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Channel your inner psychopath for career success

02 June 2014

Gestures for positive communication

According to expert studies, 20 percent of corporate leaders are high on psychopathic scores and can spot weakness in others. Presentation coach and business woman Dr Louise Mahler believes: “To remain part of the game - and not become ‘the’ game - it is important to develop the same abilities.”

Surprisingly, this entrepreneurial business woman explains, when people see you exhibit what are essentially psychopath traits they translate those abilities positively as excellent communication skills.

It’s another reason, Louise believes, why women in business should recognise and know how to exploit the traits for career and personal success.

Louise has degrees in economics, music teaching and performance, as well as a PhD in the field of communications. She has lived and performed as a singer in Europe and has sung in Czech, Russian, German, French, Italian, and, of course, but not happily, English.

“Singing in any other language is better than singing in English. English is the only language that has a ‘th’ – ‘the’ – sound. The tongue comes out of the mouth, which means you have to close your mouth and block the sound, and that’s counterintuitive to singing. Diphthongs – sliding vowels - also make it hard,” Louise explains.

An expert in the field of the psychology of face-to-face engagement, Louise uses her skills in performance and communication in her presentation work.

If you are to be a powerful, persuasive communicator, she believes you must learn how to channel your inner psychopath.

“Psychopaths are great observers. They actually observe weakness and they use that to pick their perfect victims,” says Louise.

“Within us all,” she continues, “are psychopath tendencies. However, as functional human beings we can use those tendencies for good rather than evil.”

Business success tips

Here are Louise’s top tips for channelling your inner psychopath for corporate career success.

  1. Psychopaths hold your eye contact. If you think about it, it makes sense. If you can’t hold eye contact you can’t see what other people are doing. People also trust people who hold eye contact. Most people interpret moving your eyes away when you’re asked a question and you’re thinking as being shifty. It’s not actually the case but that  is the way people perceive it. Psychopaths never miss a trick but they also don’t blink. You do have to blink, every four seconds, or you will just come across as creepy. Nodding and smiling also help soften the eye contact without losing it.
  2. Psychopaths hold their gestures. Make your gestures big. Take the gesture up, hold them, hold them still and for as many seconds as possible because it will command attention and draw people to follow you. Don’t, as most of us do when we point or gesture, immediately flick the arm back to the body or shake the hand, it denotes indecisiveness/weakness.
  3. Psychopaths read the breath: breath that’s high in the chest is stress breath. Stress breath indicates anxiety, fear and a position of vulnerability. Hold the breath low in your body, that’s where the power is. You want your power in your lower back not in your chest, so don’t thrust your upper body forward as it signals weakness, a last ditch effort. When walking or standing, tip your pelvis under and your knee will move forward and come first allowing you to lead with your lower body. That is a more powerful and commanding position from which to come.
  4. Keep your jaw relaxed, psychopaths never clench their jaw. Hold your tongue near the roof of your mouth and it will keep your jaw relaxed.

Incorporate all four traits into your communication repertoire, and Louise believes as a business woman you will command respect.



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