Did anyone notice how uncomfortable Anne Hathaway looked while hosting the Academy Awards? Maybe it was nerves, or maybe it’s because her co-host was wooden. But whether she was anxious or not, her body language did little to help. If there was an Oscar for using T-Rex arms, she would have won the hardware. Take a look at her performance:
See how her lower arms, wrists and hands are often caught between her waist and shoulders? This is colorfully called T-Rex arms. Uncomfortable or novice presenters share these traits: A) they don’t know what to do with their hands, and B) they want to hide behind something for security. This results in T-Rex arms, when the arms and hands are used, or sort-of played with, in front of the torso in a manner that does not pertain to the presentation.
Anne clearly doesn’t know what to do with her hands. And when she does have a germane gesture, she goes way overboard–another sign of discomfort. Watch at 00:46, when she proclaims that it’s “Hollywood’s Biggest Night!” It looks like her arms finally release all the potential energy she built fiddling around her waist. Could you imagine Meryl Streep doing that with her arms? No. Not just because she’s more mature and reserved, but because she’s more comfortable and confident. T-Rex arms are a clear differentiator between confident and nervous presenters. Continue reading
I like some people right away. Others take a while, though I may end up liking them more in the end. Why is that? And how do others react to me when we first meet? I did a little research on how to get people to like you, and here are ten of the top tips, in no particular order:
1. Give sincere compliments and thanks. Everyone knows a suck-up, but it’s pretty easy to give honest compliments even if you’ve just met someone. Clothing and accessories are a sure bet. “Hey–that’s a great bag.” Personal traits or characteristics work, too. “I admire the team you’ve built. They work together so well.” “Thanks for introducing yourself. I appreciate that you went out of your way.”
2. Ask lots of questions. Most people love to talk about themselves. It’s their favorite topic. And one of the first lessons in sales is that the person asking the questions is the one in control of the conversation. Asking questions to get to know someone you just met is a sign that you’re interested in them, and we’re all more apt to like people who take a shine to us, right? Continue reading
I mentioned in my post yesterday that the most common failing I’ve seen in both junior and senior consultants is hubris. Arrogance. I received three follow-up questions, all asking me “How do you know if someone’s arrogant?” The boring truth is that I know it when I see it–we all do. Though failing that, I do have a method to employ if I get a hint that the candidate may be over-confident. Because during a 60 minute interview (or two), it’s easy for candidates to mask a trait or tendency, sometimes you need to coax it out.
Fortunately, most arrogant people don’t see their swagger as a failing. In their minds they replace Arrogance (bad) with Confidence (good). Yet I see it this way:
I have two friends, Jason Smiles and Frank Assured, who are both great guys worth knowing. When it comes to building social relationships, they have contrasting styles. Whether they think about it or not, they attract people in different ways–both men and women. I’d say they break down about like this:
Sometimes I walk into a coffee shop and can tell that, out of the 15 people in the room, one or two of them are on interviews. It’s not just the way they’re dressed, but the way they hold themselves. The same is true when I’m at a restaurant on the weekends. It seems easy to pick out couples who only recently met. Everyone’s on their best behavior for dates one through five, right? And they may not be as comfortable or relaxed.
What do first interviews and first dates have in common? (Lots, now that I think of it. Maybe I’ll wax on that another time.) Most people get nervous. It’s hard to relax. Everyone says “just be yourself” but it’s so hard to follow that advice. You can see who’s on an interview or a date because they sit up straight, they make constant eye contact, they’re dressed well, they don’t interrupt, and the conversation is more like taking turns than a shared dialogue. I don’t think these traits aren’t necessarily negative, although they’re common for people who are nervous about the outcome of the meeting. When we’re nervous, we pay strict attention to our mannerisms and often force behavior that wouldn’t come when we’re in our natural element. That is, we’re not acting like ourselves.