Friday, June 22, 2012

How are people reading YOU?

The audience had a good laugh about how we can come across to people when I spoke at the Lake Washington Human Resource Association meeting last week. The topic was "Impression Management: Influencing Others" and I talked about the importance of getting feedback from mentors, managers, coworkers, family and good friends about our facial expressions and body language. I shared with them that I'm a frowning thinker and saw many nodding and laughing. We know who we are: people often ask us if we're OK! Told them I try to remember to lift my eyebrows while I'm listening. Of course, this may give me the look of a surprised listener, but that's better than a mad listener.

Then I shared with them an experience I had as a first year teacher. One of the boys was acting up a bit, so I was just looking at him. He raised his hands in front of his face and said, "Please, please stop looking at me like that; I'll do anything. A few weeks later I was visiting my parents and shared this story with my Mother. She said, "Oh honey. You were very intimidating as a baby." As a baby! That's enough to keep me asking for feedback─although perhaps not from Mom...

Just look at the woman in this photo. We rarely know the things we do that may cause people to interpret what they see completely differently than we intend. What about you?