Body language lost in translation

10 May 2011
Saint Homobonus, patron saint of procurementFollowing our feature on body language in the April issue, some alternative interpretations have come to light – and most result in the same outcome. Does undoing a top button and loosening tie really signify a willingness to negotiate? Not necessarily, says our expert. “I ask myself ‘Why is this person undressing?’ Then I leave the room.” Your opponent is tilting their head to one side, supported by a hand: “Perhaps you have walked in while they are rehearsing for an am-dram production. Leave the room.” Are they moving forwards to emphasise a point? “This is a bit of an invasion of your personal space. It would probably be wise to check for concealed weapons,” he advises. Opponent glaring at you? “Have a quick think: have you forgotten their birthday? Are you parked in their reserved parking space? Are you accidentally wearing the same tie/blouse/beret/handlebar moustache as them?” If in doubt, leave the room. Hot shots more likely to play away People of both genders are more likely to have an affair if they are in powerful jobs, according to researchers at Tilburg University in Holland. This means that as the number of women in top positions increases, female infidelity is set to rise too. Which made me wonder, does this apply to upwardly thrusting procurement professionals? Has your libido increased along with your remit and spend influence? Are CPOs wielding power in the bedroom as well as the boardroom? Do let us know (but not too many details. I am a saint, you know). Are you fit for purpose? “Britain’s fittest director” has been named after a nationwide search by the Daily Telegraph. David Ball, founder of London events and marketing agency BrandFuel, is marking his 50th birthday with a seven-day, 250 km run across the Kalahari Desert. To my disappointment, there was not a single procurement or supply chain professional among the 20 finalists. What does this say about the profession? Are you all too busy working on your bottom lines, rather than your bottoms? Shoppers take advantage of supermarket offer Tesco has been forced to change its offer to refund double the difference on products bought for less in Asda, claiming that a “cottage industry of savvy and determined people” had been making money from the deal. Tesco said in a statement: “They identify products which are on short-term promotion in Asda then buy them at Tesco, claim the coupons through Price Check, buy more of the same products with the coupons and go on recycling coupons in this way just to make money. “We commend their ingenuity and determination, but that wasn’t why we set up Price Check.” Perhaps suppliers could emulate this policy by changing the terms of their own contracts if they think Tesco is getting too good a deal? Anyone for a commemorative cucumber? Waitrose saw cucumber sales rocket by 50 per cent in the lead-up to the royal wedding, according to The Independent. The reason? Cucumber is, the newspaper helpfully explains, “the key ingredient in cucumber sandwiches”. Having not seen a single cucumber sandwich over the bank holiday period, I am more inclined to go for the Daily Mail’s explanation, which linked the cucumber’s sudden popularity (and a 70 per cent rise in strawberries) with a whopping 316 per cent rise in sales of Pimms.
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