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7 Steps for Watching and Reaching People

These 7 steps come from one of my favorite books on business, What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School by legendary businessman Mark H. McCormack in 1984.

According to McCormack, reading people and opening up your senses cannot, obviously, be summed up in 7, 70, nor 700 steps, but there are 7 fundamentals by which all interactions and observations can be categorized. Here they are:

  1. Listen Aggressively- Listen to what people say and how they say it. 
  2. Observe Aggressively- You don't need to read a book on body language to interpret certain motions or gestures to "hear" someone. It is as simple as examining how they are dressed.
  3. Talk Less- You automatically learn more, hear more, see more, and make fewer blunders. 
  4. Take a Second Look at First Impressions- Your first impression of a person is not definitive. It takes a series of interactions to really get to know someone.
  5. Take Time to Use What You've Learned- Before you make that phone call, send that email, or give that presentation, think of what you know of the other person that could augment your communication.
  6. Be Discreet- Use what what you know about someone to read and better understand them.
  7. Be Detached- Step away from a situation if you need to. Acting rather than reacting allows you to genuinely use what you know and convert perceptions into controls. If you react first, you immediately throw that powerful advantage away.


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