Following on from yesterday’s blog post, we are carrying on looking at 12 different ways to navigate and survive the maze that is your firm’s office politics. Here are the last four ways:

9. Learn to read non-verbal body language. Very often the first sign of trouble will be seen in someone’s body language, rather than what they are actually saying. When you are in meetings or talking with people, tune into their body language as well as what they are actually saying.

10. Be cautious about initial or rigid assessment of people. You may do a reasonable job trying to read a person and form an initial judgment, but it may be wrong or it could change over time.

11. Have a kitbag of tools and tactics to help you get things done. Whatever its culture, as discussed earlier, every firm has its own ways of doing things and when it comes to getting things done there are a multitude of ways you can do it. For example, you could try the direct approach, or you could speak to your mentor and get them to test the water on your behalf, first. Some of these tactics are more effective and acceptable than others. Some people get into trouble because they treat all situations as the same. Do your research about the most effective ways to get things done appropriately. People who are politically savvy pick their time, pace, style, tone and tactics based upon an evaluation of what would work best in each situation. We all have a number of ways in which we can behave if we want to. It’s the one-trick ponies that get into political trouble because they don’t adjust what they say and do for each audience.

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12. Avoid being too black and white. Being too black and white often leaves you very little room to manoeuvre and extreme views can very often switch other people off. These may be the very people you need to influence or befriend. To avoid being seen this way, where possible, make the business case, first. Be more tentative than you actually want to be, so others have room to get comfortable and negotiate and bargain.

What other tips or techniques would you add to this list to help others be more politically savvy?

Click here to download our free guide to surviving your firm's politics. (email required)

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