Reading Signals

Melissa McCarthy, while touting her new film Can You Ever Forgive Me? called herself a “dinosaur” because she doesn’t text, email or tweet. Instead, she observes human behavior and incorporates those insights into her characters. All well-trained actors, sketch artists, and scientists have highly developed observational skills.

McCarthy also mentioned how often people have their faces glued to their phones, instead of being engaged in conversation. We agree. Keeping current is necessary, but not at the risk of retreating from human interactions. In the mid-1990’s, during construction of the Pan-American Highway, indigenous Colombian peoples were drawn to incandescent lights, seeing them for the first time. Many camped beneath the otherworldly lights and never left. Are we so different?

Devote time to studying human behavior. You’ll be amazed by the diversity of gestures and modes of communication. These observations will expand your expressive playbook, give you great speaking material, and better allow you to connect with any audience.

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