19 Tips And Tricks On How To Read People
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Influence!
Kim Bhasin writes:
Though there aren't any universally dependable signs, a combination of signals may give a person away. But no matter what, there's always room for error.
The best mind-readers on the planet are only right 80% of the time.
We've put together a variety of tips from Psychology Today and elsewhere that will help clue you in to hints that people give off -- both verbal and nonverbal.
I will include my favorites below.
Start by getting a baseline reading so that you can distinguish personal quirks from real tells.
A common way to get this reading is by simply observing a person's habits over time...
A seemingly innocent question such as "How are you doing today?" by a salesperson may be an attempt to gauge your baseline, setting up for inquiries that are more probing...
Look for inconsistencies between the baseline and the person's gestures and words.
When you have a chance to ask questions be pointed, not vague.
Ex-FBI agent Joe Navarro provided several tips on how to read people in a questioning environment in an article in Psychology Today.
Vague, open-ended questions don't work, because if the person rambles it becomes difficult to detect any deception. Instead, ask question that require a straight answer.
And don't be intrusive. After asking a question, sit back and observe without interrupting.
Listen carefully to word choice.
When a person leans with their torso away from you, this can mean that the person is going through a moment of stress.
Pacifying gestures such as the touch to the forehead or the rubbing of palms against thighs are indicators of stress too.
Facial clues of distress and discomfort include the furrowing of the brow, clenching of jaws, lip compression, or the tightening of face and neck muscles.
If someone closes their eyes for a moment (longer than a simple blink), takes the time to clear their throat, or asks to repeat a question, s/he is probably stalling.
The direction someone looks when answering a question may provide hints as well -- each direction means something different.
Here are the six visual cues, according to Richard Bandler and John Grinder's book "Frogs into Princes: Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)":
- Up and left -- Visually constructed image
- Up and right -- Visually remembered image
- Left -- Auditory constructed
- Right -- Auditory remembered
- Down and left -- Feeling / Kinesthetic
- Down and right -- Internal dialog
Here's an example of how to use the cues, from blifaloo.com:
Let's say your child asks you for a cookie, and you ask: "Well, what did your mother say?" As they reply "Mom said... yes.", they look to the left. This would indicate a made up answer as their eyes are showing a "constructed image or sound. Looking to the right would indicated a "remembered" voice or image, and thus would be telling the truth.
Learning how to read people must occur over time -- a weeklong crash course won't cut it.
Attending a brief training session won't do much, asserts Claremont McKenna College leadership & psychology professor Dr. Ronald Riggio in his column. In order to get better you must constantly be practicing the skills needed. Structured training modules aren't required to improve -- many have been able to develop the skill by constantly listening and observing actively in every day life.
When practicing reading people, get feedback about your accuracy. If not, you'll never know if you're improving.