“What people say and do in the most innocent situations . . .
… can speak volumes about their real selves.”
This is part of a quote from the landmark book first published in 1986, by lawyer, sports agent and writer, Mark McCormack – What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School: Notes from a Street-smart Executive
Here’s the full excerpt from which the quote is taken, under the title Reading People.
In the excerpt McCormack mentions the phoniness of former U.S. president Richard Nixon. He met Nixon on two occasions.
On both occasions, McCormack recalls . . .
“Nixon’s remarks were pleasant enough. What stayed with me was that on both occasions he used the same words. the exact same five or six sentences.
It was as though he were talking to stick figures rather than to real people,
as though he had a fund of stock phrases for every type of person he was likely to meet – five or six sentences for a sports personality, a paragraph for a business leader, another for a religious figure.”
I bring this up to underscore McCormack’s sage advice in relation to how you interact with people on a daily basis, and for the reading of other people.
Own the Conversation
Over the next seven days:
Regarding yourself, and echoing McCormack (and acknowledging there are different tones that are appropriate for internal/external, senior/junior interactions etc.) reflect on this question.
‘Am I acting one way with direct reports, another way with my boss, and another way with people outside my organisation?’ If you sense you are, consider how could you be more of your real self with everyone.
Regarding other people consider your various interactions and reflect on a few of them. Consider whether there was harmony between the person’s facial expressions, body language, voice and words. After the interaction/encounter, pay attention to your feeling tone about the person, and whether that feeling tone matched the consonance of the other communication modes.