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Eight Hacks to Read Body Language

Eight Hacks to Read Body Language

These are some of the hacks to understand body language. Mastering the art of reading body language can certainly help you get along with people more easily. However, the level of accuracy is debatable since each human has his or her unique way of acting and reacting. While relying entirely on body language is not recommended, having some cues does no harm. Knowing these makes you proactive when communicating with any stranger or the new person you meet from next door.

How about being able to actually read and decode people’s gestures? It would be fun and useful, right? Here are eight hacks to figuratively read what is written between the lines.

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  1. Closed arms and legs: Keeping arms and legs closed signify that you are not open to new ideas. It signifies that you are a closed person mentally and physically. In order to refrain from sending such signals, make sure to keep your hands open as well. Keeping your legs crossed is a turn off since it comes across that the person is reluctant to adapt or welcome change. This also reflects being defensive and closed. When sitting, make sure not to keep your legs crossed since it doesn’t send a friendly signal.
  1. Hold the gaze: It might sound cliché but it is absolutely true that establishing eye contact becomes tough when the person is bluffing. If you desire to know whether the person before you is lying or hiding something, look straight into his or her eyes and establish strong eye contact. The bluffer often becomes self-conscious under such a direct gaze making it easier to read him or her.
  1. Nodding excessively: While some of us involuntarily nod while attending a lecture or listening to something that is intriguing, some nod excessively. Excessive nodding signifies that the person wants you to know that he or she is attentive. It also conveys that he or she is slightly anxious wondering what you might think.
  1. Fidgeting: You must avoid fidgeting. It is seen as a sign of nervousness- as if you are nervous and to cope you are trying to distract yourself by indulging in physical movement.
  1. Where they look: In a group setting if you wish to gauge the level of bonding that people share, then you should try cracking a joke. While everyone bursts into laughter, check who looks at each other or gives a high five. The people who instinctively look at each other while laughing are the ones who are either close or interested in each other.
  2. Look straight: Whenever someone is talking to you it isn’t easy to gauge whether he or she is keenly interested in the conversation or is merely doing it out of formality. Look at their toes. If they are pointed towards you it means they are keenly willing to converse with you. However, if their entire body is turned towards you but the toes are in some other direction then chances are they are not as interested as they are pretending.
  1. Tapping the feet: A lot of us subconsciously tap our feet which is highly undesirable. It is a sign of incredible boredom and unwillingness to pay attention. Make a conscious effort to avoid the tapping of feet because it is not just annoying but also affects your reputation as a listener. Hence, avoid it at all cost.
  2. Pointing with index finger: You may not realize it, but when memorizing a song, dialogue, or scene inside your head, you probably make some gesture with your index finger. In some cultures, pointing at objects with the index finger is unacceptable. In American and European cultures it is considered rude to point at others.

Featured photo credit: Diary of a reluctant blogger via diaryofareluctantblogger.com

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Bhavik Sarkhedi

Founder of Write Right - A Content Marketing Company

5 Effective Ideas To Generate Leads For Your Content 5 Things To Learn About Annual Interest Returns 6 Ways To Convert Your Pursuers To Customers Eight Hacks to Read Body Language 10 Important Truths Every Twenty Something Should Realize

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How Systems Thinking Makes You a Smarter Person

How Systems Thinking Makes You a Smarter Person

There are several perspectives on the term systems thinking. The discipline goes beyond a collection of tools and techniques. A lot of individuals are fascinated by tools like brainstorming tools, structural thinking tools, dynamic thinking tools, as well as computer-based tools. They believe the system thinking tools can make them smarter and productive. However, it goes beyond that as systems thinking is more strategic and sensitive to the environment we find ourselves.

So what is systems thinking and why is it good for you?

What Is Systems Thinking?

Systems thinking is a diagnostic tool that can help you to assess problems before taking action. It helps you to ask questions before arriving at conclusions. It prevents you from making an assumption, which is the lowest level of knowledge.

A systems thinker is curious, compassionate, and courageous. The systems thinking approach incorporates the act of seeing the big picture instead of seeing in parts. It recognizes that we are connected, and there are diverse ways to solve a problem.

Characteristics of Systems Thinking

Systems thinking can help you in analyzing the connections between subsystems and understanding their potentials to make smarter decisions.

In a soccer team, the elements are the coach, players, the field, and a ball. The interrelationships are strategies, communications among players, and game rules. The goal is to win, have fun and exercise. We all belong to several systems and subsystems.

Some characteristics of systems thinking include:

  • Issue is important
  • The issue is familiar with well-known patterns
  • Attempts have been made to resolve the issue.

Given these characteristics, systems thinking goes beyond an operational tool; it is a strategic approach and a philosophy.

How to Use Systems Thinking

Here’re 3 ways you can use systems thinking:

1. Understand How the System Works and Use Feedback Points

The first task is to know what system is all about and identify the leverage points or feedbacks that influence its functioning. This is what will help in adjusting the system.

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If you want the system to be productive, enhance the feedback points. If you want it to be less productive, exhaust the same points.

A good example is that of a bathtub. The leverage points are the faucet and the drain. If you forget to close the drain, having turned on the water, the water will never stop flowing, and the tub will never overflow.

If you want more water, close the drain while you turn the water. If otherwise, turn the faucet off and open the drain. You can apply this to your personal development.

Once you discover the feedback points in your life, find your leverage or feedback points, then enhance those points. If you want to be fit, get a trainer, find a mentor, or eat healthy foods.

2. Discover the Patterns, Structure, and Events

Trends and patterns could be compared to clues for a crossword puzzle. As you aspire to enhance the system, trends and patterns offer you hints and cause to shift your paradigm. Usually, they can direct you to unusual and unexpected aspects, to ideas, people, or places you have never thought about.

Smart people watch out for trends and patterns so they can be conversant with changes.

You can view the world from 3 different perspectives:

i. The Event Perspective

If you consider the world from an event perspective, the best you can do is to be smarter is ‘react’. You tend to be smarter by reacting quickly, becoming more lighter on your feet, and flexible as you advance through life.

So how do you view the world from an event perspective? You ask a question like, ‘What happened?’.

There is the possibility of becoming more aware and seeing more at this level. An excellent technique to achieve this is by telling a story to a group. If you can see beyond each event, see beyond patterns and trends, you will be empowered to anticipate, predict, and plan.

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ii. Pattern Perspective

To view the world from a pattern perspective, you need to ask, ‘What has been happening?’

It is most times difficult to see the actual size of an iceberg (underlying structures that are the causes of events). The waterline dissects what’s visible from what’s not visible.

A systems thinker does not assume from what’s visible only; he or she seeks to know what has been happening.

Take a look at this video to understand more about the Iceberg Theory:

 

iii. The Structure Perspective

To view the world from a structure perspective, you need to ask, ‘what is causing issues?’ The answers will be the factors and forces responsible.

If you find yourself in a traffic jam, you don’t blame the next driver as a smart person; you could ask, ‘what’s been causing the traffic jam?

The usual answers could be a decaying road surface, careless driver, or high speed, but that would be the same things identified as trends. What makes the structure perspective different from others.

The structure is what propels your energy. It is what affects happenings. A systems thinkers make deductions based on internal structures to arrive at a conclusion

3. People Problems vs System Problems

Several issues ranging from security breaches, product flaws, poverty, to transportation inefficiencies are systemic.

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Even when you misbehave, there is usually an internal system to blame.

If you are not productive in your business, it may not be caused by you. There may be a system that you need to enhance.

Do you remember our feedback points? As soon as you assess the system, you can focus on people. Is a new hire causing lag in the packaging process? Is poor communication affecting the team’s performance? Reallocating job roles may be a perfect leverage point.

In the traffic jam example, there could be a system-based solution such as installing traffic lights and subsequently enforcing traffic laws in the area to penalize reckless drivers.

How to Foster Learning with Systems Thinking

Systems thinking helps you to appreciate the interrelationships of people, organizations, policies, decisions, ideas, and relationships.

Peter M Senge propounded five disciplines that foster learning in your DNA- whether you are leading an organization, starting a venture, or working as a freelancer.[1]

1. Gain Mastery

You can take online courses, attend conferences, read blog articles and books, listen to podcasts, converse with leaders within and beyond your industry, watch documentaries, learn from your team, and stretch yourself by improving your skills.

2. Discover Your Assumptions and Biases

There was this parable of four blind men who made different assumptions about an elephant. Their assumptions and biases hinder them from understanding how the animal looks like.

Biases can rob you of innovation and prevent you from experiencing personal growth. To become aware of your biases, you have to take an internal trip and engage breakthrough thinking.

3. Establish Your Vision

Systems grind to a halt when the goal or mission is not defined. You will not have the motivation to complete the online course if you don’t know why you subscribe in the first place.

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Is it for career advancement? To up your game or to gain general knowledge? Vision inspires you.

4. Learn in Groups

There is power in shared learning. There is a solidification of understanding when you learn in a group. You can have the lessons etched in your long term memory.

For instance, you can join learning groups where information is shared weekly.

5. Think in Systems

Systems thinking is about lifelong learning and improvement. It has also been linked to the Iceberg principle, which affirms that visible events are insignificant compared to what’s visible. There’s more ice below the waterline than what you can see with your physical eyes.

Anytime you are battling with a challenge, think in systems. Understand the details of the issue. Discover your leverage points. Assess, adapt, and keep improving your models.

After all. If you meet a lion in the wild, you need to understand what you are facing.

Final Thoughts

You can foster systems thinking by modeling your own environment. Participate in training, watch TED Talks, and create time to connect with others.

Also, practice critical thinking instead of making assumptions before you make a decision. The more you think systems, the more you will become smarter and productive in every aspect of your life.

More to Help You Think Smarter

Featured photo credit: Olav Ahrens Røtne via unsplash.com

Reference

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