Recently, I’ve been interviewed on news talk shows regarding the nonverbals of witnesses in a high-profile court case. As I was watching the videos, I realized that the nonverbals displayed in the courtroom were the very same ones you might see in business meetings – whether in person or on Zoom.
Imagine you’re in the conference room for a status meeting and one of your team members reports that their project is going great. However, they shrug their shoulders as they say this. That’s a “red flag.” A high confidence statement “it’s going great” should never be paired with a low confidence body shrug. When you see a disconnect between what’s said and what’s shown, always believe what is shown. People can easily manipulate their words, but the nonverbal shoulder shrug is a sure sign there is an issue that needs to be explored further. In the courtroom, opposing council will ask more questions. In the conference room, you’d be well served to follow up to uncover any problems before it’s too late. In my consulting practice, I’ve seen instances where catching this disconnect has been the difference between success and failure.
You can see more examples of important nonverbal signals like the shoulder shrug as well as recommended follow-up questions you should ask to gain insights in my new book Read The Zoom.