The ability to properly read people and their emotions is an important skill to possess in business and life.
Is your friend telling the truth? Are they made at you?
Before you make assumptions, it’s first best to take a step back to look at the bigger picture and then evaluate according. Here are a few tips on how to read people, from Poker Player and CEO, Kage Spatz:
Remember the personality of the person…
WARNING: Read carefully and proceed with caution. These may not apply to everyone in the exact way you might imagine.
- 1. Remember the personality of the person you are talking to. Two individuals displaying the same exact expression can mean two completely different emotions. For example, you know your best friend looks off to the right every time he/she is talking about a topic that is upsetting to them. To complicate the situation a bit, another person you just met does the same exact movement when they’re happy. There is no rule that applies to everyone when you read people.
- 2. Before you consider trying to read people, remember you must be fully aware of the signals you are giving them. This tip can’t be stressed enough. You must be as neutral as possible or you might sway the person to display signals that don’t align with how they really feel.
- 3. Never make the other person aware that you can read them. It’s always good to help a friend understand an obvious tick so they aren’t so transparent to others but keep the deeper reads to yourself. Why, you ask? As soon as someone knows which actions make their emotions known to others, it is much easier for them to fake an emotion. Why would they fake an emotion? They could want you to think they are feeling one way when they are actually feeling another.
- 4. What if I never met the person in my life? A stranger is usually more difficult to read at first. Across the broad spectrum of emotions, there is a secret to finding a base to start from. Believe it or not, talking about the weather has a deeper meaning than you may have previously thought. Ask questions with obvious answers to find a place to start. The regular person won’t think anything of it if I first strike up a conversation about how hot it was yesterday. Watch their movements and listen to the tone of their voice as they talk about topics they’re likely to feel very comfortable talking about. You now have information to compare with when you get down to business.
- 5. Can you give us a specific example of what to look for when someone is lying? This topic could be an entire article or book on it’s own. One basic strategy to read people when they are lying is to pay attention to sentence structure. Generally speaking, people who specifically make themselves a part of a sentence or story are more likely to be telling the truth. For example, someone who says “I took all of the trash out about an hour ago” is more likely to be honest than someone who says “trash is out”. Remember when you read people that every person is different. Test this trick along with everything else you do before coming to a conclusion.