This post by Dennis E. Coates on the importance of being in the moment and paying attention sparks several reflections:
- Listen for what people mean, not just for what they say.
- Consider their choice of words.
- Look for what they didn't say.
- Watch for mixed signals, such as body language that conflicts with the spoken message.
- Beware of signals of problems hidden within positive reports. Warning signs are often wrapped in upbeat language.
- Consider who is in the room and how that may affect candor.
- Consider vagueness as an alarm bell.
- Watch for the use of details in instances where details would normally not be provided. They may be part of an effort to distract or deceive.
- Check out the timing and the order of the message. Has little time been given to an important issue?
- Review the premises that are used. If flawed, they will lead you down the wrong road.
- Look for "apples and oranges" comparisons.
- Separate style from substance. Have flash and fireworks been used to cover a hollow shell?
- Soak in as much information as possible before analyzing.
- Ask questions to get a picture; almost as if you are writing a stage play.
- Check for gaps in the chronology.
- Know the context.
- Consider a multitude of motives.
- Watch for the reward systems - both formal and informal - that are in play.