Top Banner
To be able to read people better The signals are always there, but most people don't even realize it. You have to know what to look for and understand what certain gestures mean in order to solve the puzzle. Keep in mind, there's no single surefire way to tell what someone is thinking -- even the greatest mind-wizards in the world are only right 80% of the time. P bar Y Safety Consultants

To be able to read people better

Aug 16, 2015


  1. 1. To be able to read people better The signals are always there, but most people don't even realize it. You have to know what to look for and understand what certain gestures mean in order to solve the puzzle. Keep in mind, there's no single surefire way to tell what someone is thinking -- even the greatest mind-wizards in the world are only right 80% of the time. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  2. 2. Like ONIONS people have LAYERS The outermost layer is that part of our personality that we reveal to strangers the most superficial aspects of who we really are. An example of this can be seen when we talk with a stranger sitting next to us on a bus. Trivial topics like the weather, current events, sights and sounds around us are typical things we feel willing to talk about. Around our friends and some acquaintances we feel comfortable enough to peel back that outermost layer to reveal the next one. For example, if you were chatting with a coworker this time, you would probably feel more comfortable revealing more about yourself. Your attitudes towards work, certain emotions and your general thoughts about life are some of the things that might come up in conversation. The third layer is reserved for those with whom we have an intimate relationship with, such as a close friend or spouse. In many cases, intimate relationships take time to develop, and with that time, trust is earned. Imagine now sitting on that same bus next to your spouse or significant other. The depth of what you reveal this time is much greater than any previous layer. Your goals, personal problems, and fears and so on, all fall within this layer. The fourth and innermost layer contains that part of ourselves that we dont share with anyone. It contains our deepest and sometimes darkest thoughts and secrets that we would rather not acknowledge. The fact that we are trying to come to terms with many of these things ourselves makes us not comfortable sharing them with others. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  3. 3. Masks We Wear Public Masks Public smile Clothing Putting on my face Extended territory On the road At work Can we drop masks? P bar Y Safety Consultants
  4. 4. PERCEPTIVE Being perceptive about other people's feelings and thoughts is an important skill that will help you to navigate interpersonal relationships. Though each human is different, we are all, on a core level, wired the same. Here's how to get started on recognizing even the most fleeting of subtle cues. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  5. 5. Look and the body will tell you To really be able to read someone, you have to know them well.By getting to know someone personally, you'll have a better idea of what their likes or dislikes are, what their common habits are, and what is or isn't necessarily a "tell. For example, you may have a friend who is commonly very fidgety. If so, their fidgeting may not be a sign of lying or nervousness. If you were to meet them on the street, common knowledge would deem them nervous or anxious. Nope. They just have an excited leg. Pay attention to the habits of others. Do they maintain eye contact all the time? Do their voices change when they're nervous? When they're preoccupied, how do they transmit it? This will key you in to what you should be looking for when attempting to read them. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  6. 6. Nice Barrier Posts were you born with them or purchase them The second part of preparing ourselves to read people involves removing the barriers that keep us from accurate people-reading. The two barriers are our prejudices and our projections. When people think of prejudice, mostly the racial kind comes to mind. Although a part of it, this is not entirely what Im talking about here. Anytime you make an opinion, whether it is positive or negative, without knowledge or examination of the facts, you are being prejudiced. Whenever you come up with some preconceived notion based on things such as race, color, political alignment, or even the way people dress, it taints your ability to accurately read others. Our prejudices can be based on our fears, feeling threatened, upbringing or a myriad of other things. Closely related to prejudice is projection. In the late 50s Leon Festinger coined a phrase called Cognitive Dissonance which can basically be described as the human tendency to close ones eyes and minds to things that are uncomfortable or disturbing. We tend to project our view onto a situation because it is easier to deal with. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  7. 7. Innocent question not innocent people 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 When we try to determine whether someone is a good person or a potential threat, we tend to focus on superficial qualities that actually dont tell us much about the individual. We assume that people who go to work every day, have a family and a well-kept home are normaland we give them a lot of credibility,. We also assume that our bodies will warn us when were around someone dangerous. Well experience the sensations of fear and know to stay away. But as, dangerous people have a way of making us feel very comfortable. For instance, theyre friendly and courteous and make good eye contact. We also tend to admire and even get intimidated by people in certain professions and positions, which additionally hampers our judgment. We calls this icon-intimidation. We automatically give people a pass if theyre a religious figure, police officer or military person. We assign admirable qualities to them without much thought. We assume theyre intelligent, courageous, compassionate and thereby harmless. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  8. 8. Seriously When reading others, people also are clouded by their own emotional state 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 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. Word choice provides insight into what people really mean "I won another award" The Word Clue "another" conveys the notion that the speaker won one or more previous awards. This person wanted to ensure that other people know that he or she won at least one other award, thus bolstering his or her self-image. This person may need the adulation of others to reinforce his or her self-esteem. Observers could exploit this vulnerability by using flattery and other ego- enhancing comments. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  9. 9. Sorry FRIEND you are full of crap 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, they're probably stalling. A lack of eye contact, or excessive blinking or fidgeting are signs that a person may be lying -- but these are also signs of anxiety, and many liars are still easily able to look you in the eye and spew deceit Other potential indicators of deceit are descriptive vagueness or a quavering voice Touching the notch in the front-middle of the neck can means that the person is trying to protect themselves -- suggesting discomfort, especially in women Similarly, men usually stroke their necks, which is an attempt to lower heart rate Pupil constriction and squinting can mean that a person is bothered by what they're seeing A long, audible exhale -- known as a cathartic exhale -- means that the person is under severe emotional distress, and is frequently seen in moments when the person realizes that they've been caught To improve your technique at spotting signs, observe children and what they do when they try to tell a white lie Adults learn how to tell white lies in order to survive social interactions, but children haven't learned this skill yet. They're terrible at lying, and each sign of deceit is magnified because of their ineptitude. Naturally some individuals are better than others at lying. Those that aren't well versed in all the tricks of the trade will exhibit some of the signs that kids do when they lie. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  10. 10. Ask questions dont interrogate Ask questions. When you're reading someone, you are watching and listening. What you're not doing is grabbing the conversation by the horns and steering it in your direction. So ask your question and get out of there. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. You'll be best off asking short, to- the-point, pertinent questions. If you say, "How's your family?" you may get a rambling, all-over- the-place response that doesn't help you gauge well the information you're looking for. If you say, "What book are you reading currently?" you may be able to gather more personal information. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  11. 11. It is a game of math it has to add up Look for inconsistencies in their baseline. A normally affectionate person who seems not to be physically present and doesn't seem to want to get near anyone with a 10- foot pole has something going on; the same behavior exhibited by Boo Radley does not necessarily mean the same thing. Once you've gathered how the person acts in day-to-day life, keep an eye out for the stuff that doesn't mesh. If something doesn't seem to add up, you'll have to ask why, at least initially. They could simply be exhausted, had a fight with their significant other, got yelled at by their boss, or just have some small personal issue that's sticking in their craw. Do not assume it's a reflection of your relationship with that person before you have all the details. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  12. 12. Looking in the looking glass ALICE Know your own weaknesses. As a mere mortal human, you are subject to fallibility. Just like the Pope. When you see something pretty, odds are you're going to like it. If it's wearing a finely-tailored Italian suit, you're probably going to trust it. Should you? Not necessarily. Humans generally think of dangerous people as drunkards roaming the street unbathed and carrying a knife. In reality, most psychopaths are charming and have their act together. Though it's virtually impossible to actually take control of, just be aware that your subconscious is telling you to judge a book by its cover when that's not necessarily the best or most accurate thing to do. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  13. 13. Limbic system And it is not just about survival or threats, although that is the primary reason we react to certain things so visibly (loud sounds make us freeze or cower in place). Our brain also telegraphs our intentions. This is why when you are talking to someone you like and suddenly you notice that one of their feet points toward their car or an elevator, you know that the person probably needs to go. Because they are running late, the body through the legs communicates that something urgent is pressing (causing psychological discomfort) even though the person continues the conversation. Which is why we say when it comes to communication, body language is more truthful than the spoken word. So what is psychologically behind all of this? Simply this: Our needs, feelings, thoughts, emotions, and intentions are processed elegantly by what is known as the "limbic system" of the brain. It doesn't have to think, it just reacts to the world in real time and our bodies show how we feel. Someone gives us bad news and our lips compress; the bus leaves without us and we are clenching our jaws and rubbing our necks. We are asked to work another weekend and the orbits of our eyes narrow as our chin lowers. These are discomfort displays that our limbic brain has perfected over millions of years, whether we are in China, Canada or Chile. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  14. 14. Fake Smiles As a class we will complete an online activity trying to better understand genuine and fake facial expressions P bar Y Safety Consultants
  15. 15. Mehrabians Rule Brainstorm- What are the necessary elements to communication? Discuss Face to Face communication regarding feeling and attitude: Words (Verbal) Tone of Voice (Vocal) Body Language (Visual) P bar Y Safety Consultants
  16. 16. Mehrabians Rule Brainstorm- How much do each of the elements account for the meaning of a message? Results Words 7% Tone of Voice 38% Body Language 55% Therefore, effective communication can result in the congruency of these three elements Incongruence can look like: Verbal: "I do not have a problem with you!" Non-Verbal: person avoids eye-contact, looks anxious, has a closed body language, etc. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  17. 17. Your lips are flapping but your body is telling me something WAY different Take in how they are holding themselves. Body language can tell you a lot about what someone is feeling, especially when it comes to how comfortable they feel. It may be a reflection of the topic at hand or it could be some interpersonal issue. Here are some general guidelines that indicate comfort level. Positive or comfortable body language cues: Leaning in forward Relaxed limbs that are at their sides Eye contact Smiling that does not look forced or gritted Negative or uncomfortable body language cues: Leaning away from you Crossed arms or legs Limbs that are moving -- a lot of nervous tapping of the fingers or leg, for example Looking away when talking P bar Y Safety Consultants
  18. 18. Your looks not beauty tells a tale P bar Y Safety Consultants
  19. 19. When children are small and tell a lie, their hands fly over their mouth. Fig. 1 P bar Y Safety Consultants
  20. 20. A teenager might refine this inherent gesture by simply bringing tips of fingers to the mouth Fig. 2 P bar Y Safety Consultants
  21. 21. An adult may bring the little finger to edge of mouth. Fig 3 P bar Y Safety Consultants
  22. 22. The Palm Historically, an open palm has signified honesty, truth, allegiance, and submission. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  23. 23. Two Basic Palm Positions: Open palm in upward position- gesture signifies appeal or request to others Open palm facing outward or downward-a gesture that indicates desire to stop or hold something down; signal of restraint P bar Y Safety Consultants
  24. 24. Fig. 4 An Appeal or Request to Others P bar Y Safety Consultants
  25. 25. A Desire to Stop or Hold Something Down Fig. 5 P bar Y Safety Consultants
  26. 26. Palms-up Expresses Submission Fig. 6 P bar Y Safety Consultants
  27. 27. Palms-down Expresses Authority Fig. 7 P bar Y Safety Consultants
  28. 28. Closed Palm With Extended Finger Expresses Authority That Borders on Tyranny Fig. 8 P bar Y Safety Consultants
  29. 29. Veterans of Palm Deception! Body language is an important consideration for certain individuals: Politicians generally expose palms of hands as though appealing to public Rememberthis is a position of submissiveness and demonstrates to voters that he/she is their public servant! P bar Y Safety Consultants
  30. 30. Handshakes Three basic attitudes are transmitted through the handshake: Dominance Submission Equality P bar Y Safety Consultants
  31. 31. Dominance is shown by turning hand so that palm is facing down during the handshake. Fig. 9 P bar Y Safety Consultants
  32. 32. Submission is shown by turning hand so that palm is facing upwards during the handshake Fig. 10 P bar Y Safety Consultants
  33. 33. Equality is shown by turning palm so that it faces neither up nor downwards. Fig. 11 P bar Y Safety Consultants
  34. 34. The Glove Handshake Demonstrated by initiator clasping both hands around the recipients hand. -It is intended to give impression of companionship and warmth. -Sometimes referred to as politicians handshake. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  35. 35. Clasping the Arm Handshake Variation of the glove handshake whereby initiator shakes persons extended hand in conventional fashion while grasping receivers upper arm with free hand. -This too is intended to demonstrate sincerity and warmth but is often seen as a violation of personal space. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  36. 36. Knuckle Cruncher Handshake The hallmark of aggressive handshake whereby one or both participators firmly squeeze offered hand. -Sometimes referred to as the Texas Vice. -Thought to be due to socialization process which encourages boys to demonstrate their assertive, powerful, manly attributes. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  37. 37. Dead Fish Handshake The hallmark of passive handshakes. -Carries negative connotations and generally considered to demonstrate weak, apathetic, or submissive individual. -Traditionally an acceptable handshake for women. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  38. 38. Fingertip Clasp Occurs when one party stops short of grasping other participants palm and instead clasps his/her fingers. -Sometimes happens when one party misses his/her mark due to lack of confidence or nervousness. -Other times, this technique is used when people want to maintain spatial distance and less intimacy. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  39. 39. Straight-Arm Extension Handshake Initiator of this handshake will offer a straight, extended arm in greeting. -Primary purpose is to maintain distance and formality. -Sometimes people from rural areas who are used to keeping their distance will use this handshake. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  40. 40. Hand Clenching This gesture can have several meanings: -when clenched hands are held at chest level and against body, this if often indication of personal pleading -when clenched hands are at chin or chest but not next to body, this is signal of frustration or negativity. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  41. 41. Hand clenching not next to body is a signal of frustration or negativity. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  42. 42. Hand Chop An aggressive gesture that speakers sometimes use when they want to accent what is being said. -Although this is a forceful gesture, it does not have the violent connotation as does the chopping fist with extended finger. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  43. 43. Hand Steepling Used by individuals who feel confident. -When steepled hands are in raised position, the individual is usually speaking (offering ideas, comments, etc.). -When steepled hands are in lowered position, individual usually is listening. -Researchers have noted that women tend to use the lowered steeple position more than the raised position. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  44. 44. Hand-Holding Behind the Back When individual holds both hands behind back, this signals confidence. -Note that this position allows individual to expose trunk of his/her body and signals unconscious act of fearlessness. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  45. 45. Dont confuse handholding behind back with wrist or arm holding! These gestures indicate an attempt at self-control (hence the phrase, Get a grip on yourself). -Generally speaking, the higher the hand grips the arm, the angrier the individual and the greater the attempt at self-control. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  46. 46. Thumb Presentation Presentation of thumbs is a gesture, which signals superiority or dominance. -Often displayed from pockets and usually part of gesture cluster that signals an authoritative attitude. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  47. 47. Finger(s) to Mouth A signal that he/she is under pressure or feeling insecure. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  48. 48. Hand to Chin & Cheek Indifference/Boredom Gesture Resting jaw and cheek against hand as though to support weight of head. -The more assistance from the hand, the greater degree of boredom. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  49. 49. Gesture of Interest -If the hand is closed and resting on cheek with index finger extended towards temple (and not used as head support), this indicates interest. -Men tend to hold their head in a vertical position, whereas women tend to tilt their head when using this gesture. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  50. 50. Forming a Decision Gesture Fig. 31 P bar Y Safety Consultants
  51. 51. The Mouth Guard Gesture -When an individuals hand covers mouth (partially or entirely). -A signal that he/she is exaggerating or lying. -If, however, someone covers his/her mouth while you are speaking, it indicates that listener doesnt believe you! P bar Y Safety Consultants
  52. 52. The Nose Touch Gesture A modified version of mouth guard gesture. -May be physiological reason for this gesture: researchers determined that lying can cause sensitive nerve endings at base of nose to tingle and itch. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  53. 53. The Eye Rub -A subconscious gesture that is used when a person is intentionally trying to deceive others. -Whereas a teenager will obviously look down at his/her feet when trying to deceive, an adult might rub the corner of his/her eye which allows a break in eye contact. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  54. 54. The Ear Rub A subconscious gesture that indicated the individual is perplexed about what he/she is hearing. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  55. 55. Hand to Neck: Back Neck Rub Has a couple of meanings: -Sometimes people who are lying will rub back of neck while looking down and avoiding your gaze. -Other times this gesture is a signal of frustration or anger (pain in the neck). P bar Y Safety Consultants
  56. 56. Hands Behind Head Fig. 37 Clasped hands behind head is an indication that the individual is relaxed. -If individual is also leaning back and has chin lifted, this indicates feeling of superiority or smugness. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  57. 57. Folded Arms Fig. 38 P bar Y Safety Consultants
  58. 58. Folded Arms With Clenched Fists The clenched fists indicate defensive and hostile feelings. -This posture might also be accompanied by clamped jaw and flushed face. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  59. 59. Arm Gripping This variation of arm folding usually indicates insecurity and fear P bar Y Safety Consultants
  60. 60. Single Arm Cross Fig. 41 P bar Y Safety Consultants
  61. 61. Sophisticated Arm Cross Barriers Posture is often intermittent and takes place when one arm reaches across the chest to touch a watch, shirt, cuff, shirt button, or bracelet, etc. -Gesture provides a discreet, temporary barrier every time someone adjusts a watchband or straightens a shirtsleeve. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  62. 62. Crossing at the Knee A relaxed social leg crossing posture that is assumed by both men and women in Europe. -Generally in America, this posture is limited to females and thought to be essentially effeminate. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  63. 63. Foot Tapping or Wagging -Repetitive tapping or wagging of the foot is an indication of impatience, boredom, or nervousness. -The redundant foot movements are said to reflect a latent desire to run away. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  64. 64. Hair Stroking and Head Tossing -Absent-minded running of fingers through hair or swishes hair behind shoulders with a toss of the head is an unconscious gesture that occurs when an individual finds someone attractive. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  65. 65. Hair Twisting This is generally a sign of nervous distraction. -A variation of this is the twisting of a neck chain. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  66. 66. Head Tilt A slight tilt of the head to one side indicates interest on that individuals part. -Seems to be an inherent gesture and is not limited to the human species. -Women tend to use the head tilt gesture more than men do. -Oftentimes, when women use this posturing in the presence of a man, it is an indication that she finds him attractive. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  67. 67. Backward Head Tilt -This gesture generally indicates a perceived superiority and (sometimes) contempt for people he/she is interacting with. -This gesture probably gave rise to sayings like, looking down his nose (at someone), or she has her nose in the air. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  68. 68. Lifted EyebrowWhen one eyebrow lifts while the other remains in the natural position, it signals skepticism. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  69. 69. Raised Eyebrows This gesture can indicate a couple of things: -rapid lift of both eyebrows and widening of the eyes is most often an unconscious display of greeting behavior. -can also represent a flirting gesture; different from greeting behavior in that the raised eyebrow position is sustained slightly longer (or gesture might be accompanied by a sideways glance). P bar Y Safety Consultants
  70. 70. Wide-Eyes -If this gesture is accompanied by blinking, it indicates innocence (if eyes still maintain eye contact). -Wide eyes are also an indication of surprise. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  71. 71. Nose Flare An indication of agitation or indignation (which might border on anger). P bar Y Safety Consultants
  72. 72. Skewed Mouth A distorted version of the smile that indicates sarcasm. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  73. 73. Nice eyes to bad they have CRAP in them You should also keep an eye out for fleeting facial expressions. Watch people very closely to see if there are any small movements of the mouth that give away what people are really feeling. For example, a person may smile at you but if their lip twitches, it might mean that they are thinking of something negative.Anything clenched or tense, if even for a second, can be a sign. A furrowed brow, a tense jaw, it's all signs of anxiety. If their eyes close for longer than a normal blink, they're probably stalling and taking a moment to get a grasp on a situation. It generally is an indicator of someone who is losing grip, be it on themselves or in a situation. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  74. 74. spatially How close or far away a person is from you also gives you some insight into their state of mind. For example, if a person is distancing themselves from you physically, it may mean that they do not want to be vulnerable or intimate. Or it could mean they're in a hurry! Again, clusters are key here. Some people are not comfortable being within a certain physical proximity of others regardless of the situation. So just because someone keeps their distance, it may not be a reflection of you. The same goes for the opposite end of the spectrum -- other people have no concept of personal space. If they're violating yours, they may not even realize it. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  75. 75. Territory Intimate Touching 6-18 Personal Close -1 to 2 feet Far - 2 to 4 feet Social Close 4-7 feet Far - 7-12 feet Public Close - 12-25 feet Far - 25 feet or greater P bar Y Safety Consultants
  76. 76. Jockeying for position Inclusive - Non-inclusive How you include/exclude others in a group Parallel body positions Will position yourselves to relate to each other Side by side are neutral Facing means people are involved Congruence-incongruence Groups that imitate each other P bar Y Safety Consultants
  77. 77. What a nice voice does it crack all the time A person's voice can tell you a lot about what they're feeling. Listen for inconsistencies in tone or pitch of their voice. Are they simultaneously coming off as happy and angry? They're probably trying to cover something up. Note the volume -- are they talking louder or quieter than usual? Watch to see if they are hedging using their voice, saying "Um," or "Uh," often. If this is the case, they might be nervous or lying and trying to buy time. See if their tone conveys an emotion that they're not expressing outright. For example, do they sound sarcastic or angry? They may feel the need to passively address the situation. If this is the case, it's best to get everything out in the open. P bar Y Safety Consultants
  78. 78. Patience Empty cup so to speak. Overcoming our biases, prejudices and projections allows us to be completely objective. The last important step is learning to be patient. Dont fill your cup up so fast that you rush in drawing your conclusions. Ive seen this with my experiences in animal tracking. In the beginning I was in such a hurry to interpret the trail and the animal I was following that Id fail to see the big picture. One time I remember my friend laughing at me while pointing out that what I thought were perfect sets of deer tracks, ended up only being the heel of a sneaker. If I took my time to let the whole picture develop and not come to a conclusion so quickly, it would have saved me the disappointment and embarrassment I felt. Its the same thing in learning to read people. As you learn the techniques to interpret peoples body language and environment (I will discuss this in the next posts), resist the urge to jump to conclusions. If you think for example that they are defensive because they have their arms folded well maybe theyre sitting under an a/c vent and theyre simply cold. Are they lying because theyre fidgeting and seem nervous? Well, possibly they need to go to the bathroom real bad. In other words, hold off until later to make your final decision. P bar Y Safety Consultants
Welcome message from author
This document is posted to help you gain knowledge. Please leave a comment to let me know what you think about it! Share it to your friends and learn new things together.