If you want to read the room, read a good book. Grab a good book and follow along for the inevitable conclusion — as it unfolds.
What’s going on?
Do you sometimes struggle to “get it” when it comes to knowing what’s happening in a one-on-one or in a gathering? Otherwise known as “reading the room?”
It’s a story.
Remember that everything is a story. Every negotiation, every decision, every day. Sometimes you struggle to figure out why your romantic partner is upset with you or not responding to you in a way that makes sense to you. Other times you’re in a business meeting. You know something is wrong or missing, but you can’t quite figure out why it isn’t making sense to you. In these and other cases, remember: everything is a story.
Where is this story going? You don’t feel confident predicting what’s going to happen next, and where this whole thing is going.
Reading a good book gives you the chance to follow along from the first sentence to its inevitable conclusion — with nothing personal at stake. For example: the short novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King. In just 111 pages, you get to watch a story unfold to its inevitable conclusion.
Watch it unfold.
From the opening sentence of Shawshank, you want to know what’s going to happen:
There’s a guy like me in every state and federal prison in America, I guess — I’m the guy who can get it for you.
You won’t be surprise by the inevitable ending of this short novella, after all the twists and turns, once you get used to reading a good story, well-told.
It’s inevitable: by the end of the story, Red will become the man for whom someone else will get for him what he needs.
Since you’ve probably seen the movie, you know that Andy Dufresne will be the man to get it for him, but you don’t know that at the beginning. In fact, you might think Shawshank is about Andy, when really it’s about Red.
All we know as the story begins is that Red is the man who can get it for you. But as the story unfolds, you realize that while Red can get anything for you, he can’t get for himself what he most wants. For that, he needs help.
Just for fun.
Watch to this brief clip (about 3 minutes) from the movie, and then come right back for today’s takeaway.
If you want to learn to read the room, read a good book.
Want more help?
I can help you read the room.