Before attempting to “read” someone, get yourself into the correct mindset. Stay relaxed and remain fluid. Be comfortable, sit back and let the cues come to you.
Also, compare the makeup of a person to an onion:
Define four layers of an onion about a person’s being. The deeper you get into the “onion” will determine how much you can read someone.
- The skin: The interactions and conversations we have with others on a superficial level – such as someone we meet at the bus stop.
- Second layer: People whom we appreciate or get to know better, such as co-workers or classmates, rather than a random stranger, is now allowed to comprehend you better due to the comfort and trust between your relationship you have with them.
- Third layer: Relationship bonds, such as best friends and marriages.
- The core: Each person has a “core”, where the thoughts and secrets aren’t shared with anyone but oneself.
Determine which layer you are addressing or analyzing within the following techniques.
The First Technique: Observe Body Language
1. Pay Attention to Appearance
Is the subject wearing a suit (indicating that he is dressed for success), jeans and a sweatshirt (comfortable, casual), a ow-cut blouse (seductive) or a pendant such as a cross (spiritual)?
2. Observe Posture
Does the subject hold her head up high, confident? Does he cower when walking, indicating low self-esteem? Or do they swagger, a sign of a huge ego.
3. Watch The Physical Movements
- Leaning and Distance— Generally, we lean toward those we like and away from those we don’t.
- Crossed arms and legs—This pose suggests defensiveness, anger, or self-protection. When people cross their legs they tend to point the toes of the top leg towards the person they are most at ease with.
- Hiding one’s hands—When people place their hands in their laps, pockets, or put them behind their back it suggests that they are hiding something.
- Lip biting or cuticle picking—When people bite or lick their lips or pick their cuticles they are trying to soothe themselves under pressure.
The Second Technique: Listen to Your Intuition
Draw into your empathetic ability and tune into someone’s core. Beyond what someone is saying, is what that person is thinking and feeling. Intuition is the nonverbal communication that involuntarily occurs between human beings. A person’s exterior tells a story, his interior puts that story into perspective. Looking for the intuitive cues.
1. Heed your gut
When meeting someone, especially for the first time, a visceral reaction occurs before you have a chance to think. It is a survival instinct that tells you whether you can trust this person or not – your own internal truth meter.
2. Pay attention to flashes of insight
In conversation, you may get an “ah-ha” moment about someone which comes to you in a flash. Try to embed that moment into a memory that you can revisit later to further analyze the information gathered leading to that intense feeling of clarity.
3. Watch for intuitive empathy
During an empath probe, you may actually feel your own body reacting to a verbal or non-verbal cue. You can feel a sympathetic pain from a story told to you (the subject relays a childhood memory of a broken arm; you, involved in a similar injury, recall that painful memory) or feel mildly depressed after being with someone who is unusually withdrawn or depressed themselves. Identify your intuitive empathetic responses and separate them from your subject.
The Third Technique. Reading Emotional Energy
What the Chinese refer to as someone’s “chi”, we refer to as that person’s “energy”. We have all encountered people with a positive energy; they are fun and energizing to be around, as we have those emit negative energy, that which can make others in its presence feel drained, tired and emotionally void. Emotions are a stunning barometer of one’s energy.
1. Sense people’s presence
Analyze the overall energy atmosphere of your subject (regardless of words or behavior). Do they have a welcoming presence or do they give you the willies?
2. Watch people’s eyes
Our eyes transmit powerful energies. Studies indicate that the eyes project an electromagnetic energy similar to that emitting by the brain. Watch people’s eyes. Are they guarded or open? Are they compassionate, caring or angry? Try as one might to disguise one’s feelings, flashes of true emotion will inevitably appear in one’s eyes.
3. Notice the feel of a handshake, hug, and touch.
Physical contact is a shared emotional exchange – producing energy much like an electrical current. How does the handshake “feel” to you? Warm, comfortable, confident, withdrawn, anxious, non-committal or timid? Bearing in mind that certain people can wilfully moderate the energy that they project, no one can exercise that type of control 24/7.
4. Listen To The Tone of Voice and of Laughter
Sound frequencies create vibrations. Emotions affect the sound emitted. When reading people, pay attention to how the tone of their voice or laughter affects you. Does it appear natural, comforting, energizing or abrasive, angry or whiny?
Wrap up: When beginning to profile a subject, again, let the answers come to you naturally. Trust your instincts, especially the initial reactions and let the person unfold in front of you. If the subject attempts to “play” you, if you are centered, she can’t subvert your innate reactions – your instinct belongs to you and you, uniquely, alone.
Finally, we’ve been working with the beta version of Crystal Knows – an app that determines others personalities – primarily geared for business relationships and synches well with LinkedIn – that is scary accurate. Give Crystal a try and see for yourself.
BNI OPeratives: Situationally aware.
As always, be safe.