Five things I learned from interviewing Allan Pease

Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Allan Pease, communications guru at the Recovery Summit.  He and his wife Barbara are multiple-time best selling authors, world-renowned speakers and communication trainers. 

We had a conversation about selling, communicating and pitching over Video Conference. Fascinating and fun because Allan is high energy and practices what he preaches. Watch the whole thing here.

Here’s five things I learned.

  1. The good thing about screens is that you can stare more than you can in person.  You can look for non-verbal cues more easily than you can in a real life meeting. In Western cultures we look away a third of the time we’re talking to someone.  Of course, on video conference to “make eye contact” you do need to stare at the camera, but when you’re in ‘listening mode” feel free to stare away at the person speaking. See what cues you can pick up from them – do you see any of the following? 
  2. Both in person and on video conference you can make someone feel welcome, accepted and show you are listening – by leaning forward.  As Allan says, “now you might not even notice consciously I leaned forward but your mind tells you – hey, this guy’s leaning forward he really wants to hear what I got to say.” When the person you’re speaking to leans back a little it is a signal they’ve got something to say. 
  3. When you smile, show your teeth. Chimpanzees do the same thing – when you smile and the corners of your mouth come back and go slightly up, it signals ‘non-aggression. In monkey language it is called the ‘play face.’ According to Allan, primates are the only land animal that – when we show our teeth – it doesn’t signal we’re going to bite! 
  4. Eyebrow flashes – where you widen your eyes and raise your eyebrows – is a seriously ancient form of communication – means I see you.  I acknowledge you. Monkeys do it and you can find examples of it being used throughout history in cultures on every part of the globe.  Apparently in Samoa – it’s used instead of a handshake.
  5. Speaking of handshakes, since we won’t be doing those anytime soon, Allan recommends the heart hello.  It’s based on primate behaviour – when you put your hand on your heart you’re signaling loyalty, love, allegiance.  Then lean forward slightly, keeping eye contact. It shows you’re friendly and sincere but not submissive.  Dr. Tedros of the WHO is doing this and it’s already used in the Middle East.