How ‘reading a room’ at work can give you a career edge

Date:

The most effective way to “read a room” — no matter what the venue is — is paying close attention to others by taking notice of what they’re saying and doing. 

You should also take notice of people’s body language, mannerisms, behaviors and personality traits. 

Reading a room is a critical career and workplace skill, according to experts.

WANT A JOB IN A COMPLETELY NEW INDUSTRY? HERE ARE CRITICAL CAREER TIPS FROM EXPERTS 

“You read the room by scanning it,” said Blanca Cobb, a body language expert with TruthBlazer in Greensboro, North Carolina. 

“You look at the people and assess what’s happening. You look to see if anything doesn’t fit the context or stands out.”

Assessing the people in the room can lead to greater success on the job. 

Here’s a deeper dive.

How can you decipher body language?

Individuals can assess people by observing their mannerisms, their behaviors and the ways that they’re interacting with others in the room, Cobb told FOX Business. 

CAN YOU AVOID END-OF-THE-YEAR CAREER BURNOUT? JOB EXPERTS REVEAL SECRETS

“Look for positive, neutral and negative body language, which indicates their current emotional state,” Cobb said. “Use their body language cues to direct your interactions with them.”

“Look for positive, neutral and negative body language.”

In addition to their body language, hone in on their mannerisms, gestures, facial expressions and proximity to others as well as listen to their tone of voice, rate of speech and the way they talk. 

“Also, consider the context in which all of this is happening. All of this information gives you a sense of their baseline behavior,” said Cobb. 

Man and woman shake hands over coffee.

“In the workplace, knowing your co-workers’ baseline lets you know when it’s a good time to talk to them or when they’re thinking of something else and not the topic at hand.”

What’s a professional approach to reading a room?

To stay professional, you want to maintain a physical distance of two to four feet from others, Cobb recommended — and you should keep physical touch to a minimum.

VIRAL CAREER TREND HAS PEOPLE ENGAGING IN ‘JOB CUFFING’: HERE’S WHY AND WHAT IT MEANS

“Handshakes are appropriate within the workplace, but touching someone on their back, arm or hand, or standing too close to them, can be considered inappropriate and make someone feel uncomfortable,” said Cobb. 

How can you tell what’s going on at a meeting?

Test an observation to see if you’re right. 

“For example, if you think that a co-worker is distracted, you could ask a question about something said earlier in the conversation,” said Cobb. 

job interview

“If they answer the question correctly, then your observation is wrong, but if they don’t remember or aren’t sure, then your observation is spot-on.”

How can you keep bias from affecting your conclusions?

It’s important to be mindful of your conclusions. 

“Instead of immediately thinking you know why someone is acting in a certain way, challenge your thinking,” said Cobb. “Ask yourself what you’re basing your decision on.”

Do both verbal and non-verbal skills matter?

There is both verbal and non-verbal communication, of course. 

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY’S CHARLIE MUNGER ON CORE IDEAS THAT HELPED HIM SUCCEED IN LIFE AND BUSINESS

“Both are critical to understanding how to be effective in the workplace,” said Jonathan Alpert, a psychotherapist and executive performance coach with practices in Manhattan and Washington, D.C.

“I advise clients to be selective about how much they want to meet on camera. This is because it is very taxing — much more so than meeting in person.”

He is also the author of the book, “Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days.” 

“Being able to read your colleagues, or not, can be the difference between staying stagnant in a career or advancing,” he said. 

woman being interviewed

“To know what someone might be thinking or feeling simply by studying and observing their body language can give you the edge that often is needed in today’s hyper-competitive workforce,” Alpert also said.

What about remote or hybrid work settings — can you ‘read a room’ in these situations?

Ruth Sherman, a communications expert and CEO with Ruth Sherman Associates in Greenwich, Connecticut, said it’s nearly impossible to read a room in a virtual situation, since essentially there is no room. 

THESE CAREER BLIND SPOTS COULD BE HOLDING YOU BACK AT WORK: ‘GAIN CONTROL,’ SAYS AUTHOR

“Add to this the requirement that you look into the camera lens because that is what creates the illusion of eye contact, and it complicates things even more,” she said. 

two people sitting and looking at a laptop

“I advise clients to be selective about how much they want to meet on camera. This is because it is very taxing — much more so than meeting in person.” 

Not every meeting has to be a video meeting, said Sherman. 

“I make a concerted effort to save video for client calls,” said Sherman. “For other calls, phone is more than enough.”

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxbusiness.com/lifestyle.

Read the full article here

spot_img

Share post:

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.

Popular

More like this
Related