Improve Your People-Reading Skills

Give Yourself Time

As I’ve indicated in previous posts, your ability to understand what others are thinking, feeling, and trying to accomplish in a particular situation gets more accurate when you give it more time.

The Sum is Greater Than the Parts

It’s rare than a single facial expression, choice of words, action, body language posture or movement, or any other clue tells the whole story about a person’s thoughts, feelings, and motivations. You’ll get a more accurate picture by piecing together a great many such clues gathered over a relatively long period of time.

Stay Flexible

Even after you’ve done all this and reached a conclusion about what another person is thinking, feeling, and trying to achieve, don’t get locked in. You could still be wrong. The other person could change. The situation could develop.

  • Replacing any “irreversible pronouncements” you might be tempted to make with tentative ideas and mild suggestions.
  • Including other people’s reactions to your ideas and suggestions as additional information on which to base more accurate readings.
  • Continuing to observe and correlate new impressions with earlier ones.

Watch Yourself

You can greatly improve the accuracy of your people-reading by taking your own biases into consideration.

  • Certain behaviors in men are often considered signs of “confidence” and “leadership qualities,” while in women they are taken as signs of “bossiness” or unwanted “manipulation;”
  • Open emotionality and deep empathy is readily accepted from women, but often questioned when exhibited by men.

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Robert Moskowitz

Robert Moskowitz

Robert Moskowitz is a successful, award-winning writer and consultant, and the author of “How to Organize Your Work and Your Life.”