How well do you read people? Not judge them; read them.
You know the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover?” The same can be said for people.Whether you are in a board meeting or at a networking event, a sales call or an employee evaluation; it is critical for women in business that they hone their abilities to read people.
In a recent article entitled “Train Yourself to Read People” the author offers four key tips, starting with not judging, to assist us in improving our abilities to read people that we interact with.
The fourth tip is to ask yourself questions:
As you interact with others, keep your eyes and ears open, and try to answer questions about them. First, consider the energy they give out. Is it open, friendly, respectful, positive–or is it negative, defensive or arrogant? Next, try to evaluate their authenticity. Do their actions match their words? Are they honestly aware of their strengths and weaknesses and willing to grow and improve? Finally, consider their attitude toward work. Do they take a proactive, problem-solving approach to tasks? Do they exhibit intellectual curiosity and an interest in continuous learning?
To be effective, we have to step outside our own agenda in the moment and truly put ourselves in the shoes of those around us.
- Are they distracted? Don’t assume they are bored or disagree with your statements; they may have just come from a difficult phone call, have a project looming or it could be something as simple as the fact that they skipped lunch and their stomach is rumbling.
- Are they making eye contact? If they don’t look you in the eye, rather than thinking they aren’t listening, it could be a person that is very shy and feels confrontational when they make eye contact.
One thing to keep in mind while learning to read people…those same people are reading you. What body language do you exhibit and what does it say about you?
Are you fidgeting? Do you pause too long before answering a question? Is there a defensive edge to the tone of your voice? Be aware of yourself as well as those around you.
The key to reading people successfully is to remove any pre-conceived ideas and judgement from your thinking so that you can observe physical cues more accurately. Being able to effectively read people helps as you build relationships, successfully communicate and work together toward a common goal.
Check out this clever article offering 18 Tips and Tricks for Reading People – the images say it all!