Sensory Acuity is where we use our power of observation to detect subtle changes in the internal responses of people. By paying attention, we are able to glean valuable information through external indicators such as breathing rate and location, pupil dilation or constriction, the tonus of the face, deepening or lightening of the color of the face etc.
Developing sensory acuity is a preliminary skill that allows us to refine how we communicate with others and develop rapport for establishing valuable long-term relationships. When we notice a shift in any of the 5 main indicators of sensory acuity, we know that an individual is having an internal response. By using good communication skills you can then dig a little deeper to find out whether the shift is in alignment with your or their overall goal or not. From there you can then use rapport to create a mutual win/win outcome.
Having good sensory acuity helps you in reading people to create more effective communication and improved leadership skills. In order to lead people effectively you need to be able to read or gauge where they are at currently and their responsiveness to achieving desired results and the implementation of strategies and actions for succeeding in getting specific outcomes.
As a foundational tool, in and of itself, sensory acuity is not about “creating a meaning” that you ascribe to what you are observing, but rather, noticing that there is a “change” in the physiology of the individual that you are observing (they are having an internal response.) Where applicable, you can use more advanced rapport and communication skills to later interpret these “change indicators” when applying it to how a person is communicating and what they are communicating when you are interacting with them or you are observing them interacting with others.
The five unconscious external indicators that can demonstrate that there has been an internal state change are as follows:
1. Skin Color – Does it change from light to dark or visa versa? Does the skin color deepen, become more red and flushed or has it become pale or grey and look like all the blood has drained out of it?
2. Skin Tonus – (muscle tone) Does the skin look shiny or not shiny?
3. Breathing – Rate: Is the breathing rate fast or slow?
– Location: Is the breathing located high up in the chest in the upper lobes of the lungs or is it located lower down in the lower lobes of the lungs?
4. Lower Lip Size – Does the lower lip have lines or no lines? Is it looking more thin and drained of blood or is the lower lip more swollen and engorged with blood?
5. Eyes – Focus: Are the eyes focused or unfocused?
– Pupil Dilation: Are the pupils of the eyes becoming dilated or constricted or visa versa?
Next time you’re communicating with someone or a group of people, get curious! Pay attention to these 5 specific areas and observe what happens to these primary indicators.