Monday, July 19, 2010

Say WHAT!?!?

So here is a funny story for you regarding just what an impact small gestures and non-verbal communication have.

Over this last week or so I have had the pleasure to be sitting at a bar review class, specifically for those who wish to practice before the USPTO in matters of patent law. The only way to be admitted for practice is through a brutal exam (the "Patent Bar") that spits up and chews out about 50% of those who take it and has done so year on year in varying degrees for some time now.

This class (by PLI) was held at Suffolk University School of Law in downtown Boston, a truly beautiful setting and school. So instead of trying to commute for these days, about an hour each way, just to sit in class for about (11) hours a day, I stayed in town nearby.

So about 7:30 in the morning I was walking to class on a Thursday and was passing by the Omni Parker House (a nice place if you get the chance to visit) and there was a very nice sedan there with a driver waiting to pick up someone. It was clear the driver's client was about to arrive as he was waiting there, door open, very attentive and ready to go. I admit I slowed my pace just a little to see who was going to pop out of the Omni ... I am a little bit of a voyeur, and while not a "star watcher", I am a people watcher and looked to see what would develop.

What happened next was not what I would have expected.

A meter man (masculine of maid) sauntered by and caught the eye of the driver who was illegally parked, albeit for the legitimate reason of waiting for his fare. The next exchange was priceless.

Meter man looked at Driver ... Driver pointed at the open door indicating his fare was imminent ... Meter man  tapped his citation book ... Driver closed the door and drove off. Not a single word was spoken.

It was fantastic. I think I audibly said "wow" too. Yes, I am a dork.

Now, am I suggesting that tapping your pocket where you keep your caution is a good mechanic to warn a player? No, I am not. In fact I particularly dislike that mechanic personally, but have seen it used with effect.

What I am saying is that when you have an understanding with a player, or a team, a lot of talk may mean nothing, a simple gesture may get it done without more. A palm in the "stop" position is a very powerful hand signal, and usually gets the point across even without a word.

Next time you are out, focus on your NON-VERBAL communication and see what you can accomplish without saying a word. By doing this, you are quietly building your arsenal of ways to help control a match using a minimalist approach.

Like with other things in life, starting small and working your way up leaves you options if you need them later. If all goes well however, the "worst" non-verbal cue you'll need, is a smile. =)

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