5 Common Body Language Fails

We all know how to prepare for an important meeting; we do our research, practice our pitch and polish our shoes, but we could be letting ourselves down before we even speak.

You may have been told the basics & the glaringly obvious; don’t fidget, bite your nails or cross your arms or smile inanely, to name a few, but there are some less obvious that can help or hinder your communication and ultimately improve the outcome of the meeting, securing the deal or engaging with stakeholders:

  • Before entering a meeting don’t check your phone

This can be interpreted as an unwillingness to communicate with people in the same room. It now seems the norm that if people have a spare second or two they check their phones. Instead, read a magazine or newspaper or look around the room at others waiting and strike up a conversation with someone who is not immersed in the digital world – you may end up talking to a potential client or read an interesting article that could act as an ice breaker.

  • When meeting someone for the first time make sure not to invade their personal space

Leaning forward can make someone think that you want something from them or be perceived as invading their personal space. To make sure you don’t lean in and seem overly keen try putting your weight on your back foot: this will stop the leaning and give you a slightly more confident/relaxed posture. Different cultures have different comfort zones when it comes to personal space, some preferring greater distances than others.

  • Head tilting

Tilting your head sideways when making a statement can undermine the point you are trying to make. In many ways head tilting can be positive, a reassurance at times, as it can convey empathy, thought and understanding. But be aware when you are using it. In certain situations it can be appropriate. Different head tilts can indicate the undertones of a question; for example tilting your head down while asking a question communicates disapproval compared with someone tilting their head to the side, which communicates interest.

  • Don’t maintain constant eye contact

Looking wide-eyed at the person you are meeting for the whole duration for the conversation may be interpreted as being intimidating or aggressive. In natural conversations you usually break eye contact within 7-10 seconds, but in a pressured situation you may forget this and end up staring. Looking away briefly to blink and relax might also help you pick up on their body language that could help you to interpret the thoughts and feelings underlying their words.

  • Over-gesturing

Over-gesturing can communicate nervousness. Gesturing can be helpful when trying to convey an important point but waving your arms around too much may distract from what you’re saying. Practice active listening by nodding to show that you are paying attention or agree with what someone is saying but be careful not to do this much as it may be misread as obsequious, or lacking personal autonomy.

Brexit: The Road Ahead for IT

Brexit: The Road Ahead for IT

The scale of divisiveness brought on by the UK Referendum underpins the profound importance of an agile, global landscape, which has enough resilience to counter disruptive and unexpected events. The fall-out of the referendum has yet to play out or elucidate how and when substantial changes to the status quo will manifest. As procurement experts we must define how the sourcing industry can navigate turbulence ahead and mitigate risk on the wider scale.

Areas of obvious relevance are EU data regulations v UK DPA law and the OJEU regulations. Certainly there is enough here to keep London lawyers sleeping at the office, indefinitely.

Joking aside, on data protection, it will be diligent planning and foresight that is critical. But should we be unduly concerned about the landscape ahead? Not according to Peter Galdies, Development Director from Data Compliance firm DQM GRC:

“In my view the long term impact of a “Brexit” on the legislative framework for privacy will probably not be hugely significant”

He goes on to say that the received estimate of a two year negotiating wait may in all likelihood end up being anywhere between 3-6 years, after Article 50 is invoked:

“It is also highly likely that the UK (now with a strong new commissioner with a proven history of backing and enforcing consumer rights) will adopt a legislation directly modelled on the GDPR (as we will also need to do with the other legislations, such as worker’s rights and other similar good laws that protect the rights of the individual which will now need replacing),” said Galdies.

“The pressure to negotiate a strong trade deal with the EU will also drive the adoption of ‘mirroring’ legislation – designed to minimise the barriers to continued trade,” said Galdies.

With the UK’s Information Commissioners Office (ICO) saying future data protection laws must be commensurate to that of Europe, it remains an on-going process how we adapt:

“The Data Protection Act remains the law of the land irrespective of the referendum result,” said an ICO spokesperson.

“If the UK is not part of the EU, then upcoming EU reforms to data protection law would not directly apply to the UK, but if the UK wants to trade with the Single Market on equal terms we would have to prove ‘adequacy’ – in other words UK data protection standards would have to be equivalent to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) framework starting in 2018.”

The latest rules on data protection General Data Protection Regulations (GDRP) were given the stamp of approval by Brussels in 2015 and due to come into force by 2018 for the EU, and potentially the UK if the two year exit plan is still underway.

From another perspective, if a business handles EU citizen data, the laws will still need to be met by the service provider

So GDPRs are going to affect business’ offering any service to the EU market, independent of where your data is held. One of the new provisions that raises the bar for service providers is that essentially anyone who touches your data gains responsibility.

Whether, as some legal experts predict, the new rules will affect every entity that holds European data both in and outside Europe or whether as global firms indicate the new laws will increase costs of doing business in Europe, remains to be seen. But it is certainly galvanising enough for us to need a significant forward plan.

Ultimately the UK’s DPA will need to enact stronger rules in order to provide equivalency with the enhanced EU rules, to enable UK firms to do business with remaining EU members.

A further complication are the revised EU-US Privacy Shield, which is replacing Safe Harbor. This has been set for review by EU member states, and according to Reuters a vote is expected in July. But should companies be unduly concerned about what lies ahead with the advent of a new data sharing landscape?

These macro level laws aside, in practical terms for UK organisations it will boil down to;

  • If you need to get your data back
  • Where is it?
  • How much will it cost to do so
  • What are the provisions in your current contracts?
  • Are there exit schedules that define who is to do what, by when and for how much?

All of these points are within control of UK companies, and form part of besrt practice in terms of IT contract auditing and awareness.

 Cyber Security

The air of uncertainty is particularly pungent around Cyber Security and what kind of framework the UK will adopt post Brexit.

Businesses may in the short term become more vulnerable to cyber attack given the potential for bureaucratic loopholes; with 40% of IT professionals forewarning of greater exposure to cyber crime this cannot be dismissed as hyperbole. Given the amorphous and evolving nature of cyber crime we must continually seek to adapt and ensure the IT supply chain is appropriately secured.

A significant proportion of cyber breaches have occurred not inside the victims own firewall or environment, but within that of a third party supplier, by which the cyber criminals then gain access.

Essentially a more complicated set of EU/US/UK DPA laws can only add to the risk of companies not being adequately protected from a contractual viewpoint.

Free Movement

The biggest medium to long- term threat would be the restriction of free movement. If free movement is off the table, the larger SI houses may seek to centralise in favour of Europe, which would mean a restriction of European IT skills coming to London

In addition, Visa restrictions could drive up costs as well as providing operational challenges. As an example, 50 staff from an Indian SI house were deported from a UK client site last year, due to inadequate travel visas. Should free movement be restricted and visas necessary for EU based staff, the same problems could arise.

In the event that we follow Norway and Switzerland by maintaining access to the single market, much of the initial fear and headache emanating from lack of free movement will be resolved. Again, it is too early to predict which way the negotiations will go.

With two years to exit, organisations do have the time they need to forward plan and consider the impact on their supply bases.

Conclusion

 With many companies facing an uncertain trajectory in the wake of Brexit it remains prudent to watch and wait until more of the jigsaw is in place.

From a risk management standpoint it is both prudent and best practice to audit and log all your IT & Telco contracts, to have a good awareness of what you have and where any current problems lie.