Why is it, no matter how many times I have spoken to a classroom of new recruits, my mind starts to play tricks on me. Can I remember everything they need to know, will my arms start to take over my lecture and why is my mouth so dry!
The knowledge, that my first impression on these recruits needs to be a good one is my first weapon against this fear. Like any animal, if they spot a weakness, it is usually exploited.
Fortunately, my tricks had been passed down from my dad, a stand up comedian. Now there was a job which required a good first impression! Not only do I need to send out the right body language, but it is essential to read the body language of my audience, in this case 12 recruits embarking on their new careers as firearms officers!
So my ritual starts with my appearance, smart uniform, neat hair cut and straight back! As I enter the classroom 12 pairs of eyes are trained on me, watching my every move. A bright good morning and welcome starts the ball rolling, I spot a keeness in their response apart from one sat at the back slouched in the chair, with the look of here we go another 3 weeks of listening to this moron written across his young face. The PlayStation warrior! The classic signs of ‘Listen mate, teach me what you have to, I am here to get my ticket, before I embark on a Judge Dredd clean up of the streets’ attitude.
First impressions, the PlayStation Warrior had played into my hands, it was evident that the others were willing to adsorb my information, the true test was to engage the ‘warrior’ in active mind warfare!
Now I am not a mind reader, far from it, if I was I would never have any problems communicating with the missus, no more buying the wrong perfume or going to the wrong restaurant for me!
What I am though is a good body language reader, it was not until I had time to examine the signs that had helped me to react quicker than the villains (bank managers, estate agents and armed robbers!)! Careful consideration of these events, had revealed that on the majority of occasions, it had been my body language which helped to control, resolve the situation.
Learning to read non verbal communications, was part of my initial training, looking for the usual signs of imminent aggression, clenched fists, target focusing, combat ready body stances and large knife in hand! What was not part of my training was how to control these situations just by my body language, this came with experience.
This skill has served me well in every day life, when you think, that every time you meet
When I started to delve deeper into the black art of body language, the different aspects in which I could utilise the skills were countless.
Reading the visible signs with the girl from admin, prevented an embarrassing use of my one liner “My head is spinning with you running around in it!” The effect of my appearance on my recruits and more importantly my boss when it came round to the annual Special Priority Payment negotiation.
So if you are to take any useful information away from this, get yourself fluent in ‘Body Language’!
Next time, I will be talking about how to avoid the attention of the large woman from stores!