Pop!Tech – Day 1 – Speaking the Unspoken

Holy crap I am hyperventilating about what just happened on my way back from the opening-night cocktail party, but first here’s the meaty part of the post:

I am here in Camden for my third Pop!Tech conference, where culture and technology come together, presented by today’s greatest writers and thinkers. Today there were special pre-conference sessions. I went to see Joe Navarro, a retired FBI profiler, who spoke about nonverbal communications. Among the gems he imparted to us:

  • We are constantly transmitting information by how we present ourselves, our
    actions, expressions and how we choose or not choose to appear.
  • Our limbic brain controls our emotions and “gut” reactions; thinking is not involved.
  • Pointing with one finger is one of the most offensive things you can do. Use
    your whole hand to wave, instead.
  • When we get away with something or when we get caught, we do the “tongue jut,” ala McCain after the last debate.
  • The most honest part of anyone’s body is his or her feet. Watch where they are
    pointing, or not pointing. That will tell you everything. The face is the least
  • The weak never assess or adjust their judgment if a situation or person is a threat or not a threat. Think of paranoid schizos.
  • Watch what happens when you shake hands with someone. Do they back up? They need more space.
  • Watch people who display their thumbs out of their pockets, like doctors or politicians or even Sarah Palin. It means, “We are not equals.”
  • Always frame people in blue; it is soothing and also a demonstration of power.
  • If you want someone to rememeber something, present it in yellow against a blue background.
  • Life is a movie, not a photograph. But you can tell a lot from a photograph.
  • To establish an empathatic channel with someone, use the same word as they do.
  • A head tilt is one of the most powerful comfort signals there is. Abusive
    mothers do not tilt their heads toward their children.
  • You can tell which child a parent favors by his or her body language. Watch for the weaker, more relaxed leg toward the favored child.
  • There is no single behavior that is indicative of deception; just look for indicators of stress. Which you can find out about in Navarro’s book, “What Every Body Is Saying.”

Before I tell you about how I made a geek of myself in front of one of my heroes, I will tell you that I made a new friend upon checkout, and we are suddenly BFFs and tomorrow AM we will go to yoga where he promises to teach me to fly! (It involves me balancing my pelvis on the soles of his feet.)

OK, so we’re leaving the cocktail party, walking up the blustery, leafy streets of Camden, and a guy with a radical mop of hair asks us where the restauarant is and is the party still going on. I take a look and without thinking, I blurt out, “Are you Malcolm?”
“Yes I am.”
I introduce myself and tell him I am a huge fan. And of course he thanks me.

This is Malcolm “Blink” and “The Tipping Point” Gladwell.

And then we told him where the party was and send him on his way. And I start hyperventilating and staggering up the street because I have read his work and it has affected me most profoundly. And then my new friend Michael and I start emailing and texting people that we just met Malcolm Gladwell as we say “holy shit” to each other over and over again.

This is going to be an amazing conference. It feels like the first day of the best semester ever. Holy crap. Malcolm Gladwell.

I am such a geek.

Vanessa McGradyPop!Tech – Day 1 – Speaking the Unspoken

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