What Airline Security can teach us about winning new business

In my last Blog, I spent a little time looking at the L of the “L-WAR”

Listen – Watch, Anticipate and React.

We looked at how, sometimes, we don’t listen as effectively as we should and how, with some additional care and attention, opening our ears and delaying our desire to speak or “broadcast” first, we become so much more successful.

But listening is only one element of the L-WAR. How abut what is going on – visually?

The ability to calmly WATCH – to observe what is happening and combine that essential data with what you hear, arms you with a far clearer and more valuable insight.

The ability to “see” opportunities, challenges and dangers before they happen is a valuable skill.

The Visual Signals

As you know, in the USA, there has been a lot of discussion over the last few months about TSA security checks at airports and how we are all screened before boarding flights in the US.

Often, Israel is cited as demonstrating better practice when it comes to airport security.

The main reason stated is that they watch passenger behavior, especially when asking those passengers a number of questions.

What the Israeli security teams do, as you check in, is ask you a set of basic questions – your answers, however, are only a small part of the test. The WAY you look and what you do with your eyes, hands and bodies – that’s the real insight.

And so it should be in business. Watch your clients and colleagues for the body language they give off during meetings.

As you explain your ideas and concepts do they lean forward (suggesting interest) or sit back (displaying a cooler reaction). Are they nodding as you speak (Indicating that they are happy for you to continue) or staring blankly(meaning: move on to something else…and quick). Do they check their watch (pressed for time) fiddle with jewelry (impatient or uncomfortable). Do they look down (a possible lie) during certain sensitive topics or are they crossing their arms (holding something back from you or protecting themselves from your onslaught) ….

There are many well known and less well known signals to be on the lookout for, but – and this is the key – you should ALWAYS be watching. As long as you truly LISTEN to what they say, and combine those words with the visual, unspoken messages that they display, you are becoming an even better communicator.

Only by combining these two actions can you start to truly put yourself in their shoes and ANTICIPATE what they might need to hear from you and what they would WANT to buy from you.

This is the L-WAR – and it’s worth every moment of your time!

I would love to know what else you watch out for or believe to be a key unspoken signal or message. I have enabled comments on my blog atwww.markjeffries.com/blog. Submit your comments and the best idea will get a free copy of “The Art of Business Seduction”


  • Lisa says:

    Hi Mark, Great aricle.

    Other things I watch out for or believe to be a key unspoken signals are where people look just before they answer a qestion.

    We all store information and memories visually, audibly or kinesthetically. Watch where a persons eyes flick to straight after you’ve asked them a question. If their eyes look up they have stored a visual about what they are remembering, if they look sideways they are recalling something they have heard or someone told them. If they look down they are remembering a feeling or self talk. So What? Well! If you ask someone, so what do you think of xyz and they looks sideways, they are remembering something they heard about. Its useful to build rapport with people to speak in the language they recall things in. You can notice their eye movement and say ‘oh, really? Where did you hear that??’ and they will be amazed!

    • Mark says:


      Thanks for that smart insight – I love it!!

      …and most important of all – you are watching. You care and you respond!!



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