Sets a whole new standard

Christoph Arnold

Describing Michael is somewhat like being asked to describe Picasso. You first look and think, “Hm, this is interesting.” Then you realize that you can’t describe it, but it’s something very distinctive going on. You constantly are drawn in and infected with something like a beautiful piece of art that calls you and says, “Come here and pay attention.”

I was first a student of Michael’s in 1984. I followed, studied, worked with him over the years and would regard him as the preeminent expert on paralinguistics – non-verbal communication. His warmth and availability defies what I would call, as a behavioral scientist, the sophistication of the unique applied science that he practices and experiments in. It’s difficult to describe without using almost Picasso language – or a little like describing a really good wine. The words don’t come freely.

He is a great character and has the extraordinary capacity to, over the years, continue to raise the bar. Each time I’m in his presence, I look and think, “Hm, I’ve got more to do here.” He stimulates my thinking and he sets a standard of being present, attentive, alert – with individuals and groups – that sets a whole new standard of managing a group of people. And it goes way beyond managing to a sense of liberating in both business and my world of science and personal [development]. And he blends it with such dignity and such humanness that I consider – the only way I can describe it is unique. It is Picasso-ish in its nature.

He’s an extraordinary human being, who I feel almost out of position to be acknowledging and describing to somebody else. Truly one of the few geniuses that I’ve had the good fortune of coming across and working with.