Micro-expressions reveal your true feelings in virtual meetings

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Are you worried, tired, frustrated, angry or anxious? You don’t need to tell the person on the other side of the virtual meeting about it, they can see it almost instantly.

There are definitely times when it is okay to reveal your true feelings, especially with family or friends. But at a professional virtual meeting or a remote job interview, you might want to show yourself off at your best.

There are two things going on. First, it’s natural to feel stressed out in this COVID-ravaged economy. Anxiety, frustration, the pressure of increasing workloads, or the stress of not having a job weighs down on us all in one way or another.

Second, emotional contagion means that we, as social beings, are programmed to pick up on another person’s emotions and do so quickly. The most contagious emotions are those to which our species must be sensitive: fear and joy.

After speaking with skilled negotiators from the FBI and the US Department of Defense, I can tell you that trying to hide your emotions is a losing strategy. The micro-expressions on your face and small gestures of body language will give you away. They are almost impossible to control.

You might be thinking, “Well, even though I’m frustrated because it’s my tenth virtual job interview, I’m just going to smile and they won’t notice. “

Bad news. Your strategy will not work. There is a difference between a fake smile and a real smile from a place of joy. Our brains are hardwired to detect differences. A roll of the eyes, a grimace, or a little nod of the head leaves subtle clues as to what you are really thinking.

Do you know that feeling when your “gut” tells you something is wrong? Your gut is your brain’s old wiring mechanism. And it is a well-tuned machine.

One solution is cognitive reassessment: transforming a negative emotion into a positive one. By reframing your internal narrative, you won’t have to worry about micro-expressions, as your facial signals and body language will send out positive waves.

“The way we frame something affects not only our thinking but our emotional state,” writes a PhD in psychology. Maria Konnikova in The biggest bluff.

Konnikova is a writer who gave up a full time assignment for a magazine in order to continue learning the game of poker from scratch. In two years, she had won $ 300,000.

Konnikova told me that her training in psychology had certainly helped her, as did her training with a legendary poker champion.

Konnikova learned to listen to small gestures of body language that revealed a person’s inner thinking. During a poker tournament, she learned to watch a person’s hands. How a person got cards or placed a bet communicated a lot of critical information about their state of mind.

Although she relied more on the hands than on facial expressions, the fact is that small gestures act like “sayings”, which broadcast our inner thoughts to others.

Konnikova echoes what other psychologists and academics have learned. Namely, that the internal words you use to frame your situation are the story you are showing to the world.

If you laugh at something out of your control (a bad hand, a pandemic), people will see it play out in your expressions and gestures.

In my conversation with Konnikova, she said, “If you focus on the wrong things, you are going to be oppressed and it is not a pleasure to be there. You will lose friends, opportunities, and you will not be able to see the lucky things when they are in front of you.

The thoughts you dwell on the most are the stories you tell the world.

The seeds of resilience are planted when you recognize that, yes, the cards may have been against you in the last hand – an event beyond your control – but if you keep making the right decisions and persist in your vision, you win more often than you lose.

People want to be surrounded by positive people. Check with yourself before your next virtual meeting. Pay attention to your internal thoughts, words, and narratives. He will “tell” others what you really think.

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