Friday, 25 March 2011

Newsletter Issue 198, March 2011

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 198, March 2011
Hi guys,
Identify what signals you might be misinterpreting or mis-sending in Carol Kinsey Goman's Five Body Language Perception Errors below.
Have you thought about food miles? Perhaps consider Harvesting, Buying and Eating Locally
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Five Body Language Perception Errors

Ensuring others around you understand your message correctly is something we often don't think enough about. Carol Kinsey Goman published the following article in her March newsletter about body language perception errors, which she has kindly allowed me to share with you all.
Your nonverbal signals don’t always convey what you intended them to. In fact, when people read your body language, you can count on them making five major mistakes.
Body language was the basis for our earliest form of communication when the split-second ability to recognize if a person or situation was benign or dangerous was often a matter of life or death.
Today, nonverbal signals play a key role in helping us form quick impressions. But, as innate as this ability may be, not all of our impressions are accurate. Although our brains are hardwired to respond instantly to certain nonverbal cues, that circuitry was put in place a long time ago – when our ancient ancestors faced threats and challenges very different from those we face in today’s modern society. The problem is that the world has changed, but our body reading processes are still based on a primitive emotional reaction that hasn’t changed much since humans began interacting with one another.
For example: In our prehistory, it may have been vitally important to see an approaching person’s hands in order to evaluate his intent. If hands were concealed they could very well be holding a rock, a club, or other means of doing us harm. In business interactions today, with no logical reason to do so, we still instinctively mistrust someone who keeps his hands out of sight -- in his pockets, below the table, or behind his back. The following is adapted from my new book, “The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help – or Hurt – How You Lead.”
Here are the five mistakes people make when they read your body language:
  1. They won’t consider the context. When it comes to body language, context is king. You can’t really make sense of someone’s nonverbal message unless you understand the circumstances behind it. Context is a weave of variables including location, relationships, time of day, past experience, and even room temperature. Depending on the context, the same non-verbal signals can take on totally different meanings. Your team members, and colleagues won’t always have access to this insight. So if you yawn in a staff meeting because you were up early for an international business call – let people know why you’re tired. Without this context, you’ll look like you’re just bored.
  2. They’ll find meaning in one gesture. People are constantly trying to evaluate your state of mind by monitoring your body language. But all too often they will assign meaning to a single (and sometimes irrelevant) nonverbal cue. And, since the human brain pays more attention to negative messages than it does to positive ones, people are mainly on the alert for any sign that indicates you’re in a bad mood and not to be approached. So – you may be more comfortable standing with your arms folded across your chest (or you may be cold), but don’t be surprised when others judge that gesture as resistant and unapproachable.
  3. They won’t know your baseline. One of the keys to accurately reading body language is to compare someone’s current non-verbal response to their baseline, or normal behaviour. But if people haven’t observed you over time, they have little basis for that comparison. Remember this when meeting people for the first time. They won’t know that you habitually frown when you are concentrating (and you may not realise it either unless you ask a friend or coach for feedback). Others will most likely think the frown is a reaction to something they said or did.
  4. They’ll evaluate you through an array of personal biases. There is a woman in my yoga class who liked me from the moment we met. I’d prefer to believe that this was a result of my charismatic personality, but I know for a fact that it’s because I resemble her favourite aunt. Sometimes biases work in your favour – an example of the so-called “halo effect.” But biases can also work against you. What if, instead of someone they like, you remind people of someone they despise? You might overcome it with time, but you can bet that their initial response to you won’t be a good one.
  5. They’ll evaluate through a filter of cultural biases. When it comes to non-verbal communication and cultural differences, you can expect to be judged by behaviours that include how close you stand to a colleague in conversation, how much or little you touch others, the degree of emotion in your voice, the amount of eye contact you display, and the kind of hand gestures you use. And what feels so right in one culture may be seen as highly insulting in another (so before you attend that international business meeting, do a little research to on the nonverbal business practices that you’re most likely to encounter).
These are the five mistakes you can expect people to make. Understanding them, and trying not to make the same mistakes, will help you be a more effective nonverbal communicator.
Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D., is an executive coach, international keynote speaker and seminar leader, and the author of “The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help – or Hurt – How You Lead.” She can be reached by email, phone 510-526-1727, or through her websites: and

Harvesting, Buying and Eating Locally

While I personally remain unconvinced about the phenomenon known as Global Warming, I do feel that we in the West consume well over our fair share of the world's bounty. A bit of restraint does me some good ("Anticip... ation" to quote Frankenfurter from Richard O'Brien's Rocky Horror Picture Show), and I am sure I am not alone in enjoying something more if I have had to wait for it.
The BBC have an interesting page called "Bloom" on their website, at, which looks rationally at the local vs imported food argument.
They pose a couple of questions: is local food always better for the climate? (not always). Does buying [local] mean the developing world suffers? (sometimes, yes).
How things are grown, stored and processed is equally as important as where it comes from and how far it has travelled to get to the person who eats it. The BBC say "local food that's been grown out of season in heated greenhouses, heavily fertilised, harvested using fuel-heavy machinery and stored for months in fridges can be worse for the climate than produce grown abroad using the sun's heat, picked by humans and flown to the UK. Take the green bean. Kenyan beans grown and hand-picked in fields require climate-intensive air-freighting to get to your plate - yet research suggests that they can produce fewer emissions than British beans that have been grown in greenhouses and depend heavily on machinery and synthetic fertilisers." Greenhouses are a significant and growing contributor to climate change.
On the topic of apples, the BBC say "Similarly, British apples are not always a low-emissions alternative to imported apples - due to the way in which they are 'kept alive' in energy-intensive fridges for up to a year after harvest. In fact, an apple in August can have more carbon on its conscience than an apple that has been freshly harvested in New Zealand and shipped to the UK."
"Perhaps more surprisingly still, even New Zealand lamb, according to research at Lincoln University, can have a lower climate impact than lamb farmed in Britain because of the efficiency of New Zealand's livestock industry - even including transport emissions from New Zealand to the UK. But that doesn't make it a low-carbon option, warn critics - it just means that both have a damaging impact."
Aside from the food we buy, we also need to think about OUR drive to the supermarket, as this is also a 'carbon-intensive' activity. The BBC quotes Gareth Thomas, the British Minister for Trade and Development, who says "driving 6.5 miles to buy your shopping emits more carbon than flying a pack of Kenyan green beans to the UK."
What we are really talking about is the West's megalithic consumption of petroleum products. We can say 'carbon footprint' until the cows come home, but we are talking about oil. Petrol, diesel, oil, kerosene and lubricants to seed, tend, harvest, process, transport and store our food. The more ingredients an item has, the more likely it is to have a very, very high oil cost.
Barbara Kingsolver in her book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" examined US agriculture's oil consumption, and found food production gurgled down 17% of the US's oil (2007, p. 5). Only 20% (3.4% in total) of that oil gets the harvest to the farm gate. A whopping 80%, or 13.6% of the US's oil consumption is burned on the road, in factories, in the air and in someone's warehouse, waiting for Americans to drive and buy their edibles at the supermarket (and the consumer's supermarket trip is not factored into the barrel).
I am blowed if I want to eat an American apple -metaphorically - dripping with oil. Much of the tinned fruit consumed in New Zealand is processed in China from enzyme-stripped fruit. If you think that cardboard taste it is your taste buds failing you, think again.
Read food labels. There are real give-aways, like the catch-all "Made from local and imported ingredients". Most Kiwis will remember the controversy about Cadbury Schweppes larding their chocolate with palmoline (mmm, that lovely taste of soapy chocolate); the Sanitarium Chinese peanut butter; the Barker's-owned Anathoth Raspberry Jam full of berries from who knows where.
For those of us who want to attempt to lessen our impact on the planet, one of the easiest things we can do is to eat food that is grown locally, outdoors with as little chemical treatment as possible in well-nourished soil, purchased at the gate and largely eaten in season. What remains of our seasonal local harvest then can be stored for winter and spring; bottled, dried or frozen.
Preparing summer produce for storage is very therapeutic. I have just been bottling tomatoes, apples, pears, beetroot and plums for the winter. While that is not going to feed us for the winter, the 100 jars of preserves we have processed will reduce our oil consumption this year, and put less money into H J Heinz' pockets over winter (Heinz owns the Wattie's brand, Kraft Foods owns nearly everything else and between these two American behemoths, they sew up a goodly percentage of Kiwi supermarket facings).
We are not angels or evangelists; we live rurally, work in town and we commute by car. We aren't aiming to be perfect, just more thoughtful.

Import File Data Into Word

Have you ever wanted to get a list of file names out of a directory and into a table so you can sort the information? I recently wanted to convert a Word bibliography list into an Excel 'database', adding the file name and the date saved.
I thought it would be very difficult, but there is a way to get your file names, dates saved and other information out of Windows Explorer and into a text document. And it is very easy; all you need to know is the directory name to copy the file data from:
  • Go to Start | Run
  • Key in "cmd" & Enter to bring up the DOS box
  • In the DOS box, key CD and the name of the first folder you need to navigate to (eg "CD documents and settings"). Repeat until you get to the folder you want to get your information from (eg "CD [Your User Name]" etc).
  • Once you’re in the directory you want, key in Dir > test.txt and hit the enter key.
  • Test.txt is the name of the text file this function will create for you.
You can then copy your text into Word and tabulate it there. Once I had tabulated my information, I then imported it into Excel. 

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) for you:
  • MMS, Multimedia Messaging Service. Text, pixt or video messages sent via mobile networks.

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Tips, Short+Hot Keys
Over the last few newsletters, we are going to look at all you can do with Function keys. This is the last - F1:
  • Access, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint "Display ScreenTips or context-sensitive Help" Shift & F1
  • Access, Excel, FrontPage, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, Windows, Windows Media Player, Word "Display Help" F1
  • Excel "Insert a new worksheet " Alt & Shift & F1
  • Word "Go to next field" Alt & F1
  • Word "Go to previous field" Alt & Shift & F1
  • Word "Microsoft System Info" Alt & Ctrl & F1
  • Word "Open Office Assistant in order to display context sensitive Help or to reveal formatting of selected characters or (click the text whose formatting you want to review) and review text formatting" Shift & F1

Hot Linx
The Public Service Association (PSA) has information on identifying and preventing workplace bullying at and
To get a view of the news on an article, head on over to Google Labs to check out the news timeline feature at . Enter the news item you are interested in, and Google will return all mentions in the media Google searches.
To find out a rough-rule-of-thumb ranking for websites, check out Key in the website you would like to have rated in the field at the top of the page. TradeMe is apparently #13,448 :-)

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here

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