From Harvard Business Review

Knowing how to read between the lines and pick up on colleagues’ subtle social cues is a critical skill. After all, there’s often an explicit conversation happening in a meeting or around the water cooler — and a tacit one. The best way to take the temperature of a room is to pay attention to the people in it. Note who’s next to whom, who’s relaxed, who’s not, who’s standing, and who’s sitting. Look at their facial expressions, posture, and body language. Then try to make sense of what you’ve observed. Reflect on possible reasons for your colleagues’ emotional states. What’s happening in their lives and in their jobs? If the atmosphere feels tense, don’t let yourself be hijacked by negativity. Instead, shift the mood using humor or empathy. Keep an eye out for positive signals, too — the executive in the corner who’s smiling, for instance — and concentrate on those. READ MORE