Sign up FAST! Login

This Is How To Read People: 5 Secrets Backed By Research by Eric Barker


Stashed in: Emotion, Intuition, @bakadesuyo, Awesome, Body Language, Sherlock, Relationships, Benedict Cumberbatch!, Cognitive Bias

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

Here’s how to read people 101:

  • Don’t make the usual mistakes: Take context, clusters, baseline, and biases into consideration.
  • First impressions are often accurate: With a number of traits you can trust your gut. But know which ones.
  • Trust mimicry and emotional expression: But they have to be sustained and consistent.
  • Awful people have tells: Pay attention to notice them. And look for narcissists in flashy clothing.
  • Deepening voice and touching says “flirting”: True for both men and women.

And so now that we’ve been through a dizzying amount of research on reading others, how can you make sure you come off well when others read you?

Do you need to pay more attention to your body language? Nope.

Your facial expressions or your “behavioral mimicry”? Double nope.

When I spoke to Olivia Fox-Cabane, author of The Charisma Myth, she said all of that is doomed to fail unless you have an acting Oscar on your shelf:

…trying to control your facial expressions is not just impossible, it will even backfire. Since the micro-expressions will be incongruent with the main expression, they’ll give the impression that something is not quite right and you can end up seeming fake — which, of course, ruins trust and charisma…

Your body language and the signals you send are determined by what’s inside your head. Change how you feel inside, and what you radiate will follow. Here’s Olivia:

The same way that athletes get themselves “into the zone” you get yourself into a mental zone of whatever body language you want to emanate. And that way it will cascade through your body from whatever mindset that you wanted to get. So it really is mind over matter in the sense that whatever’s in your mind will come out through your body language.

Next week I’ll cover what research says can help you do that. To make sure you don’t miss it, join my weekly email here.

In the end, it really is what’s on the inside that matters. We can shape that and smooth it, but you can’t go through life acting for any considerable stretch.

So try something simple: be the best you that you can be.