I’m going to teach you how to read anyone and specifically, what I want to do is give you six things that if you implement and think about these, you’re going to know what people are thinking and feeling, without them even having to tell you, and that skill is amazing.
You can apply it in tonnes and tonnes of different circumstances, and that’s the last piece. I want to help you learn how to apply it, because a very, very common question that I see and I appreciate it is that how to know what other people thinks about you.
Ways to read people without knowing them
Self-awareness: Try to read yourself first
The first thing, if you’re interested in learning how to read other people, you have to get better at reading yourself. You need to develop a level of self-awareness that is far, far above most other people.
The good news is it’s a very specific kind of self-awareness. And that is, you have to notice when you are forming opinions about other people when you’re changing opinions about other people.
If you think about it, there are 7 billion people in the world, and you don’t have opinions on most of them, right?
You don’t trust them or distrust them, or like them, or hate them. It’s just neutral to you. But at some point, between seeing someone who is a stranger, and then, having them walk up to you, start a conversation, speaking for, maybe, 5 minutes, you’re going to form a very strong opinion in most times.
That’s gonna be, “You know what? I just don’t trust this guy. There’s something about him that tipped me off,” or “This guy’s awesome. I would definitely hang out and spend time with him.” Or, maybe, it’s you know, this person, “How sharp are they. I would love to work with them.” The truth is, only a few minutes have gone by.
You haven’t seen their resume. You don’t know anything about them. Everything they’re saying could be true, false, or otherwise.
What you’re picking up on are very, very subtle cues. And if you get good at noticing when you feel these things, you’re going to get better at picking up those cues and identifying what they are.
Self-awareness is the first step. You need to know when you are having opinions about other people.
Focus on others attention: Analyse-it
We’re gonna bring the focus to others. We’ll start with the easiest, and that is where their attention is, right?
Attention is very typically easy to identify. Most of us can do it intuitively, but just to cover the basic things, eye contact, right?
You know when someone’s paying attention to you or rather they’re talking to you but they kind of looking over, they’re looking down at their watch, right? They’re trying to get out of there.
You can tell that and sense that intuitively. The other thing that people–some people have a hard time sensing is where their body is, right?
When you’re trying to get out of a conversation, you might start to angle out, “Yeah, okay. Cool. Sounds good, all right. See you tomorrow,” and then, you’re gone, right?
If you’re in a room, and there’s someone you’d like to be talking to over this direction, but you’re in a conversation with the person here, you might find yourself opening up without even thinking about it.
Where your hips, where your feet, where your torso, people would say, the truth is this is the whole darn thing where different elements of your body are facing, is indicative of where your attention is.
Then, the last thing for attention that is going to be important is, is the person that is talking to you or that, maybe, you’re talking to, are you answering and asking engaged questions?
A non-engaged question is “Uh-huh, uh-huh, cool. Uh, interesting. Yup, okay.” That’s not engaged.
An engaged question relates to the thing that you’re saying. It’s an add-on. It doesn’t have to be a question. It can be a comment that is related to the story you told. That is gonna be very indicative of if you have someone’s attention or don’t.
Second thing, overall, is going to be, okay, are they giving me attention? Are they interested or disinterested in what is going on in front of them?
We want to hold down a little bit, right? Because all we know now is interested or disinterested. We need to get to some emotions.
Facial expression and tone: Perfect way to understand emotions
The truth about emotions is that they are very, very focused on the face. The easiest place to find an emotion. There are other tells elsewhere, but 80 to 90% of them are occurring on the face.
I include the voice box in this because tonality is going to be huge.
Specifically, the first thing you should start to do is identifying your expressions. We all know, you know happiness, right? We know these things. That’s not a problem.
What becomes difficult for people are micro expressions, right? So, when someone is feeling a feeling, but they’re trying to hide it.
For instance, we just saw happiness on my face. Say that I’m in a job interview, and I just got a job offer. That is way higher than I expected, but I want to keep it on the down low.
I don’t want them to know. At this point, what I might do is they say, “Okay, you just got XYZ amount of money. Okay, sounds interesting. And what you’ll do is you’ll see people lose momentary control.
Flash briefly and less big–right now it’s many teeth–the emotions that they’re feeling.
This is true for tonnes of different emotions.
I, personally, got my experience learning how to read this in the real world, right? I wasn’t necessarily looking for them, but what I would do is go out and see, “Okay, what’s going on with people’s faces.
This was unconscious at the time, and then, how do they behave immediately after that?
Identify the patterns to identify microexpression
The best way identifying microexpression they do it is by identifying patterns. So, job interview again, right? Say you’re in a job interview and the person across the table from you goes, “Okay, I see your resume. We’ll, uh, we’ll call you back.” Pattern. You know that.
They’re never gonna call you back, right?
You go out into a bar, and I’ve seen this one. There’s a guy who’s leering and looming over a girl, right? Pattern right there. She’s about to get the heck out of there.
You see these very, very consistent patterns, and I could list off a tonne for you. While there’s a finite number, there is a large finite number, so it’s not necessarily worth it for me to do all of the patterns that will take forever.
To know patterns: Make predictions
What I can do is teach you to start identifying them better. And the way that you do that is by making predictions. This is going to really, really hone your pattern recognition skills.
For instance, when I was about, I think I was 21 because I was just starting to go to bars, spending a lot of time going out is really new and exciting.
One of the things that I would do is I would go and I would make guesses, predictions about who knew who, how a conversation was going, if that girl like that guy.
I’d walk in and I’d go, “You know, that group, I think that they came here together because that girl just grabbed the drink and handed it to that guy as if it was no big deal.” So there’s clearly some trust there.
On the other hand, there’s a group over here. Two guys and two girls. They’re standing with this like an invisible line between them. Nobody’s touching.
The guys are on one side, the girls on the other. I think they just met, and then, there’s the situation with a buddy of mine, I remember.
I started to get good at seeing this, and he said, “You know, there’s this girl. I met her, and it’s going really well; looked like it was going well.”
Then I would watch as he rolled up and stood against the wall like this and leered over her, and all of a sudden, pattern, she’s about to bolt, and what do you know, 30 seconds later, she leaves.
Start making predictions. That is going to help you really, really good at this pattern recognition stuff, and I cannot recommend that enough.
I really think, for me, that was the biggest thing that enabled me to start seeing the stuff that was going on. I think this is gonna happen next, and then see if I was right or wrong.
The truth of all of this is you have to go out, and you got to be scientific about it.
Your predicting pattern, you see all these things, but if you don’t start to apply it to your life, and to experiment with it, it’s all going to fall flat, and it’s not gonna stick.
The interesting about experiments is that they prove you right or wrong. This is the science part of it because I remember, I would go out, and I would try to pick up different things and friends of mine who did other things as well.
When my friend first got to college, when the first thing he did, he saw a guy, he wants to be more like him, get the reactions that he got, and he thought, “Okay, he’s 220 pounds of muscle; must be the muscle.”
He went to the gym, worked out really hard, and a year later, he’s put on 40 pounds. He’s the same height, same size, same weight, and nothing really changed, right? It didn’t go the direction that he wanted.
Then he goes, “Okay, so it’s not necessarily the size, I think what it is is that he’s very loud and gregarious and outgoing, and so he started speaking more loudly and being more outgoing, and all of a sudden you see, okay, that is the pattern that is making it work.
In my own life, there was a friend of mine who I thought had great eye contact, and I thought, “You know what? He’s got big eyes, so it’s probably because of his big eyes that he’s got such great eye contact.
And, for the next week, on and off, when I was in conversation, and I thought about it, I’d go, “All right, I want to see what happens, how people respond if I’d do the “big eye” eye contact.
So you’d be talking to me, and I’d go, “Uh-hmm. Awesome. That was so cool, right?” And I’m doing this bug-eyed, insane, mad person look until Ben, my friend, goes, “Dude, what the hell are you doing?” And, okay, I learned that that pattern was completely wrong.
Summary: To read anyone
The point of this is you can start to learn how to read people cold. If you can identify the emotions you have, you’re going to get some hypothesis about what’s driving emotions.
If you can start to predict and see them in other people, you’re going to get good at knowing, okay, this conversation is about to tip.
It’s gonna go well, or it’s gonna go wrong, they’re about to really make friends, or they’re gonna split. And then, the way that I make the breakdowns is I just go back and say, “What happened before that?”
I saw my buddy go out with this girl who is about to split, but what did he do? I didn’t know it at the time, and I only put this together later that it was, “Oh, my gosh, he leans up against the wall, looms over her.”
Of course, that triggers a feeling of “I need to get out of here.” So, sometimes, when I’m out, I’ll notice. I go out to dinner, right? And I’d see that one friend of mine will start to tell a story and we’ll be in a little circular table, and every single person there will pay attention.
I’ll go, “This is an interesting story,” but, honestly, what interests me more is how the heck did he do that? What did he preface it with? What went right before he started talking? And similarly, same night, somebody on the other side of the circular table tells a story, and it will just fall flat.
It will either go three sentences in, and nobody will listen. So, that’s how I do it. That, I think, is how you can become much, much better at not only reading people but in how to learn what these triggers are so that you can be more captivating, more interesting, more of the ways that you would like to be in your own life.
I should say this last thing. A huge, huge underpinning of this article and everything that we do is the idea that you were not born charismatic or uncharismatic, confident or unconfident.
All of those things are an aggregate of your mindsets and actions. So, I just have to say that if you don’t believe that, read more of our articles but that is a fundamental piece that is going to make all of this possible.