How many times have you dreamed of being able to penetrate a person for their behavior as the protagonists of ‘Criminal Minds’ do?
The ability to read to other people like an open book can become an efficient tool in communicating with people.
You’re in luck; you don’t have to be a detective to understand what’s going on in other people’s minds. They always send you signals, all you need is to know where to look for them.
What kinds of signs can tell us what a person thinks or feels?
Here are some tricks used by the FBI to read people like an open book:
1- Identify the basic pattern of behavior
Each person has certain characteristics and behavior patterns that make them unique. For example, during a conversation, they look at the ground, cross their arms across their chests, cough, scratch their hair, or move a leg.
Knowing how to define the basic pattern of behavior will help you understand when these actions are just a matter of habit and when they are a sign of deception, anger, or nervousness.
2- Look for the changes
Pay attention to inconsistencies between the database you’ve created and the person’s words and gestures. For example, you noticed that someone has a habit of clearing their throat when they get nervous. Is there something hidden behind what appears at first glance?
3- Pay attention to their reactions
Mirror neurons in our brain reflect the state of our mind. When we are in front of a person we like, our brain signals the muscles of the face so they relax.
If someone’s face does not match the feelings, they are trying to convey to you, this person is sending you a message: they don’t like you or they don’t like what you’ve done.
4- Compare and contrast
If you have already observed that someone is acting differently than normal, see if they repeat the same differences with others in the group. How do you interact with other people in the room? Does your facial expression change? How about your posture and body language?
5- Observe the gestures together
A single gesture or word does not always contain hidden meanings. Only when gestures are analyzed together, do they make sense, so take note.
A throat clearing may be accompanied by continual footwork or head-scratching. Here, you must learn to act with caution.
6- Look at the way he walks
The ways people walk can also help identify some characteristics of their personality. For example, people who shuffle their feet, lack fluid movement or keep their heads down often lack confidence.
If you notice this in a member of your team, pay extra attention to giving them reassurance and building confidence. Or maybe ask him direct questions to get the things he’s afraid to say on his own.
7- Analyze the words that indicate action
The way we speak the words we use, represent our thoughts and our way of being. In this way, identifying the words of action can tell you what a person is really like.
For example, if your boss says he “worked with Brand X”, the action word will be “decided”. This word alone shows that, most likely, your boss will: a) be less than impulsive, b) have studied several options, and c) calculate everything several steps ahead.
8- Identify an authoritative voice
A confident person usually has an authoritative voice (not to be confused with loud). If you are at a conference table, the most confident person will always have the most powerful voice: he or she makes space their own, with a strong voice and a big smile.
Identify who has the most authoritative voice in the group and your chances of success will increase.
9- Look for personality clues
As we said before, we each have a unique personality, however, there are some basic questions whose answers will help you read people no matter who they are:
- Is the person introverted or extroverted?
- What feeds their ego?
- How does he or she deal with risk and confusion?
- How does that person behave when they are stressed?
- How does he or she behave when he or she relaxes?
Reading people accurately is something that takes a lot of practice and time, and of course, every rule has its exceptions. However, by following these tips, you will improve your observation skills and increase your ability to understand people and interact effectively.
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