Impression

Perhaps you’ve heard the expression “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” How quickly do people form an opinion of you? Seconds? Minutes?
WORSE.
Not to scare everyone, but Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov conducted experiments that showed first impressions occur in 1/10th of a second and aren’t greatly altered by longer exposure to the person.
It isn’t fair, but many judgments are made on faces alone. Studies show that naturally attractive people get better outcomes in all forms of life. But what can you do if you’re not suitable to appear on the cover of Vogue or GQ?

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Here are a few quick tips to have some control over what people decide about you:

1. Make a Great Appearance
Be sure how you look and dress fits the occasion. If you’re going for an interview or business meeting, make sure you’re well groomed and dress conservatively.
What does that mean?
• You bathed and brushed your teeth. No one appreciates bad breath or seeing someone with spinach caught between their front teeth.
• If you’re a man, you’ve shaved and neatly trimmed any beard/ moustache. Also don’t forget to check for pesky nose and ear hair, and that goes for women as well.
• Your hair is combed and you’ve used a mirror to check the back so there’s not a flat spot or something out of place. You don’t want to just look good from the front.
• The outfit you choose to wear is appropriate for the occasion. Like Oscar Wilde said, “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.” Of course, this doesn’t mean you should wear a tuxedo, prom dress or evening gown to a job interview or business meeting, but you see the point. If you’re not sure what to wear, search online for photos showing photos appropriate for your category of destination.
• Think about the culture of where you’re going to be. Is it okay to have tattoos showing or face jewelry? If not, do the best you can to minimize them.
• Check yourself in a full length mirror. Is everything as it should be? Is your tie askew or your skirt hanging a little to one side? Are your shoes scuffed or there’s a snag in your hose? Make sure to do a full inspection before departing.

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2. Have Super Power Body Language
How you carry yourself adds to your first impression. You want to look relaxed and confident, but how do you do that if you’re a little nervous?
• On the trip there, listen to some songs that make you feel positive and upbeat.
• Take some deep breaths before going into the building or room. This sends oxygen to your brain and relaxes you. Count 4 beats in and 4 out. Repeat several times until you feel calmer.
• Get in a Power Pose with hands on your hips like Superman and feel the confidence. Of course, do this where people don’t see you unless you want to be recruited for the Avengers.
• Stand up straight. Put your weight on the balls of your feet and keep them shoulder-length apart. Square your shoulders and tuck in your stomach. Keep your earlobes in line with your shoulders and don’t forget to breathe.
• Make eye contact. If you don’t look at the person you’re addressing, you will come across as insecure. You don’t have to hold continued eye contact, but it’s important to look directly at another when you first meet.
• Have a firm handshake, NOT one that could crush a can of tomatoes and NOT one that’s like shaking a wet rag. Practice with friends until you get it right.
• SMILE! You don’t want to look hesitant or nervous, so smile like you would when you meet someone you know well. If you’re not sure, practice in the mirror until it feels natural.

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3. Be a Good Communicator
Interviews and first meetings can be stressful, but there are some things you can do that will help you make a better impression.
• Do voice warm-ups at home or on the way there. The easiest way is to hum in a hot shower so the steam relaxes your vocal chords. Start at medium range and then go as low and high as you can. Scrunch up your face like a prune and then relax it with your tongue hanging out like a hound dog. Say the words “Bay-Be-Buy-Bo- Boom” 5 times quickly to get your tongue working. If you do this, your voice won’t sound thing or crack when you first speak.
• Research the people and/or company culture of your destination. It helps to have some background before a meeting and adds to your ability to make small talk.
• Ask questions about the people you’re meeting. If you’re in a limiting situation like an interview, it can be as simple as how their day has been. If you have more time expanded your questions to learn about the other person’s life, like where they’re from, what they like about working somewhere etc. People like to talk about themselves, and it shows you’re interested in them, making you appear more confident than being solely self-focused.
• Listen. Sometimes when we’re nervous, we don’t listen well. Be sure and pay close attention to the question, and ask that it be repeated, if needed. Answer what you’ve been asked. If someone is telling you a story, don’t look around the room or at other people. They will appreciate you more for giving them your undivided attention.

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If you practice these tips, you won’t care how long you have to connect, because you’ve mastered making a positive first impression.

QUICK TIPS ON LEADING DURING A CRISIS

Sometimes stressful situations make you feel like you’re in a building that’s on fire, your hair’s on fire and everything is crashing down around you. Studies have shown that 90% of top performing leaders stay calm and in control during times of crisis– but it isn’t always easy.

Here are a few tips to help weather the storm:

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1)  Take a Deep Breath

The event you’re in, or the problem you need to solve, won’t spin out of control any faster if you take a moment for yourself. Do some deep breathing to bring some oxygen into your brain, and remember to relax. Do some neck rolls and stretch. By centering your body, you will help center your mind.

2)  Gain Perspective

Take a realistic view of what’s happened.  Ask yourself what the worst thing is that could occur if the situation isn’t immediately resolved. Is the problem really a molehill disguised as a mountain?  Put together a list of the facts and separate them from the emotions you might be feeling. This allows you to have a more grounded idea of what occurred.

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3) Collaborate

Get together with your co-workers, employees or friends and ask everyone to write down three things they think might fix what’s happened. If mistakes have been made, especially by you, acknowledge them. An open dialog and collaboration will bring people together as a team and help support any decisions that need to be made.

4) Keep Things Positive

Blame, recriminations and negative statements sometimes burst out before they’re thought through, especially during a tense circumstance. Try to keep communication upbeat and positive to help facilitate a good solution.

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5) Take a Time Out

 If you don’t find a quick solution, take a break and do something that helps you relax. Meditate, go for a walk or listen to some music that boosts your mood. Take your mind off the problem and give yourself both a physical and mental break. Don’t be surprised if the solution comes to you during this time. We make better decisions when we’re relaxed.

By practicing these ideas, you can learn to remain calm no matter what’s thrown at you and become an even stronger leader.

12 Quick Tips to Help You Feel Confident

None of us go through life with our confidence meter stuck on 100% all of the time. Why do we feel confident? Why don’t we? Improving our confidence takes self-reflection and practice.

I recently conducted a  workshop on improving self-confidence at the University of San Diego’s Women’s Center. I had about an hour to condense a broad topic into a crash course. In addition to a quick look at psychological studies of confidence issues based on gender, and providing a detailed handout for self-reflection, here are a few ideas I taught to help give your confidence a boost:

  1.  Visualization

Visualization is not about seeing yourself trying to succeed at some point in the future. It’s about using your imagination to picture and experience the desired results like they’ve already been accomplished.

Before doing something that requires confidence, go to a quiet place where you can meditate. Imagine yourself doing the actions required and the feeling of success. Visualize everything that’s going to happen; what you’re wearing, how it feels and how everything works well. To engage in full visualization, also do affirmations and move your body. By engaging everything, you can experience the whole event before it happens and be a success when it actually does.

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  1. Rewire your Brain

When you feel nervous, your body floods with adrenaline, making you feel jittery. Instead of telling yourself you feel nervous, say “Yay! My superpower is here!” Adrenaline has helped people lift cars off people who are trapped, it’s like magic. Say “I’m SO EXCITED!!”  instead of “I’m nervous.” The more you focus on thinking of nervousness as a good thing, your brain will begin to associate it with positive, not negative, feelings.

  1. Put together a “Change My Attitude” playlist

Think about songs that make you feel happy or motivated, then put together a playlist on your favorite music device. Hearing these songs will help you feel empowered.  If you’re in a funk or need to change the way you feel, listen to songs that uplift you. An example is American Author’s “Best Day of My Life.”

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  1. Stop Caring About Other People’s Opinions and Comparing Yourself to Others

          Have an honest conversation with yourself about what makes you care about other people’s opinions. When you were a baby, you were happy and free. Then people’s opinions began to intrude. Your parents & relatives, friends, teachers etc. put labels on what they thought you were and were not.

How much have you let what other people think of you define who you are? Take time to identify and root out old labels that don’t apply to you, or ones you still need to conquer.

Also, don’t compare your life to other people’s lives, bodies, houses, families etc. Most times, we don’t know the difficulties people are going through because they don’t reveal their problems. Not many people get on Facebook or Twitter and say “I gained 50 pounds!” or “I’m crushed by a mountain of debt!”

Be happy with who you are and don’t reach for an “ideal” based on images sold by the media or on social media.

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  1. Stay Present

          Learn to let go of the past and don’t worry about the future. Stay present. By being present, we connect with others. When we’re not on our iPhones, rehashing our failures or obsessing about the future, staying present in the moment can help minimize our fears.

  1. Likeability/Listening

What makes a person likeable? They’re present, they connect and they listen. Everyone wants to be noticed.  Ask people you meet, from your barista to your family, “How’s your day?” Ask  follow-up questions if they give you a quick “Fine.” Engage and find out more. There are lots of things to learn from other people. If you listen without judgment, people will learn to like and trust you, adding to your confidence.

  1. Gratitude

Instead of focusing on your problems and what you don’t have, take time to reflect on what you do have. When you believe and embrace that anything is possible, you come into vibration with a positive energy that helps you achieve your goals. Take  stock of what you have, not what you don’t.

     8. Never Stop Learning

          To have more confidence, it helps to know what you’re doing, and that’s where learning comes in. Even when you think you know what you’re doing, there’s more to learn.  If you don’t know an answer, don’t guess. Say “I’m going to find out!”  In this information age, it’s easy.

Knowledge gives you power. Facts give you power. When you’re able to say “I know that because…” and can give a concrete example or reference, it lends you more credibility and helps you feel confident.

  1. Perspective

          We have all reached a certain point in life by going through problems. When you face a challenge, think about what you’ve navigated before, how you succeeded and where this problem falls compared to others you’ve lived through.

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  1. Use Positive Self-Talk and Affirmations

Don’t let the traitor in your brain talk about failure. When you hear negative talk, visualize trapping the traitor in a closet, bound and gagged!   Watch what you think/say. Instead of “I’m trying to lose weight,” say “I’m losing weight.”

A common phrase people say to themselves is “I can’t”. When you say to yourself “I can’t,”  you are creating a barrier. This will prevent you from achieving a task you could otherwise succeed at.   If you would like to be successful, you need to start saying “I can” a lot more.  When you hear or say something negative, say “Delete, Delete, Delete. ”

  1. Confront Your Fears

Ask yourself what you are afraid of. Then ask, “What is the worst that can happen?” Go through each step of the process and see if you can change your attitude. By breaking things into small steps, they will seem much more manageable. Every journey begins with one step. Don’t let fear stop you from going on what could be a fantastic journey.

  1. Use Body Language and Presence Awareness to Project Confidence

            Before you go into a situation that requires you to feel confidence, do what Ted Talk presenter and Harvard Professor Amy Cuddy has suggested– strike a power pose: Put your hands on  your hips like Wonder Woman, above your head like you just won a race or other power positions that helps you feel more confident. Do some deep breathing to calm yourself and, if giving a talk, do some voice warm-ups so your voice doesn’t sound shallow or crack. Enter the room with good energy, project confidence and you will look like you’re ready to take on the world.

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        You can do it!  Take these tips, apply them and give your confidence a quick boost.

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WWBD- What Would Batman Do?

Do you remember when you were little and people would ask “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

When I was 5 years old someone asked me that question and there was only one answer.

BATMAN.

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Watching cartoons, I’d learned about Batman. He’s the secret identity of Bruce Wayne, an American billionaire who witnessed the murder of his parents as a child and swore revenge on criminals. His vengeance is tempered with the great ideal of justice.

I was captivated. Being the Caped Crusader fighting crime was the perfect job….and he had a butler.

Nearing Halloween my mom asked me who I wanted to be.

I planted my feet, put my hands on my hips and said “I want to be Batman!”

“Don’t you mean Batgirl?” She asked, buying into gender roles.

“NO, Mom. I want to be Batman.”

She wasn’t happy. She looked like she had a row of pins clasped in between her lips.

She’d always wanted a little girl to dress up and have tea parties. Instead, she got a girl who wanted to be a superhero and, not just any superhero, a male superhero.

But I stayed true to my Batman self.  I begged until I got the costume for Halloween.

I patrolled the neighborhood to keep it safe…for a year.

I endured a lot of teasing from other kids:

Where’s your bat cave?

Where’s your bat mobile?

Aren’t you a girl?

I learned something about life. Being Batman was hard.

After awhile, I didn’t wear my costume around anymore, but inside I still wanted to be like my superhero.

In 4th grade, I joined the band program to learn to play an instrument.

I wanted to play the trombone, but my parents couldn’t afford one. My dad handed me a beat up instrument case. “Here. You’re playing this,” he said. It was a trumpet.

When I arrived at band class, I sat with all the other kids who played the trumpet.

They were all boys.

The band teacher looked at me, sitting in the row with all those boys, and said “You need to play the bells.”

He took me over and gave me this big silver instrument you tap at with little wooden hammers. “Girls play the bells,” he said.

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Plink- Plank- PLUNK.

This was really boring!  I didn’t like playing the bells at all.

Then, I thought “What would Batman do?”

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At the end of class, I told my music teacher “I’m playing my trumpet and that’s how it is.”

And I did from then on, earning 1st chair — the best player position–my sophomore year of high school, beating a senior boy.  Actually, the whole trumpet section was still all boys.

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After law school, I became a prosecutor at age 24. I was now involved in the real justice system.

But I also looked like something straight out of Legally Blonde.  I had Farrah Fawcett blonde hair wore short skirts and 4 inch heels.  When I walked to court one day, I heard someone say “She isn’t that smart.”

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After awhile, I convinced myself I should dye my hair darker so I would be taken more seriously. To maximize my IQ, I went all the way and dyed it black. People instantly thought I was smart.

But it wasn’t me.

I thought “WWBD?” Would he change his life to conform to what other people think he should be? No.

So I dyed it back and I won plenty of cases being Legally Blonde.

It doesn’t matter what people think of you.
Be your own superhero

Because in the end, the most important thing to be in life is yourself.

Unless you can be Batman. Always be Batman.

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WHY FACTS DON’T MATTER

          When it comes to making an impression in a speech, one of the most important things to remember is that people don’t care about facts.

What? That can’t be right! You might be thinking.

Here’s an example: I recently heard a speech by a businessman who owns his own company. He told us about how he started it and detailed all the services it provided, giving us all the facts and figures. Did I care? No.

Why?

It was BORING.

          If you want to capture the attention of your audience, don’t put them to sleep with facts. Here are some tips on how to keep people interested and, most important, awake.

  1. PEOPLE RESONATE WITH STORIES, NOT FACTS

          Once upon a time…

          I am an invisible man…

          This is the saddest story I have ever heard…

These are considered some of the best opening lines of books. Why? Because they capture the imagination. People are wired to hear stories. It goes back to sitting around in the evening, before radio, TV, the Internet and Netflix, when entertainment was storytelling.

Use stories to tell your facts.

Compare this: “More than one in three women are married before the age of 15 worldwide.” to:

“Sonali Khatun was just 14 years old when her parents told her she would be getting married. She dropped out of school. Her wedding was arranged in just 14 days.
“She did not want to [get married], but we forced her, because in villages, when an adolescent girl is unmarried, people start to talk,” Matiura Bibi, Khatun’s mother, told the American Jewish World Service, an advocacy group. “After the marriage, we realized the boy was not nice. He was suspicious of Sonali. He started to control her and argue with her. I understood the marriage wouldn’t last.” Sonali got a divorce and faced being taunted by the girls of the village, but she is now an independent, successful working woman.”  Read more here:

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By telling facts through a story, it gives the audience someone or something to visualize and identify with. By using stories that include facts, your speech will resonate with the audience, causing it to be remembered.

  1. HOW A SPEECH MAKES YOU FEEL IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN FACTUAL CONTENT

Now that it’s election time, we see candidates who are distorting the truth for the purposes of furthering their campaigns.

Here are some examples:

Arab Americans cheered during the Sept. 11th attacks.” – Donald Trump (untrue)

Then United States is going to accept 250,000 Syrian refugees” – Carly Fiorina (untrue)

Hispanic and teen unemployment went up under President Obama.” – Ted Cruz (untrue)

The handling of secret emails through a private server was permitted” – Hillary Clinton (untrue)

          “Climate Change is directly related to the growth of terrorism” – Bernie Sanders (overstating)

Studies have shown that misinformation has lingering effects, even if a falsehood is quickly corrected. This is especially true if the “fact” ties in with a person’s beliefs and resonates with them.

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We’ve all seen items going around the Internet claiming to be “facts.” A famous one from 2014 was a woman who claimed to have three breasts. She circulated a photo claiming she’d had a 3rd breast implant in the center. In actuality, it was a prosthesis. However, this “fact” did lead to her recording a song and music video in Florida.

Why have the three-breasted woman and the not-candid candidates captured the imagination? The things being said aren’t true, but they evoked emotion. If you listener feels an emotional reaction, what’s being said will resonate more strongly with them.

  1. NOVELTY OR SURPRISE EXCITES THE BRAIN

          Let’s go back to politics. A master of media attention is Donald Trump. He says things that are outrageous and has been discourteous to other candidates during debates. What has this done? It’s put a lot of focus on him because the media likes sensational stories– and so do we.

When Darren LaCroix won the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking, he walked out on the stage– and fell down. He stayed down for a purposefully long time, making the audience uncomfortable.

This was a masterful move. An audience views new information from the “reptile” brain, the part that processes information through a prism of fear and boredom. They’re afraid of new ideas, but they want to have their imagination captured. What Darren LaCroix did was shocking and, thus, excited the audience. It got everyone’s attention.  

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          Think about your speech content and how to incorporate an unexpected moment into the presentation. It will keep your audience’s attention and make your presentation memorable.

         

 

THREE QUICK TIPS FOR TACKLING TOXIC PEOPLE

          Know-It-Alls, Bullies, Whiners, Gossips, Angry Aggressors, Passives…

          We’ve all come across toxic people, in both our work and personal lives. But what do you do when you’re stuck dealing with one for more than a prolonged encounter?

During a recent seminar I taught on how to read body language, an attendee had a question. It began with him describing how a co-worker sat with one hand behind his head and what that meant. This was easy to decipher. The guy was practically yelling “I’m superior to everyone!”

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But the attendee’s concern didn’t stop there. He wanted to know how to deal with this self-important co-worker, a guy who thought he knew everything, but didn’t. The man’s ignorance was impacting their projects negatively and he wasn’t sure how to approach the situation.

In many of the classes I’ve taught, no matter the subject, someone usually has a question about how to get around a person who has become the bane of their existence.

If you have someone plaguing your life, here are some thoughts on how to overcome the problem.

  1. Don’t Escalate the Situation

          Many times, toxic people can be neutralized without a fight. In the case of the arrogant and ignorant worker described above, I told the attendee to first try a non-confrontational approach. In Tai Chi, a Chinese martial art, a key principle is to yield to an oncoming attack by redirecting the incoming energy rather than meeting it with an opposing force.

Here, I suggested the attendee/manager try letting his subordinate save face by saying “I’m sure you already know this, but…” and filling the guy in on his missing knowledge. Hopefully, by phrasing this in an agreeable way, the co-worker would finish his part of the project and feel kindly toward my attendee for helping him.

Often, people who are arrogant and angry are insecure, or they might have too much to handle in life. Try to look past the bluster and see if you can find a kind way to handle the problem before moving on to a more aggressive solution.

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  1. See If You’re Contributing to the Problem

          Many of the people who ask about how to neutralize a difficult person don’t want to. They’re not sure of themselves or don’t want to “cause problems” by saying anything. If this sounds like you, you have two choices: Act or Suffer in Silence.

There’s also a flip side of that, of course. When confronted, some people get angry and the situation becomes a shouting match or devolves into a physical confrontation.

Imagine you’re in a room with a number of colleagues and another co-worker approaches and begins to berate you loudly about the things you do wrong.  No matter if what’s being said is true or untrue, what do you do?

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          A good way to stop someone from continuing their diatribe is to remove them from the vicinity.  First, ask them to step outside the room. This takes the person away from their audience and has them comply with something you’ve asked, changing the “power” structure.  If it seems like they won’t go, you can gesture to the door and walk away. They will probably follow. Once outside the room, step closer to them, within 6-8 inches of their face, and hold eye contact. This move invades their personal space, showing by body language that you aren’t afraid. Keeping your voice quiet and calm, tell them you’ll be glad to discuss any issue they might have with you, but in a more private and civilized way.

This maneuver usually stops and de-escalates the situation. If it doesn’t, go with the next tactic.

  1. Don’t Engage the Devil

Although it’s tempting to argue or defend yourself, sometimes it’s best to walk away. Do a calm assessment of the situation. If you come to the conclusion that nothing you say will change the other person’s attitude, leave.

You might want to have it out, but if it doesn’t change anything, wasting your breath and time will have the same effect as saying the same things to a wall. Don’t bother. You can’t always control another person’s actions, but you can control your reactions.

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How to Detect a Liar

Let’s face it, everyone lies.

Lies can run the spectrum from trying not to hurt someone’s feelings to toxic manipulation in work, life or love.

Can you tell when someone is lying?

Fortunately, with a little practice, liars can become easy to spot. These simple tips will help you not be deceived.

Listen To What Is Being Said

“Timmy, did you eat one of the cookies without asking?” a mom questions her six year old.

“No, Mommy. I did not eat one of the cookies without asking.”

If you know what to look for, Timmy’s words tell you he’s guilty.

Think about a time you’ve been falsely accused. You probably got pretty heated in your defense. If Timmy were innocent, his words might have been “No, Mommy! I didn’t!”

Instead, Timmy repeats his mother’s words verbatim and in an almost robotic way. The next time you hear this type of response, you’ll know you’ve got a guilty party on your hands.

Another way people tip off they’re lying is when they change mid-story from using the pronoun “I” to something else. When people talk, they want the spotlight on them, but if their actions are called into question, they want a metaphorical crowd to share responsibility.

Here’s an example:

I got that project completed by coming in early today.”

“Did you add in the stats that the manager asked for?”

“Well, we planned on it.”

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Watch For Added or Deleted Facts

Let’s take a simple question to a significant other, “How was the gym?”

If there isn’t deception, he or she might answer, “I had a great workout. I got really pumped.”

What if they’re feeling guilty about something, maybe having a flirtatious conversation with a hot fitness instructor?

Their answer could change into a lengthy description of the crowds, the equipment, and the lack of towels in the locker rooms or forgetting their water bottle. Why all the unnecessary details? They want to divert the listener from what they perceive as a potential problem by adding facts.

Next, imagine conversing with someone about their day. They talk in detail about things that happened, like what they did at work in the morning or what they ate for lunch. That afternoon, unbeknownst to you, they got into a car accident on their way to the store and fled the scene.

Here’s the conversation:

“How was your lunch?”

“Great! I had some pizza with Lisa at this great little Italian place downtown.”

“What did you do after that?”

“Not much.”

The speaker has gone from detailed and natural to closed.

They might also use passion in their words where it’s unexpected. For example, “I drove to the store” might be injected with more passion than is warranted for the words and seem out of place.

In both of these situations, it’s likely that the speaker isn’t telling the truth or is hiding something. In order to catch them out, keep asking specific questions and see if you get direct and appropriate answers.

Watch Body Language

In addition to listening carefully, you can tell someone’s lying by their body language. Using these two skills together increase your chances of not being fooled.

  • People who lie put up barriers. Maybe it’s a hand, fingers or raised water bottle placed over the mouth, folded arms, crossed legs or getting up and going behind a desk, table or other object mid-conversation.
  • They fidget. They play with their clothing, touch their nose, tap their fingers, twitch their legs or move their feet.
  • They drop eye contact, signifying shame or that they’re hiding something.
  • Their gestures change. People normally gesture straight ahead and up in front of their bodies. Their gestures might move to the side, like they’re shoving something away when trying to deflect guilt.
  • Their facial movements don’t match their words. Think about at time someone gave you a gift you didn’t like. You said “I love it!” and then you smiled. If you had truly loved it, your smile would have coincided with your words.
  • Sometimes when people lie, they lock down their facial gestures or have tight lips.

A Few Final Tips

Think about a skilled interviewer, like Barbara Walters. She’s able to elicit information by building a rapport with her guest before going in for the hard questions. When she is going to ask a more difficult question, she moves her body forward, getting closer to her subject so they have confidence that they can share openly with her.

If you want to uncover the truth, first establish rapport. Then use a series of clear questions that elicit a narrative response, rather than a simple yes or no. If you suspect that some of the answers aren’t true, ask more questions.

Keep your body in a power position, with your shoulders squared and maintain good eye contact. Watch for verbal signs, especially unnecessary facts. See if the person becomes more or less talkative or diverts away from the topic.

Watch for body language changes such as blocking, fidgeting or facial expressions that don’t match the words being used.

A fun way to practice your skills is to watch people being interviewed. Check for all the things we’ve discussed and see what you can spot. Soon you’ll be a human lie detector and it will be of great use in your personal and professional relationships. Happy Hunting!

5 Reasons Leaders Crash and Burn

Can you recall when a supervisor/manager/CEO in charge of a business, committee or project caused everything to derail?

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Why does this happen?

  1. They Aren’t Natural Born Leaders

Leadership comes pre-loaded in some people. They’re the ones everyone turns to when a decision needs to be made. They step in and say “Here’s what we should do…” in a crisis. Of course, they can always be better leaders by learning more about how to be effective, but it’s in their DNA. If they don’t recognize they are natural born leaders, they might walk through life wondering “Why does everyone always want me to be in charge?” It’s simply been a fact of life for them.

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For those who have had leadership bestowed upon them and don’t have a clue how to be a leader, it’s different. They have to learn how to do it. Many times, unfortunately, they don’t.

  1. They Want to Star in their Own Show

Some people who are given leadership roles merely want what comes with it: the corner office, the view, minions…

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Their thoughts aren’t about what’s best for all; it’s about what’s best for them. Instead of doing work, they want to brag about their position and think about more important things, like their next vacation. They guard their position and never tell anyone what they’re thinking or why they’re doing what they’re doing. The words consensus, cooperation and connection remain in their dictionary under C and are not real life concepts for them.

More traits of self-interested leaders are bad tempers, anger, ingratitude, harassing employees, demeaning subordinates and more. It’s like working for a toddler no one has ever told NO.

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  1. They Have Poor Communication Skills

Bad leaders don’t know how to communicate. Perhaps no one ever taught them or pointed out there was a problem, but many don’t care enough to think about it. Maybe they don’t collaborate with their staff because they think that they (and perhaps a few cronies) know better. Maybe they’re wedded to the status quo, scared of opposite opinions or are afraid of change.

Imagine there’s a decision that needs to be made that affects the entire company. An inadequate leader will make a unilateral decision then send out a memo stating there’s been a change with little or no explanation about the thought process or reasons behind it. If the leader had taken the time to consult the staff, maybe they’d learn that this change didn’t need to be implemented or there was a better way.

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 Instead, those learning of the decision will raise their eyebrows, do some head-scratching or perhaps have a nuclear meltdown with shouts of “Why? echoing through the corridors.

  1. They Don’t Want to Do the Work to Inspire and Connect

Inspiring and connecting with people takes time and energy. Sitting in an office, tapping on a computer sending out emails about policy or what needs to be done is ineffective. A good leader will get up and go out to talk to people– and not just about business.

I had a good friend in hospice care at a convalescent home. I went to see him every day and got to know the nursing staff, the cafeteria workers and receptionists. I’d stop and ask how their day was, chat briefly about their vacation plans or other things. It never took much time. After awhile, people told me they wished I ran the place. Do I know anything about nursing homes? No. What these people wanted was someone who would listen and connect.

Their manager stayed in the office and never came out.

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Sub-standard leaders don’t work on themselves or their relationships with others, then wonder why things aren’t going well.

  1. They Don’t Stay Focused on the Goal

When working to attain a goal, knowing what needs to be achieved and moving towards it sounds simple. To an ineffective leader, distractions, internal squabbling, indecision and more can keep a project from getting done. Because of all of the previous reasons listed above, they can’t get a group to work together and get things done.

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In order to be a good leader, it takes good communication, consensus, connection and leading by example. A leader inspires others to do what needs to be done then stands back and gives them credit when the goal is achieved.

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Be A Better Leader 

If you’ve recognized something you’ve done wrong in this blog post, congratulations! You can now make changes and learn to be better as a leader. Learning is a constant process and everyone makes mistakes. It’s a new day– get out there and lead!

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