Common errors when reading people

  • Ignoring context: Crossed arms don’t mean much if the room is cold or the chair they’re sitting in doesn’t have armrests. 
  • Not looking for clusters: It’s a consistent grouping of actions (sweating, touching the face, and stuttering together) that is really going to tell you something. 
  • Not getting a baseline: If someone is always jumpy, jumpiness doesn’t tell you anything. 
  • Not being conscious of biases: If you already like or dislike the person, it’s going to affect your judgment. 
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Communication

MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE

Your first impressions are usually pretty accurate. But whether they are wrong or right, first impressions affect us in a big way and we are slow to change them.

You have to be willing to update them quite rapidly. 

  • Studies show that if someone seems extroverted, confident, religious or conscientious, they probably are.
  • We all pay more attention to pretty people, and so we tend to take the time to evaluate them.
  • If you want to know if someone is good at their job, watch them do it for 30-60 seconds. 
  • Funny people are smart: Effective humor production acts as an honest indicator of intelligence in humans.

Focus on unconscious behaviors that aren’t easily controlled and convey a clear message:

  • Speech mimicry and behavioral mimicry: if a person uses the same words and tone as you, it's usually a sign he/she feels emotionally in sync with you.
  • Trust people who are consistently emotionally expressive in their body language.

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