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Tuesday, 06 May 2014 18:00

Look Up

This video caught my attention because it is sending a message about the importance of our most basic form of communication; face-to-face. Our richest source of information about others comes from 5 channels, face, body language, voice, verbal style and verbal content.  

Look Up starts with a poignant few words "I have 422 friends, yet I am lonely." In a nutshell the 5 minute video is summarized - yet it conitnues for another 4:55 making its case for why we need to look up and prioritize human, face-to-face interaction. 

At 0:09 as Gary Turk, writter and performer in the video says "none of them really know me" watch the facial expression that follows. Interesting timing for the unilateral smirk (universal signal for contempt). As we know with facial expressions of emotion, we can tell what a person is feeling but we do not necessarily know why. Context helps to fill that gap and narrow down the hypotheses for behavioral clues. This is why probing into the why is just as important as observing and noticing sublte cues such as micro and macroexpressions that people give off. 

 

Published in Articles
Thursday, 20 February 2014 16:25

The End of Daze

Fine-Tuning Your Perception Skills

Self-defense experts urge their clients to be in "Condition Yellow" when engaged in their daily routine, particularly when alone. It's a level of awareness that prevents them from being surprised by a sudden attack. First introduced by Jeff Cooper, a former US Marine, pistol expert and writer; these conditions (white, yellow, orange, red) describe our degree of attentiveness to our surroundings and the people within them.

In condition white, you are unaware, inattentive or downright oblivious. You are shocked when something happens, "I did not see that coming." Cooper and other protective experts talk about remaining in Condition Yellow to prevent an attack in the first place, to seem less vulnerable to a potential predator. Leave Condition White for poolside in the Caribbean.

Conditions Orange and Red refer to the imminent attack and the actual fight, but the bulk of the instruction tends to be about being in a state of readiness - of being switched on so you're not walking around in a fog.

Conditioned Success

Can this level of attentiveness serve us in situations that don't involve physical danger? Can it help us navigate complicated contract talks or merger strategies? Can these skills switch on the high-beams when we're in unknown territory?

By learning how to be more attentive to emotional states of family members, co-workers and counterparts in business relationships, we can head off potential missteps. We can begin to understand why something doesn't feel right and act appropriately. We often dismiss our own emotional reactions to conversations precisely because we are trained to be detached in business. We mistakenly believe emotions cloud our judgment, when in fact, they clarify it. Rather than spotting behavioral nuances we ignore them. By missing important cues we are caught off-guard and later we just don't understand how we didn't see it coming.

Here's the trick. First you must learn what to pay attention to. You must raise your level of emotional awareness. Emotions are at the heart of every deed and every interaction, whether carried out openly or deceitfully. Emotional Competency is an understanding of how emotions drive human behavior so we can see them more clearly as we communicate, negotiate and mediate all manner of human interface.

Knowing how to recognize the underlying emotions gives you something on which to focus, so you're not just hearing words, but 'getting' the truth of any situation. Increasing our awareness of emotions moves us out of Condition White and into the Yellow, where we are alert, aware, in control and focused.

Emotional Intelligence is often written about as being innate, the 'je ne sais quoi' that successful people possess in natural abundance. But Emotional Competency is a skill-set, proven thru decades of scientific and clinical research. A golf instructor can spot a subtle shift in your hips. A music teacher can hear a mistake in what seems to the rest of us a flawless performance. Good or bad, they know what to look for. You can be emotionally competent. You can spot deceit. You can learn to recognize how someone truly feels - but first you must learn what to look for.

Published in Articles

   An interview with Mike Palestina on Rider University's "The Bronc."

  In an effort to give back each month Mike volunteers his knowledge of career planning and his coaching services to professionals   who find themselves in transition due to the current economic conditions.  His focus is on building an executable job search strategy that includes practical tips on effective networking, interviewing and negotiation. Mike is regularly invited to speak on these topics across New Jersey at Department of Labor and Professional Services Group events. 

 "I believe that emotional awareness of ourselves and others and effectively managing those emotions are essential skills required for successful leadership. My position is supported by research conducted by Harvard University, Carnegie Institute of Technology and many others.

The Harvard study concluded that EQ is twice as important as IQ and functional expertise in career success. The Carnegie Institute of Technology study shows that 85 percent of your financial success is due to skills in “human engineering,” your personality and ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead. 

Over the last 10+ years I have used emotional awareness and verbal and non-verbal communications to enhance my one-on-one executive coaching and team coaching services."

 

Listen to Mike discuss the most vital leadership skill...emotional awareness and competencies.

Nov. 10, 2013  http://www.1077thebronc.com/?page_id=356

 

 

Published in Articles
Thursday, 09 January 2014 17:05

Emotional Clarity

In his memoir, "A Drinking Life", Pete Hamill said drinking takes away two of a writer's most valuable tools, clarity and memory.

Clarity is energizing. Clarity is illuminating. Without it your path forward is uncertain, murky and frustrating. Your goals are fuzzy and your optimism almost non-existent. The master motivator Tony Robbins says, "In order to have an extraordinary life you must have an extraordinary psychology." That state requires clarity of purpose. "Clarity is power," Tony declares.

Emotional clarity is a double-bladed plough that cuts through the muck of communication and clears a path for mutual understanding. But like any tool it must be used properly. You must understand its utility and use it intelligently to achieve optimum results. In short; you gotta read the directions.

In a thesis written for Ohio State University in 2007, Samantha Mowrer states that emotional clarity is associated with positive and affective well-being, "...faster rebound from an induced negative mood, adaptive coping styles and affirming attributions for the occurrence of positive events." On the flip side, Mowrer reminds us that poor emotional clarity is negatively related to, "ambivalence over emotional expression, depression, neuroticism, social anxiety and distress" among other downward expressions that leave us vulnerable to skepticism and cynicism.

Ambivalence is demoralizing. Apathy is death to a relationship. Nothing hurts more than when the other person simply doesn't care any longer. Much of what drives work and personal relationships to the brink of disaster is uncertainty - about true feelings, needs, goals and fears. Negative attributes can be upended toward a positive bias with emotional clarity. It's the ability to project a clear message, grounded in mindfulness, attentiveness, compassion and truth. It's knowing 'what' so you can know 'how'.

Like any useful tool, it takes time, effort and purposeful practice to attain a level of expertise. It begins by asking two simple questions: What are emotions? How are they expressed?

In order to self-regulate emotions we have to be aware of what they are. In order to empathize with others we need to recognize how emotions are integral to the manner and meaning of their efforts to communicate. In order to cope, adapt, support, affirm, understand and focus, we must pay attention, not just to words but to totality of expression.

Here's a quick example. One of your engineers has been working on a project that has the potential to double the top line growth of your company. On paper his ideas are sound, innovative and well-constructed. You direct him to present his ideas to a critical client in the presence of the CEO but you are unaware he has an abject fear of public speaking.

The engineer fails miserably. His brain seizes. His ideas are stilted, he cannot answer questions about his design, he seems unsure at best if his ideas have any merit. The whole event is a crushing.

What happens next? Your judgment is seen as faulty. Your ability to spot good ideas and groom talent are brought into question. You wonder aloud if the engineer even developed the idea on his own. You question his integrity. You begin to doubt your own abilities.

Two things went wrong here: the engineer failed to properly communicate his fears and you failed to spot his emotional reaction to your directive to present his concept. Had there been greater understanding and empathy, you would have made the presentation yourself, with your engineer on hand to answer questions. His lack of fear would have kept his mind relaxed and focused on the facts. The presentation would have had a different outcome. So what's the lesson?

Once you understand what emotions are and how they have an impact on your own behavior, you become better at seeing and understanding both the prevalence and relevance of emotions in the behavior of others, how emotions affect relationships, stability, communication and trust. Clarity of emotions is paramount to successful communication. Clarity is exciting. It empowers your way forward.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Published in Articles

 

  In August of 2013 People Intell had the privilege to speak  at the Enterprise Learning! Conference and Expo held   in  Anaheim, CA.  Our session was entitled "Lie To Me: The  Science of Emotional Skills and Deception." We      are  happy to share with you our article that is featured in the  December issue of Elearning! Magazine. 

  

 

 

The Benefits of Truth within Leadership

The stakes are high. The truth is critical. What can you do to uncover it?

This denouement can play out across the spectrum of personal and professional human interactions. Just reading   the words can trigger anxiety as you replay a time in your life when something mattered, when verity determined   the difference between the winners and the also-rans.

Leaving aside the existential question of what truth is; we think we know it when it is before us in our everyday lives and we think we know when it's imperfect.

Truth is predicated on emotion. How does she really feel? What is his agenda? Is he listening to me? What is going on here that doesn't feel right? Why do they seem upset and where do we go from here? Why don't my employees communicate with me? How do I determine the truth?

The first step in finding the truth is to understand that emotions, those we reveal and those we try to suppress, are the drivers behind the behavioral and physiological manifestations that in some cases set off our internal alarms alerting us that something is amiss. We can learn to identify and interpret these cues more consistently and reliably to help us evaluate truthfulness.

The more you consider the possible applications for this skill, the more broadly you can relate its uses. To name just a few; imagine yourself managing a difficult team, hiring for a critical position, conducting an internal investigation, choosing a financial advisor, dealing with a complicated family matter, meeting new clients, or assessing the reaction of a focus group to new products.

This article is not about lying in a toxic sense but about the benefits of uncovering the truth of a situation. It's about personal or professional relationships and our ability to engage friends, employers, staff and counterparts honestly, perceptively and effectively. A person may have misgivings about absolute truthfulness for benign reasons. They may elect to mask their true feelings out of a sense of decorum, social norms, an unwillingness to hurt another's feeling, or as guided by context. The concept of dishonesty isn't always about trickery or malice.

The ability to discern the truth in a given situation has obvious advantages, but as a leadership trait, can be invaluable. A leader has the ability to recognize and manage not just his or her own emotions but also those of coworkers, competitors and employees. Executives with leadership presence have been shown to have high emotional intelligence or EQ, as outlined by Daniel Goleman in the Harvard Business Review.

How are emotions tied to deception and why are these concepts so inexorably linked? The full answer extends beyond the limits of this article but in short emotions tell us what matters, and the aforementioned is communicated in the form of expressions on our faces sometimes willingly and other times unwillingly with the world around us. Whether it is expressed openly, implied or repressed such as in the form of micro facial expressions, the cues are almost always there in front of us. Sensing it, recognizing it and functioning within the emotional underpinnings of it are crucial leadership skills. So how can we acquire or improve upon this ability?

We can learn the science of detecting the truth. Emanating from over 40 years of scientific research paired with real life application has illuminated that 5 channels of communication through which people express thoughts and feelings are key in detecting truth and assessing credibility. Underlying the 5 channels (face, body, voice, verbal style and words) is each individual’s baseline. In the context of deception, establishing a baseline is paramount. The baseline is how someone acts, reacts, speaks, gestures and generally interacts with others when they are in a relaxed state, unencumbered by a need to be deceitful about anything, irrespective of motivation. It's how they smile, stand, animate their faces, express ideas or move their hands when they speak. The trained observer, the leader, will be the one who recognizes what's swimming in the undercurrent. The person who understands how emotions instigate actions will bring the truth to the surface. It's why engaging coworkers is so critical to the success of your company.

  How can you acquire what some have called "the leadership skill of the 21st century" and why is  it so important to understand the    science of deception?

 "The ability to accurately detect deceit is real," says Paul Ekman, PhD, UCSF professor of  psychiatry and principal investigator of a    study published in Psychological Science in 1999.  Ekman, who has been a leader in this field for decades, was able to demonstrate  the role  emotions play in deception. They are as inseparable as the water and the wet.

  We can improve our odds by developing an understanding of the underlying emotions that  precipitate deceptive behavior. The point   is not to know the motivation for the deceit, but to  know that it exists and to divine the truth which is often folded into emotion.   The real goal is not to  catch someone in a lie, but to elicit the truth about the situation in an engaging, intuitive, non-confrontational  manner that serves    the interests of all concerned.

  Most importantly, emotional competencies will help managers bring employees back in to the  fold, to make them feel a bigger part    of the overall success of the mission. Harvard Business  Review recently published findings from a Gallup survey that revealed up to  70% of workers are  not engaged, meaning they simply don't care or are downright hostile towards employers. Although there are a  host of reasons for this attitude, poor emotional intelligence by managers, directors and c-suite leaders prevents them from engaging    employees positively, as part of the culture, rather than negatively, as in the dreaded performance review.

 Wouldn't it be more efficient to avoid problems in the first place? Wouldn't employees who believe what they do matters be more  likely to give a little extra, alert management to problems, interact with staff in a more honest way? Answer this simple question.  Which mindset produces better results, a disengaged workforce or one that is self-determined, informed, worthy and relevant in the  process?

 Improving proficiency in two areas will propel you to a level beyond simply having people skills: emotional competence and detecting  deception. With the right training, you can be the one person in the room who can navigate the ebb and flow of emotions, the one  who can spot a flash of contempt, happiness, fear, anger, cynicism, sadness or other 'tells' that what someone is feeling is not what they are telling you. By learning to recognize the hidden emotions that leak out through non-verbal cues and micro-facial expressions, you can draw the honesty out of nearly any situation.

Published in Articles

What People Are Saying...

  • "This course has helped train my eye and my mind to see more emotions in others, and as a result, have more successful interactions with others when they are emotional.  I am more likely to notice things earlier, before escalation, when the potential to make better choices is stronger."

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  • "As a sport's coach, I am really grateful to all the trainers for providing me knowledge and competencies for my work. As a person, it was not just a pleasure, but a rich experience that helped me to know more about human emotions and also about mine. With this course I have been able to create tools that can help my players in a sportive and a personal way."

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  • "Maggie and Mike created a good safe zone for sharing and learning. Some of the content was highly sensitive and personal, but was comfortable and inspiring and informative because of the presenters’ level of expertise, guidance and insights."

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  • "Maggie and Mike were excellent at engaging. It’s material that I’ve been exposed to before, but never in a comprehensive manner. It has increased my awareness of how my emotional state and it’s physical manifestations affect my colleagues."

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