Beyond The Words

Bloomberg Businessweek May 17, 2021 pp43 |Strategies|”Decoding Voices at Work” “Listening only to the words can make us miss valuable information” by Arianne Cohen



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Read the Bloomberg Business article for all detail.


Summary provided by 2244


Lost in translation you might say when you read just a transcript of someone’s comments that’s because body language and voice “volume, tone, inflection, cadence and pauses” impart potentially valuable information. But Alan Cowen (Hume AI) says “decoding isn't that hard.” Hume AI has used “recordings of voices to teach software such as digital assistants to recognize emotions.” Joe Navarro, an expert on body language for the FBI, comments to “facilitate a strong connection” study clues revealing how the speaker feels, how experienced they are and they sense of their relative social/professional position. “Do they see themselves as equal or subordinate or superior?”. To connect better work on “mirroring [the speaker’s] cadence.”


Translating beyond the spoken word, some examples below.


“When your hear.../It suggests”


“A cough or throat clearing/The speaker wants to broach a difficult or controversial topic or is reluctant to reveal something.”


“Hesitation/Apprehension, or perceived apprehension”


“Fast Breathing/Stress or anxiety about the current situation”


“Slow, deliberate pace/Pensiveness. The person is carefully choosing words and cares about precise communication”


“Big Exhale/Cathartic relief after something difficult is said”


“Fast, machine-gun cadence/Rattling off information, this person is comfortable throwing out ideas without much need for deliberation”


“Animation/Passion about or personal connection to the topic…”


“Tension/Psychological discomfort from the conversation or the situation. The voice sounds strained, tight or pressed as the muscles around the larynx tense up”