Friday, 10 August 2012

Newsletter Issue 221, August 2012

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 221, August 2012
Hi guys,
Do you think we know what is truth and what is myth about body language? Check out Carol Kinsey Goman's view in Five Body Language Myths Busted below.
We check up on what is happening with the Mars rover, in Our Human Curiosity
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Five Body Language Myths Busted

The actions of others can be taken out of context, and we may assume something on too little data. Carol Kinsey Goman published the following article in Forbes Magazine about body language myths, which she has kindly allowed me to share with you all.
When people find out that I write and speak about body language, they immediately get nervous and self-conscious. They react as if I could detect their innermost thoughts with a single glance. Well, I can’t.
But that’s only one of the myths people believe about the subject.
Here are five others:
  1. Body language is 93% of communication.
    A classic study by Dr. Albert Mehabrian is often misquoted as “the total impact of a message is based on: 7% words used; 38% tone of voice, volume, rate of speech, vocal pitch; 55% facial expressions, hand gestures, postures and other forms of body language.” But Mehabrian never claimed that you could view a movie in a foreign language and accurately guess 93 percent of the content by watching body language. His research was focused on the communication of emotions — specifically, liking and disliking. The non-verbal aspect of communication won’t deliver 93 percent of your entire message, but it will reveal underlying emotions, motives, and feelings. In fact, people will evaluate most of the emotional content of your message, not by what you say but by your nonverbal signals.
  2. Liars don’t make eye contact.
    The biggest body language myth about liars is that they avoid eye contact. While some liars (especially children) find it difficult to lie while looking you in the eyes, most liars, especial the most brazen, actually overcompensate to “prove” that they are not lying by making too much eye contact and holding it too long. There is, however, one nonverbal signal that I’ve noticed often follows a less-than-truthful response, and it does require breaking eye contact: After speaking, some liars immediately look down and away, then back at you again in a brief glimpse to see if you bought the falsehood.
  3. Crossed arms always means resistance.
    Of course, crossed arms may indicate resistance, especially if you see someone adopt that gesture right after you’ve made a strong statement. But it can also mean many other things — or nothing at all — depending on the situation. In an audience, I expect to see people with their arms crossed sitting in the first row. I know that without a row of chairs in front of them, most people will create a barricade with their arms (at least initially, before they “warm up” to the speaker and lower their guard). Likewise, if a person sits in a chair that doesn’t have armrests, the limited option increases the likelihood of crossed arms – as would the response to a drop in room temperature. And if someone were deep in thought, pacing back and forth with crossed arms, I’d realize that this was a common way to increase concentration and persistence. Crossing arms might also be the normal position someone assumes when she’s comfortable. One caveat: Since most people believe this myth, don’t be surprised when you are judged to be resistant or unapproachable when (for any reason) you fold your arms across your chest.
  4. Eye direction is correlated with lying.
    Popularized by Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), the idea that looking to the right indicates lying, while looking left suggests truth telling, is shown to be false in new research. The University of Edinburgh, completed three different studies to show that there was no correlation between the direction of eye movement and whether the subject was telling the truth or lying. Rather than judging someone from a standard eye pattern, you’d be better off “baselining” each individual so you could spot meaningful deviations. University at Buffalo computer scientists developed a computer lie detection method that tracks eye movements and blink rates, and correctly detects deceit more than 80 percent of the time. The system employed a statistical technique to model how people moved their eyes in two distinct situations: during regular conversation (their baseline) and while fielding a question designed to prompt a lie. It was found that people whose pattern of eye movements changed between the first and second scenario were often lying, while those who maintained consistent eye movement were most likely telling the truth.
  5. Using body language to make a positive impression is inauthentic.
    This is the myth I hear almost every time I give a speech or seminar. And it often comes from the vary participants (managers, leaders, executives) who understand the value of spending hours creating, reviewing and rehearsing what they are going to say to make a positive impression in an important meeting or negotiation. I ask them to consider this: In any business interaction you are communicating over two channels – verbal and nonverbal – resulting in two distinct conversations going on at the same time. While a well-written speech or well-designed bargaining strategy is obviously important, it’s not the only crucial message you send. In a thirty-minute business discussion, two people can send over eight hundred different nonverbal signals. And it is no more (or less) inauthentic to prepare for this second conversation than it is to prepare for the first.
Author bio: Carol Kinsey Goman (PhD) is an executive coach, leadership consultant, and international keynote speaker at corporate, government, and association events. She’s an expert contributor for The Washington Post’s “On Leadership” column, a leadership blogger on, a business body language columnist for “the Market” magazine, and the author of “THE SILENT LANGUAGE OF LEADERS: How Body Language Can help – or Hurt – How You Lead.” To contact Carol about speaking or coaching, email or visit Carol’s website 

Our Human Curiosity

Human beings are curious creatures. Imagine what wouldn't have happened if Archimedes hadn't thought of the whole body-bath-displacement-gold thing, or if gravity and apples hadn't had a profound effect on Newton.
So what is our latest dose of NASA Curiosity likely to bring us?
The latest NASA 2000 kilo rover, Curiosity, is currently 1k 'downrange' of its intended landing area, running systems checks. Apparently it will be doing this for some weeks before the engineers hand-over to the scientists. The techies want to be sure that their baby is in full working order before the scientists get to start testing things (probably so they can say "everything was working just fine until we handed over to the operators"!).
All the testing has caused a bit of a bottle-neck though; while some landing images and a bit of low-res video of the last couple of minutes of landing was sent back, the data pipe appears to be full at present of updates and system check protocols. Hmm. It is sounding like my PC!
However, the images sent back thus far are delighting scientists with panoramas of sand dunes, mountain views and haze on Gale Crater. And if there had been a crash on landing, the video would have been invaluable, I would imagine, in determining what had gone wrong.
So once all the systems checks are complete and Curiosity is cleared for action, the rover will be running scientific tests on whether Mars was/is hospitable enough for microbial life. Curiosity will truck off to Mount Sharp, a 4.8k tall mountain which sprouts from the centre of the Gale Crater. Because space observation has revealed signs - they think - of past water at the base of Mount Sharp, the team figures this is a good place to hunt for the chemical ingredients of life. For the next two years, Curiosity will be sending data back to Earth on if, how and when the building blocks for life existed on Mars, giving us insight into the life-cycle of our own planet.
And who knows? Maybe Curiosity will hook up with Opportunity, which has been pootling around Mars' southern hemisphere craters since 2004. They might try to find Opportunity's sibling, Spirit, which got stuck in a sand trap in 2010 and went silent.
Could be the sandworms of Arrakis?

Simple Excel Negatives Sum Formula

TechRepublic recently posted a 'how to' on summing only negatives in a database (very handy if you want to work out returns or similar). How you do that is using the SUMIF() function.
For example, to sum the total number of units sold, enter the following functions into your desired cells (I usually sum ABOVE the first line of the database so that no matter how long the data gets, I can see the sums at the top of the page - eg E1 and F1
  1. To sum positive numbers
  2. To sum negative numbers
  3. To sum all numbers (and provide a double-check on your other two totals)
Complicated version:
You could also do a sub-total function in each of these, so you could use autofilters and show accurate filtered totals, by using the following formulas (1. =SUMPRODUCT(--($C$2:$C$130>0),SUBTOTAL(3,OFFSET(C2,ROW($C$2:$C$130)-ROW(C2),0))), 2. =SUMPRODUCT(--($C$2:$C$130<0),SUBTOTAL(3,OFFSET(C2,ROW($C$2:$C$130)-ROW(C2),0))), 3. =SUBTOTAL(9,C2:C130))

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) for you:
  • SEO, Search Engine Optimisation. Improving how visible a website is via search engines' or un-paid search results. For Google this was largely through paid results via AdWords!

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

Tips, Short+Hot Keys
This time we look at shortcuts to use with panes (window splits) in Word:
  • Word "Close pane or remove a window split in a document" Alt & Shift & C
  • Word "Split a document while working within it" Alt & Ctrl & S
  • Word "Close pane or remove a window split in a document" Alt & Shift & C
  • Word "Go to the next pane or move between the navigation pane and topic pane when working with Help menu" F6

Hot Linx
Read what the Guardian has to say about long-term visionary leadership and collaboration in getting the London Olympics off the ground at
Check out Heidi Halvorson's article on her book, Nine Things Successful People Do Differently, on the HBR Blog at There is also a free quiz at
Job interview coming up? See eight possible questions you could ask an interviewer at (but also consider asking a question about the company's long term direction and the strategic fit of your role)
Evangeline Kubu from Princeton University presented a social media webinar to a US Careers group on social media strategy, slides at

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

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