“The ability to observe and decode telling details is a strategic skill that offers competitiveadvantages”. Thomas Pink asks a former FBI agent and a respected craftsperson to explain such details – a raised eyebrow, or the flatness of a shirt’s stitching —that can speak louder than words.
Like a shirt maker reading a shirt, ex FBI agent Mr Navarro can read a subject. “You’d be surprised how much we reveal through our bodies. It’s all in the details. The efficiency of non-verbal communication is that it happens at the speed of light.”
‘What Yo ur Shirt Says About You’, the second film in a two-part series by the Jermyn Street shirt maker, features ex FBI agent Joe Navarro – a world leading expert on reading non-verbal behaviours.
Expressions, inflections, gestures – all reveal something about us. Seemingly simple cues like the accessories we select or the clothes we wear can speak louder than words.
Here we explore the decoding of details and what these cues reveal to the world.
Take, for example, indications of openness – arms extended, palms up – versus those of distance – hands behind the back. Is the person you’re talking to squinting as you speak? If so, they probably don’t much like what you’re saying.
So what does your shirt say about you? Paying attention to the little things, especially in the way someone presents themselves, can tell you many things. “Fixing your tie when someone important comes into the room, straightening the sleeves or pulling on the cufflink, this subconsciously communicates to the person, ‘I care’. Clothes can reassure onlookers of your competence,” Mr Navarro explains. “When I walk into a room wearing a beautifully made shirt, the shirt alone is communicating something positive about me. Humans just have a proclivity for aesthetic detail.
Navarro recognises that “the ability to observe and decode those non-verbal cues gives you that advantage that the other person doesn’t have, because now you can say ‘I sense there is an issue’. Their body language will reveal what they are thinking, feeling, desiring or intending. If you have the ability to focus on detail, you can perceive these things before everybody else does.”