There is a message in the way a person treats you. Just listen…
Over the course of a lifetime, we are treated in countless ways by countless numbers of people. We experience the full range of experiences through a spectrum of encounters, relationships, opportunities and circumstances.
One thing seems to remain a constant. If you look past anything that is being said, and instead look to their action, non verbal body language, approach, tone of voice, expression, attitude and overall presence, you are more readily able to see the essence of how that person views you, beyond any statement that comes out of their mouth.
People communicate lessons, reprobations, irritations, hopes, expectations, disappointments, anger, frustration, desire, interest, platitudes, compliments, inquiries, requests, offers, suggestions, criticisms and so much more.
Sorting through this maze of verbal expression, we find the physical expressions, and overall approach to communicate far more revealing than the words that are being shared at that moment.
Have you ever walked into a room and known just from the look on someone’s face that this is not going to be a pretty discussion? You can just sense that something unpleasant is about to be shared.
In contrast, there are those moments when someone is bouncing around you like an excited puppy, dying to share something of magnitude.
Contrast those two sets of body language. One makes your skin crawl, just waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop, whereas the other makes you feel special that someone is so excited to communicate with you.
Sometimes people are complimentary, and you feel warm and other times they are flattering you, and you sense how completely disingenuous they are and it feels like a charade.
There is the stern lecture that is determined to right a wrong (in the other person’s mind) and other times, there is a heartfelt apology that arrives out of someone reflecting on how they treated you previously and wishing to make amends.
The sociopath is an unusual beast. I have happened upon several of these monsters in the course of my life. They watch you very carefully and they offer you a slice of the dream that you are projecting, and once they have you hooked that they will provide the solution to your dream, they manipulate you through words and actions until they get what they really want.
Communication is a true art. It requires a person to be present in the communication. When we speak to someone who is only half listening, that action leaves us feeling less than validated and more prone to disengage because we sense they are not truly willing or capable of creating that meaningful connection that we crave.
True communication starts with respect for the other party. Whatever the nature of the dynamic between the two people, if there is not mutual respect, the communication will spiral quickly. Which waitress/waiter gets the better tip… the one who ignored you and made you feel like just another thing that they had to get done, or the one who took the time to answer your questions, make suggestions and be genuinely warm and friendly?
I believe that all communication must start by making eye contact and keeping it connected (unless you are driving or walking side by side). Connected eye contact speaks the greatest volumes to me. I can tell by the way another is looking at me if there is the kind of interest I am seeking from them, regardless of the kind of professional or personal relationship that is being created.
There are hundreds of permutations on this topic that interest me, but I won’t bore you with them, today. I will say that if you really value the person with whom you are speaking, then it is critical to take the time to use your non verbal language to show this to be true. Look them in the eyes, uncross your arms or legs (defensive), smile (even if it is just a service discussion with zero emotion), be real in your dialogue, genuine in your approach and leave every person who encounters you with a sense of how real you truly are and how a moment with you feels like they made a connection of magnitude, even if it was just an inquiry as to what something would cost over the phone. Close even the smallest of conversations with something that lets the other party know that you appreciated their having taken the time to communicate with you.
These small gestures, when practiced over a lifetime, will drive you to new heights of stature, seen or unseen, known or anonymous.
We are herd animals. We want to be in the herd. And we seek acceptance. So radiate all of the proper qualities so as to achieve this… and if someone is not doing the same to you, then find a way to change that dynamic (if possible) or learn to see what your value is to that other party and move past them to greener pastures if converting that dynamic is just not going to come to fruition.
If they are not treating you as you wish to be treated, it just doesn’t matter what they say. Stay real. Stay present. Be genuine. Always!