Books

Hidden In Plain Sight

Communications Secrets You Are Just Not Seeing

Long before the COVID pandemic locked down the world, driving people (literally six feet) apart, our social skills were waning. Social media’s rise tracked with a decline in interpersonal skills. At board meetings, directors spent more time looking at screens than the person beside them. Chatter at the water cooler went digital as coworkers IM’d each other—rather than converse. And parents lent kids their phones when dining out to get a moment’s peace.

Unfortunately, this regression couldn’t come at a worse time. AI is gobbling up jobs, making once profitable industries obsolete. As automation advances inexorably, experts predict proficiency in social interactions will be one of the most marketable skill sets—and safest for job security. Robots can’t compete with humans possessing exemplary soft skills.

At least not yet.

But rather than emphasizing these abilities in our culture, they are being phased out as some sort of relic. Meanwhile, our once socially adept society atrophies. But while Tik Tok garners ever more eyeballs and Metaverse construction begins, danger looms. As more schools and colleges switch to remote teaching and offices rely on virtual meetings, we risk not only losing these aptitudes, but allowing them to be so underdeveloped, that their deficit jeopardizes civility, preventing us from interacting as authentic humans.

Now, what if we were to tell you it’s not only possible to regain our dwindling faculties, but to improve them? What if we also were to show you that an iceberg of actionable clues lies hidden beneath the surface of our social encounters—accessible to all? This is the promise of Hidden in Plain Sight.

We all possess a pattern we continuously reveal through what we say and do (and what we don’t say or do). How we look also plays a part, along with the contents of our office—now visible to the world via Zoom, Webex, and Microsoft Teams. Each of us can learn to identify this pattern through what we call “tells.” Like the discerning poker player who decides whether to hold or fold from watching his opponent’s face, we, too, can learn how to read others.

But this book does not offer shifty techniques to manipulate people. Rather, it shows readers how to cultivate healthy influence based on our natural impulse to be acknowledged and understood. Featuring stories spanning personal and business realms, Hidden in Plain Sight unlocks latent abilities. Providing insight into complex scientific and social forces, it also demonstrates how business professionals and executives can better lead their organizations.

Empowered with this knowledge, practitioners of these communications secrets will enjoy improved personal and professional relationships. Possessing uncommon skills, they will better navigate conflict, facilitate negotiations, win over prospects, defuse misunderstandings, and build lasting rapport.

As it turns out, “people whisperers” are real. Even better, their skills can be taught. Though so many of us feel atomized, separated from and by the technology meant to unite us, the following material offers hope. It teaches us how to connect more with our fellow humans, transcend limiting stereotypes, and become more thoughtful leaders. In an age of miscommunication when people feel unseen and unheard, Hidden in Plain Sight reveals startling truths essential to reconnection we can’t afford to lose.