I’ve been in retail sales for over 10 years and understand the importance of a positive experience. Over that time, I have recognized one customer that is more difficult to deal with than others, and that’s the customer wearing sunglasses. Look closely and a person’s pupils will dilate when they are excited. I’ve used this on the sales floor. If my customer’s pupils dilate slightly at any time, they probably like what I am saying and are more prone to buying behaviour. Combine that with positive body language (nod of the head, leaning in, good eye contact), and I know I have created a positive cybernetic loop that will likely result in the desired outcome, in this case a sale. On the other hand, if my customer is reacting negatively (leaning back, shaking their head, looking away), I can use those reactions to quickly make adjustments in order to create and insert them into a positive loop.[quote cite=’Jim Rohn’ align=’right’]You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.[/quote]

In any social interaction, we immediately engage in a dance of cybernetic feedback, acting and reacting to the actions and reactions of our counterpart. The information that we unconsciously gather in those first few seconds based on our counterpart’s body language, tone and volume of voice, eye contact, or the words they use, may result in an unconscious reaction. Bringing your unconscious reactions to the forefront and recognizing this cybernetic loop early is critical to steering any social interaction.

Jim Rohn says, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” I love surrounding myself with entrepreneurs. They exude positivity. Entering into a positive, energetic, and optimistic cybernetic loop means that I will unconsciously react positively with more energy and with more optimism. My counterpart will pick up on those cues and react the same way. Subsequently, I am met with even more positivity, more energy, and more optimism, and in turn…..well, you get the idea.

Understanding and recognizing that your actions will produce a certain set of unconscious reactions is the first step in steering your social interactions. Smile. Make eye contact. Lean in. Choose your words carefully. Unless you’re dealing with a psychopath or some form of AI, your counterpart will return those actions in kind and engage with you in a positive cybernetic loop.

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The Author

Rob Barisoff

Rob Barisoff

President of Bidsy.com, a website that connects customers and respected local businesses. Reaching out to small business owners, Rob recently created and is the host of a #1 business podcast on iTunes, Bidsy's Small Business Society.


  1. Marylane Marchuk
    June 26, 2016 at 9:47 am — Reply

    Thank you. The 5 people average is an easy way to grasp “surrounding yourself with the type of people you want to most resemble” concept. It made me see all of myself and reflect clearly on my choice of people…..thanks again.

    • June 26, 2016 at 10:23 pm — Reply

      I love that quote so much, and I’m glad it speaks to you, too!

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