For many years now, the only reading I do is trade industry magazines/books and news information. Sneaking a history or How it works book in there when I find an interesting one jump out at me. Mostly though, I’m a sponge for information.
It wasn’t always this way, my early reading days was filled with the Tom Swift series. My folks took me to a local discount store every month to see if they the latest release. I wonder if those are still in their basement or my sister cleared out that corner.
When I hit elementary school, every teacher encouraged me to write stories. By the fourth grade they had me reading the stories to the class. This was good and bad. Being thrown into a pressure situation to read my creations to people I didn’t know helped my public speaking later. The tough kids in school thought that anyone that could come up with stories needed to be slugged regularly – a interesting outcome of this was a development of the senses to ready people.
As time went by, I found that I took more notice of people’s actions in different situations. Face activity, posture, arm placement, breathing, eye movements, as well as how they are timing their speaking. Early on this help me know if a bruised arm was in my near future. Now though, putting people’s actions in conversation has led me to now be able to say: everyone has a agenda in every conversation. They may or may not consciously know it, but there is a reason we are talking. Is the agenda to chat to let me know you are having a bad day or are you hoping to get a contract… taking the time to pay attention in the beginning, you can see how the next few minutes will go. Do it long enough and you no longer have to think about it.
There are people that have a natural talent at seeing into a conversation then reacting. Most of these people cut the chat short and move on. For me, it is the core to being a Social Engineer. You see the path, you toss out a few items to see reactions and then direct them into the end goal your employer needs. You can’t force someone to do something they didn’t already have in the back of their mind. It does take a bit of control to help get to the right place though, and reading them as you go helps not going too far the wrong way.
Back to school days – moving onto High School, I was surprised with the English Class teachers that had an agenda. They encourage you to write… what they like… fail to hit that and you fail. One full year writing project went from hover crafts in a parallel world based in 1962 (“that couldn’t have happened”), to a hunting story which I knew nothing about (teacher was a outdoor adventurer) to finally the story of a boy exploring the Hindenburg on it’s last trip. I knew then that I could never write stories for others plan – so I turned to ad copy and then what we now call blogging.
That same teacher took a quarter from us anytime we started a sentence with “I think”. I understand that the phrase is a crutch for many people and he was trying to help his class better manage their delivery. That is then, now is now… last week I was on a conference call where a SVP stated that no one will be allowed to say “I think”. He only wants facts.
Our team will continue to ‘think’. There are facts and then there are a possible solutions or probable issue that should be exposed when thought of. While those thoughts can be brought about by seeing trend, many times it is due to someone reading between the line and their subconscious pinging them something is wrong. Go with that, you will be right. The trick is learning how to zero in on what caused that discomfort. And for others in the room, their subconscious needs to look at the “I think” and see if it is a moment of insight or a request to be noticed.