How To Effectively Observe Others

A keen ability to observe your surroundings to better understand the situation is another useful skill to have. Pay attention to the appearance and behavior of the individual you are meeting, as these can be a rich source of clues for learning about the other person. We learn much of what we need to know about other people by observing them. When we observe, we collect the non-verbal information they present to us. From these, we can make some inferences about their energy levels, how they are feeling, and their readiness to say yes to the sale.

Here are some other things we should be aware of.

Body Movements

Is the person exhibiting open, relaxed movements, and making eye contact, or are they fidgeting during your presentation? Are their arms crossed or is their body turned away from you? While closed or turned away body movements do not necessarily indicate a closed mind or a person not interested, these are clues to pay attention to.

Facial Expressions

Notice whether they are looking you in the face, have an alert expression on their face, and appear relaxed. Signs you have talked too long or not engaged their interest might include yawning, rolling eyes, or taking peeks at their watch. Indications they are uptight about something include a tense or worried look, and whether their hands are relaxed or busy. By the way, generally the higher up the corporate ladder people go, the less they smile. So don’t be put off by a stern visage. As for you, try for a pleasant expression rather than a lot of smiles.


Careless attire or lack of grooming could be an indication this person is unimpressed by himself, by his organisation, by his job, and perhaps by you. On the other hand, everyone will expect your grooming to be impeccable.

Body Build

Someone with a wiry build is usually active with a lot of pent up energy. Engaging them in the presentation is one of the surest ways of keeping their interest high. A square build can be an indication of someone with a very practical nature. Make sure you give them the practical aspects of whatever you are trying to sell. The rounder body shape can be that of a person who would like to engage in a bit of small talk before getting down to business.


Relaxed or tense? Ramrod straight or stooped? We do make some assumptions based on posture. While it may be dangerous for you to make assumptions, make sure your own posture would make your mother proud.


Author: Matthew Coppola, Managing Director of Client Centric.

Client Centric – Executive Employment Solutions are a boutique employment services company specialising in executive and managerial level roles. We are committed to helping you succeed in your career and to do this we have the best staff on board to help you reach your goals. Our team are highly experienced and knowledgeable in a broad range of areas and expertise, so you get the best advice. We service clients all over Australia including Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Hobart. We provide Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, LinkedIn Profiles, Addressing Selection Criteria’s and we also offer a Job Application Service where we apply for jobs on your behalf and all you do is wait for the call. Please visit our website at to find out more.

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