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There's value in reading body language and paying attention to verbal language. But you have to know when to use those tricks and when to just listen during a conversation.
The key is to apply the knowledge when it's useful and ignore it otherwise. If you're not going to get anything out of uncovering these underlying truths, ignore them and just enjoy the conversation.
A conversation is not like a game of chess where you constantly plan three moves ahead.
Keep your mind focused and stop thinking about what you want to say next. There's no point in solving a problem that doesn't exist yet, so focusing attention on doing so is only harming the actual conversation that's happening.
Some spend a lot of time going back through their conversations of the day to find some type of hidden meaning in them. Even if someone was very direct, they assume they meant something else.
The only thing you can do about this is to stop, move on, and simply accept that people often say what they mean. Paying attention will allow you to have a better grasp of how people are communicating with you.
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This doesn't mean you have to suddenly run off to make something, it just means you start taking a step forward. We tend to overthink because we fear failure, but if we just start working, that dissipates quickly
With proper listening you’ll have a crystal clear understanding of the conversation and demonstrate to speakers that you’re invested in what they have to say.
Being a good listener is one of the most potent things you can do to increase your influence and likeability. It is also one of the top skills employers seek in potential and current employees, and it’s correlated with perceived ability to lead.
Learn how to notice small details.
It's not a superhuman ability. It's important to note when talking about Holmes that he has spent a lifetime cultivating the habits of mindfulness. So it's not like he was just born with this ability to be in touch with the world. What we choose to notice or not notice is a way of framing it in our own mind. We have a lot of bad habits in our mind, and we have to retrain ourselves to really notice the world. Everything we do rewires the brain, but we can rewire it in a way that mindfulness eventually becomes less of an effort. -- Konnikova
Give yourself monthly or daily challenges to form a new habit of observation.
Ideas could include trying new foods weekly and writing about them, noticing the color of a co-worker's shirt every day, or even just looking at a new piece of art closely once a day.
The idea is to gradually teach yourself to notice small details in your environment and daily life.