Sunday, 6 December 2009

It’s all about you-

There’s a word for it. It’s called ‘a tell’.  It’s when a speaker ‘tells’ the audience about something without saying anything. There are congruent tells, where the subtle message reinforces the real one, like smiling sincerely and saying 'I'm really happy to be here'; and such congruence makes for a powerful message. Then there’s the incongruent tell which (you won’t be surprised to hear) does the opposite and makes for some exquisitely awful moments.

I think that they’re funny actually because, like that old saying that no matter how hard you try to convince someone of something, the harder you try, the more they think the opposite (eeeeek).

For me there’s a number of phrases that are more often than not, a sign of an incongruent ‘tell’. Here they are-

1. This is all about you.... Often as the speaker points to himself like Simon Cowell, meaning it's always' all about me...

2. I have your best interests at heart... Accompanied by a psychotic smile and glacial eye contact- start looking for the door.  Ruuuun!

3. Trust me... - Obvious question- Why would anyone ask that of anyone else?

4. Maybe I’m a terrible person but... Translation- Obviously they are, just agree and walk away.

5. My primary concern is about making this right for you... Request- Well stop stabbing me in the back then

6. Our most important asset is our people... Translation- And we're selling as many of them as we can because we can't melt them down for candles.

Why would a speaker say any of these things unless he was nervous about displaying the truth? Watch out for these phrases and see if you think the person really means what they’re saying or is simply saying something that she thinks we want to hear.  Tells are always telling.

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