Education Career Services

February 11, 2010

Peyton’s misfire attributed to an acute case of Malus-Nonverbalis-Communicatis!

Peyton's Case of Malus-Nonverbalis-CommunicatisManning’s intercepted pass with 3:12 left in the game gave New Orleans a 14-point cushion and sealed Indianapolis’s second place finish.  The Saints went on to win Super Bowl XLIV 31-17

Arguably the best game-manager to ever quarterback a football game, Peyton Manning was in control of the tempo from the opening drive to half-time. 

In an abrupt about-face, the second-half had sports-fans stunned.  The Saint’s began accumulating momentum and Manning grasped at regaining control.  What happened to Peyton?  Was it fate or was there something behind the Colts’ demise?  Reports coming out of the Indianapolis locker-room during half-time allege Peyton was saying a lot without saying much.  This may not seem like much of an indicator, but to this career management professional the symptoms all pointed to the dreaded: Malus-Nonverbalis-Communicatis

It is no secret that a major part of communication is body language.  Unconsciously, we make decisions that disclose the quality of communication.  Of course, not all body language is the same for everyone.  In the case of Peyton Manning, the New Orleans’ defensive back, Tracy Porter, had been studying the Colts’ body language for the past two weeks.  “Through numerous amounts of film study we’ve done all week, when the route came, it felt like I was watching it on film”, Porter told reporters after the game. 

Becoming aware of our own, and other’s body language, will help guide a successful interview.  After all, body language is the link that fuses with spoken words, revealing a person’s behavior pattern. 

So, how can one optimize our use of body language?  The recommended answer is video-recording a mock interview and reviewing the practice session with a peer.  There are two things to overcome: camera shyness and reluctance toward study.  If there is one truth it is this: life is all about homework.  Think about it.  What car insurance to choose?  What cell phone plan to go with?  Which cologne/perfume to buy?  All of those things require you to smell the different fragrances, and then make the choice that best suits you.  Guess what, that’s homework!  So, it’s time to get over it and start succeeding. 

Number two, shyness has no place in an interview.  You will experience an exponential improvement if you diffuse in advance the discomfort often experienced during an interview by overcoming on the ‘silliness’ of watching yourself on tape.  Why record yourself simulating an interview?  Because facial expressions have a huge impact.  You may think you are saying one thing, but your face is telling another story.  The body doesn’t lie… natural spontaneity often spills the beans when left to its own devices. 

Luckily, this is a reciprocating truth.  In other words, by understanding the INTERVIEWER’S non-verbal behavior, you can gauge your progress and adjust accordingly, if you need to.  The following are some examples of what to look out for: 

  • If the interviewer touches her nose, she may be disapproving of something you are saying.  If she looks at her watch or shuffles papers, you’re not on the right track.  Or, alternatively, her nose just might very well be itching.  Use your instinct to distinguish between the two; it’ll often be right.
  • If she leans toward you, she is engaged and is listening, really taking you seriously.
  • If she is leaning back into the chair, she is evaluating you with a critical eye.
  • If your interviewer suddenly switches gears – from relaxing in her chair to sitting upright, for example – you may have said something she needs to evaluate from a different perspective.
  • You can often tell a difficult question is coming if the interviewer places her fingertips together in an upright, steeple-like fashion.  These actions signal a disconnect with the interviewer thinking of what she will say next; perhaps considering how to say something unpleasant/uncomfortable, or ask a difficult, emotionally-charged question.

Without grasping the significance of body language and what it is communicating, the person on the receiving end will generate a feeling or impression that is difficult to explain.  This phenomenon is also described as intuition.  The Saints’ Tracey Porter had an intuition and he trusted it.  The rest is Super Bowl history. 

Prepared and submitted by Charles Montoya, Senior Writer 

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International 
Education Career Services
407-206-5883 (direct line) 
866-794-3337 ext 110 


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