Why it’s important to observe people

It’s important to understand the dynamics of conversations and meetings. In other words, how people relate to one another and the way their moods and feelings affect how they get along. 

Here’s a good way to do it. Don’t just think about the content of conversations and what people are discussing. Also pay attention to how they talk and the way they discuss things. 

Have you ever had fun observing people in a restaurant? For example, suppose you see two people sitting at a table a short distance away. You can see them clearly but can’t hear what they’re saying. You can get a sense of how they both feel just by observing the way they treat each other. Are they married? Colleagues? Brother and sister? Are they both happy to be there or is one happier than the other? 

Learn to make these observations at work too. You’ll learn a lot from them. Teach yourself to observe people closely and to think about what you see. Do you have the type of manager who thinks they have to shout to get people to listen? Or do you have a colleague who is so formal that nobody understands what they say? It’s a shame they don’t realise they aren’t communicating very well. 

When someone disagrees or there’s a quarrel, what’s the reason? Does the disagreement get resolved and, if so, how? Is there any resentment afterwards? I’m not suggesting you should spend your entire working day staring at people! Just use the opportunities you have to notice what’s happening around you. The more you understand about the dynamics of communication, the better you’ll get along with people. Many people get annoyed by people they meet. If you come across people like this, learn from them. They are giving you free lessons on how not to behave! 

Topic: Communication Power, Sweet Teams Are Made Of This