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How To Decipher Winter Nonverbals

How To Decipher Winter Nonverbals

For most of us, this winter has been exceptionally cold. When I was skiing in Colorado earlier this month, there were days where the temps dropped to - 4º on the mountain. As you can see, I was dressed for it, but all those warm layers can create a communications...

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When Laughter Isn’t Funny

When Laughter Isn’t Funny

I was recently interviewed by journalist Lisa Kanarek on why some people laugh at inappropriate times. In business, that might be when someone is told that a coworker has been passed over for a promotion or laid off. The expected response would be empathetic sadness,...

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What’s Your Zoom Wave Look Like?

What’s Your Zoom Wave Look Like?

Think about the last virtual meeting you were on. Do you remember the nonverbal signal you saw – and probably showed – at the end of the meeting? The nonverbal gesture most participants show when meetings are over is so common, it’s been dubbed “The Zoom Wave.” Most...

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Confessions of a W.I.M.P.

Confessions of a W.I.M.P.

I admit it. I’m a W.I.M.P., but not the kind who is afraid of doing things. In my case, this is the euphemistic acronym for being a “What If” Master Planner. I’m in the habit of making contingency plans. Sometimes, it frustrates my family because I don’t ever pack...

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Are There Universal Nonverbals?

Are There Universal Nonverbals?

Dr. Paul Ekman published his research identifying seven universal facial expressions of emotions back in the 1970’s. About four months ago, researchers published a new study showing evidence of a universal nonverbal communication system that comes into play when we...

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The Flip Side of Emotional Intelligence

The Flip Side of Emotional Intelligence

When I’m consulting with companies to help resolve issues between managers and direct reports, or even between partners, each party usually starts with “the blame game.” As I talk with each individual privately, they find it easy to talk about what other person...

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Can You Believe What You See?

Can You Believe What You See?

I just returned from a national conference where I was shown an AI application that will make it hard to believe what you see. Imagine seeing a video of a guy speaking to you about his business. Nothing too shocking about that… except that it isn’t really a video of...

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Do You See a Conspiracy in the Background?

Do You See a Conspiracy in the Background?

It’s not unusual for people to look for information that confirms their preconceived notions or beliefs. Search engines feed that bias by serving up information that aligns with an individual’s online behavior patterns. Sometimes this leads to conspiracy theories,...

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Give Yourself a Break This Season

Give Yourself a Break This Season

Is your busy holiday schedule creating stress instead of joy? A new study suggests that learning to say “no” to some invitations can benefit your emotional wellbeing without putting your relationships at risk. American Psychological Association researchers conducted...

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How Top University Presidents Failed

How Top University Presidents Failed

The Congressional hearing with presidents of top universities was painful to watch. Rather than get into the politics, I’ll focus on how the presidents’ verbal and nonverbal communications triggered a strong backlash. Let’s start with the nonverbals: Did you...

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There is No Pinocchio Response

There is No Pinocchio Response

Turns out people are really good at telling lies…and really bad at detecting them. Studies show most people are only about 50% accurate in spotting a lie. That’s the same as a coin toss. After years of research on nonverbal communications and deception, University at...

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How Attitude Influences Brain Function

How Attitude Influences Brain Function

Can a positive outlook on life prevent dementia? According to new research, the answer is “No, but…” Scientists from Northwestern University and the University of California, Davis have found that individuals with a more optimistic outlook on life are less likely to...

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Can Children Learn from Robots?

Can Children Learn from Robots?

A few years ago, I met Richard Margolin, the founder of RoboKind. His company builds assistive robots and avatars to help teach children – especially those on the spectrum – how to interpret social cues. I was fascinated by his venture because of my work...

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Do Some Nations Smile More?

Do Some Nations Smile More?

When you travel abroad, have you noticed that people smile more in some countries than in others? One reason for this has nothing to do with whether people are feeling happy or not… According to an international study, immigration and diversity are major factors that...

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What’s Up With How Others Influence Us?

What’s Up With How Others Influence Us?

If you were on the street and suddenly everyone looked up to the sky, would you? The urge would be hard to resist because our brains are influenced by what others are doing. That’s the basis for what Dr. Robert Cialdini calls the Principle of Social Proof. A great...

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What’s The Chameleon Effect?

What’s The Chameleon Effect?

Have you ever noticed yourself adopting the gestures, expressions, or even speech patterns of your friends without consciously intending to do so? This is a fascinating aspect of human behavior tied closely to the psychological principle of liking. In research on...

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THE FLIP SIDE TO ZOOM

THE FLIP SIDE TO ZOOM

One criticism I consistently see regarding virtual meetings is that people feel they can’t read others as well on a screen. It’s true we miss feeling “the energy in the room” that we get in person, but as I illustrate in my book “Read The Zoom” you actually get a...

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What’s On Your Virtual Meeting Wishlist?

What’s On Your Virtual Meeting Wishlist?

Meta recently demonstrated their latest ambitious offering, in which codec scans will create detailed facial animations in real time for virtual avatars. This could have a significant impact on the way people do business, particularly in virtual meetings. The...

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WHAT BLINDS OUR DECISION-MAKING?

WHAT BLINDS OUR DECISION-MAKING?

“What were they thinking?” In hindsight, we tend to question why smart people put their trust and money behind leaders, like FTX crypto founder Sam Bankman-Fried. I anticipate his current trial will reveal that he used the same persuasive psychology strategies to...

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ANSWERING A QUESTION WITH A QUESTION SAYS A LOT

ANSWERING A QUESTION WITH A QUESTION SAYS A LOT

Think about a situation where someone answered a direct question with a question. That’s an avoidance nonverbal behavior. There are different motivations for it, but often answering a direct question with a question signals an issue. For example: “DID YOU TAKE THE...

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WHY YOU SHOULD TALK TO YOURSELF MORE.

WHY YOU SHOULD TALK TO YOURSELF MORE.

It’s no surprise that one of the most influential voices in your life is your own, but are you taking advantage of that? I’m not just talking about the little voice in your head. According to research, talking to yourself out loud can be a powerful tool to help you...

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IS IT HARDER TO READ PEOPLE IN VIRTUAL MEETINGS?

IS IT HARDER TO READ PEOPLE IN VIRTUAL MEETINGS?

Virtual meetings are not going away. While these are similar to meeting in person, there are differences… and one of the most important involves nonverbal communications. WHAT NONVERBALS ARE MISSING FROM VIRTUAL MEETINGS? In the forward to my book “Read The Zoom,” Joe...

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Can You Spot the Lie?

Can You Spot the Lie?

When I show audiences how to “read the room” by understanding subtle nonverbal cues, I’m often asked if there are specific signals that prove someone is lying. The answer may surprise you: At this point,  no one and no technology can definitively detect a lie 100% of...

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How to Thrive in a “Sink or Swim” Economy

How to Thrive in a “Sink or Swim” Economy

I should warn you, the inspiration for this blog came from those who live their whole lives in a “sink or swim” world: the fish in my 125-gallon aquarium. I didn’t ask for this aquarium, but it came with the purchase of our house… and now I’m glad it did. For one...

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What a Fly Can Teach You About Zoom

What a Fly Can Teach You About Zoom

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past couple of weeks, you’re aware of the impact one small fly had on the nationally televised U.S. Vice Presidential debate. I don’t want to focus on politics or the candidates, but I would like to share with you how this could help you have more influence when you participate in virtual meetings, whether on Zoom or other platforms.

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Does working together beat working alone?

Does working together beat working alone?

Does your company give employees the flexibility to work virtually from home? It’s a growing trend, which many employees like, but what is the impact on productivity? A number of studies have produced some unexpected results. In the next few weeks, I will be looking...

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Surprising Truth Behind Logical Decisions

Surprising Truth Behind Logical Decisions

The truth is that decisions are not based on logic. In their research, neuroscientists can actually see what areas of the brain light up first when people are asked to make decisions. While most of us want to believe we are using logical thinking – especially for...

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How monkey business became big business

How monkey business became big business

In case you missed it the first time, the “Monkey Selfie” photo is back in the news. A few years ago, a precocious 6-year-old Indonesian crested macaque monkey named Naruto stole a camera from a professional nature photographer, and took several photos, including a...

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Why talking to yourself isn’t crazy

Why talking to yourself isn’t crazy

Think about a time when you felt nervous about an important business presentation… Remember how fast your heart was beating before you began to speak. Maybe your throat felt dry as you were giving your presentation. Both are normal stress responses from your brain’s...

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Have you ever made a bad hiring decision?

Have you ever made a bad hiring decision?

The more hiring experience you’ve had, the more likely the answer is, “Yes.” You remember how impressed you were at the interview… then when the new hire gets on board, they under perform – or worse – they disrupt your workplace with bad behavior. What influenced you?...

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The Bias Nobody Talks About: The Beauty Bonus

The Bias Nobody Talks About: The Beauty Bonus

Are looks really important? In studies by both psychologists and economists, the answer keeps coming up “Yes!” University of Texas Economics Professor Daniel Hamermesh reviewed several studies over the years that showed attractive people – both men and women – have a...

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Go Ahead, Float Your Ideas Out There

Go Ahead, Float Your Ideas Out There

I was recently visiting the Chihuly Glass and Gardens in Seattle, and was surprised to learn that my favorite glass artist “lives the message” in my TED Talk. If you’ve ever seen his beautiful boats filled with glass floating on water, you may have wondered how Dale...

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What’s Stopping You?

What’s Stopping You?

It was a thrill to give my first Ted Talk at the TEDxPlano event in Texas! I will send out the video link in about a month when it posts to the TED site. In the meantime, here’s a brief overview… I’ll try not to spoil any of the surprises (of which there were many in...

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What’s worse than profanity in email?

What’s worse than profanity in email?

Before you bang out a quick email to a client, there’s something you should know about what thrills and what kills your image in email. People are making quick judgments about you based on things you may have never guessed were important. New research shows there are...

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What Separates Confidence and Arrogance?

What Separates Confidence and Arrogance?

Ever met someone in business who comes across as arrogant? My executive clients say if they sense a person is arrogant, it's an instant deal-killer. So, what's the distinction between arrogance and confidence? I heard business author Dr. Alan Weiss describe it this...

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When Mission Statements Miss the Mark

I was listening to National Public Radio recently. Lucy Kellaway, a columnist for the Financial Times was poking fun at management jargon. The topic of her witty ranting on this particular day was the company mission statement. You know what she’s talking about –...

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Business for Peace

This week, I spent time facilitating a marketing session with visiting women entrepreneurs from Rwanda and Afghanistan. The women I worked with are in the U.S. for a few weeks as part of the “Business for Peace” program. We tackled putting together marketing...

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Office Language

In my opinion, many offices do have a distinctive “Body Language.” After all, body language is primarily the visual expression of an inside feeling. With people, you can see it in the way they hold their arms, the position of their legs and, of course, the expressions...

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Negotiation by the Numbers

In a price negotiation, should you throw out the first number or not? If you think the answer is obvious, you may be in for a shock. Up until this week, I thought that negotiations experts agreed you should always let the other guys give the first offer. I remember...

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