--Maurice, Robin, & Barry Gibb, The Bee Gees: “Words”
Listen to the Lyrics
Do you want to know a way to check the depth of how someone is relating to you at a given moment? Just listen and check out their language. You’ll be fascinated at how revealing it will be. Here’s what I mean:
- When people operate at a surface level, they often share catch-phrases or clichés: “Well, the new design isn’t moving along too fast. But hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day. I’ll hang in and hunker down; it’s all about ‘getting more efficient and effective’.”
- Move a step deeper and folks will offer some facts: “I want to improve the quality by 10%.” “Jessica said she’ll give us three people from her team when the software project gets approval.”
- More intimate: You’ll notice that you hear people offer personal judgments, opinions, and thoughts: “I’ve been watching your progress and I think you could use some help with the engineering. We’ve been getting some comments from the design folks who are concerned about the execution. Let’s see if we can get to the heart of this and make sure you get the results you want.” “If the new talent development program isn’t in full swing by November, I believe we’re going to lose some people to our main competitor. They’re hiring.”
- Most intimate: Listen for people to actually express how they feel. “I’m fed up with trying to launch this program. It’s been a drain on me since I’m not getting the financial support we need. I’m even sorry that I took it on. Even my friends tell me my demeanor has changed. I need some help about what to do next.”
One more thought. You’ll be able to tell, over time, when others view their relationship with you more deeply. They’ll start using first-person pronouns more frequently: I, You, We, Us.
What cues have you become conscious of over the years?
photo attribution: Picture Sleeve and Album Art Museum
What kinds of other cues do people send at work and what is "acceptable?"