We often come across people who are very intelligent and when we engage ourselves in conversation with them, we feel like they understand us, like as if they were reading our minds. But how does one read someone’s mind?
Well, to be honest, it’s not a superpower, it’s just a skill, and like with all skills, you master it with practice. The right practice that is.
Observation skills and rational thinking come in handy for this trick.
Using the hints from behavior, appearance, and speech, and of course, again with enough experience one can connect the dots and make a hypothesis about what the other person is thinking at the moment or what personality traits the other person has.
In professional life, we notice some people are very smart negotiators and very confident.
Their presence makes a difference when they are sitting in the meeting room.
Their body language, tone, quick and smart thinking, etc. would brighten up the room.
Suggestions made by these people will always become the center stone of the meeting or any planning; higher-ups would be looking at them for generating new ideas.
Why is that though?
To some extent we all have the ability to know what the other person might think under certain conditions such as, when you attend a funeral and you see a man with tears in their eyes, you know that he is sad and feeling the pain of the lost ones, a birthday girl jumping around is definitely excited, perhaps thinking about her unopened gifts of the mighty cake.
People having more interactive experience are naturally better at it.
When you meet more people, you learn more about how people generally tend to think.
The outlook of a person and their gestures gives a lot of clues about the personality and by careful observation; you can easily analyze the other person.
If you’re not a people’s person and don’t tend to observe enough, this might be more work than you’re cut out for, however…
We compiled a list of tips to help you read other peoples’ minds easily
If I were to sum it all up in just one word, I would say:
Observe everything. See their body language. See what they are wearing. See what they are talking about. Look into their eyes directly and see how comfortable they are with you. Try to find as much knowledge about them as you can by just observing.
Let’s discuss them further with the following tricks.
Filter your thoughts:
When you meet someone, there are chances that you have been meeting other people too or have been going through some other stressful situations.
All those things can cloud your mind and judgment, therefore it is very important to filter your own thoughts from observations and mere opinions.
Make sure that you are not bias towards the other person or thinking objectively.
Drinking some water or taking fresh air is useful to clear the head of any previous burden that you might be carrying.
When you empty your mind from all the other unnecessary thoughts that can influence your judgment, then you are ready for the next step.
The Age Factor:
After ensuring that your mind is free from any distractions, look at the person’s age.
Depending upon their age, they will have different personalities and habits.
If the person is a millennial then they will be more tech advance and would hide behind gadgets.
These people will always look for shortcuts or find easier ways to handle a task.
On the other hand, if the person is mid-age or older then they will have an entirely different personality.
They will always prefer face-to-face conversation and would be more risk-averse as compared to others.
They will carefully plan each step and will take it very slowly and most will be rational with their approach.
Interestingly Children are the most unpredictable beings, you will probably have to do more observing than normal to get into a child’s or adolescent mind.
Create a baseline:
One we have categories the person; it is time to make baseline observations.
Every person has a different body language, different ways of talking, and other habits.
First, we have to know what is normal for them, for example, for one person it might be normal to keep the mobile phone in hand.
However, some people would usually put their phone on the table while having a conversation.
Similarly, some people habitually keep scratching their face but it might not be normal for other people. Some people talk authoritatively but some people have more clam tone even if they are angry.
Therefore, it is very important to first set your baseline and know what is normal for that person. This way we will be able to differentiate between normal and abnormal behavior. It will also help us notice deviations from their usual way of carrying themselves.
The appearance of a person tells a lot about them. It is often believed that when you walk into an interview at some corporate-level job, the interviewer makes half of their judgment before the interviewee takes the seat. Most of that depends on the appearance and the body language of the person.
The first thing that comes in the appearance is the clothes you are wearing.
Clothing will depend on the occasion.
For example, if it is a corporate interview and a person walks in wearing a funky tie. That will immediately give very childish and non-serious signals to the other person.
If someone is overdressed for an occasion then it might mean that they are facing some kind of a complex and if they are dressed in a manner, which will strangely catch the eye, then they are attention seekers.
The same thing goes for the hairs too.
Messy hairs will give a very lazy and sick feeling to the other person.
Some people will carry the same kind of appearance everywhere they go, for example, those who would usually wear sports tracksuits might be obsessed with fitness or going through a physical challenge.
A man wearing a t-shirt of a metal rock band would be a fan of such music.
Similarly, some people prefer wearing shirts that carry some kind of a tag line, which relates to their lives or something that they believe in.
Appearance does not carry words to communicate the meaning; it gives you a feeling and important clues about their personalities and their likes and dislikes.
Based on that, you can identify what kind of person you are dealing with.
When you look at a person and that person has dull shoulders, you will sense low energy in that person.
If the person is standing straight but looking down, it means that the person has a confidence issue and he has the fear of facing the world.
Some people do not make eye contact while talking and lean on a nearby object, which might mean that they are nervous about something or hiding some facts from you.
Some people have a strong body posture like a mountain standing, these people are very authoritative and take a hard stance.
Once you know about the generation of the person, have made baseline assumptions, and have analyzed their appearance you will be able to know that to what category of the society the person belongs.
Depending on that, there would be some topics that would be more sensitive to them as compared to other segments of society.
When you will be able to anticipate those topics, you can easily get into a conversation with the other person, which can open new prospects.
The analysis of the situation related to that topic and their personal opinion will further open doors for you to understand them better.
For example, if you notice that they do not have in-depth knowledge about the matter than it might mean that they are lazy or dependent on faulty information.
If they give you a brief balance and unbiased opinion than it means that person has been spending their time well and can analyze matters right down the middle.
It will also let you know how to make them comfortable or what triggers emotions in them.
By bringing them in a comfort zone, we will be able to take a deeper look into a person’s personality.
Similarly, by knowing what triggers emotions in a person will give us a fair idea of how well that person can handle their emotions.
The only important thing in this step is that you should know what you are talking about. Listen to what they have to say and give attention to little details they mention without interrupting them.
If you keep talking or feeding them sentences then it will contaminate the data that you are gathering. Also, do not try to object to their opinion because by doing so they will lose their comfort zone and will be alert for any upcoming objection that you might have.
Therefore, be a keen listener and try to absorb their opinion without objecting to it very much.
While they are talking about the topic and you are listening to them, it is a good opportunity to figure out what kind of personality they have.
If they have been adding humor into the topic that means that they are very confident if they are very much involved in the topic and do not like any kind of disturbance than it means that they might be very touchy about the topic.
This could vary for millennials and boomers because millennials might have a very light approach to a topic but boomers will have a conservative and straightforward approach to the same issue. But since you already knew who you are dealing with you know how they are going to act under such conditions.
Consider a man who loves soccer and he has been wearing a soccer t-shirt and carry a wrist band of a famous football club but when you talk to them about soccer you realize that they have very shallow knowledge of the topic despite being their interest.
It tells that the person has a very lazy nature and does not have consistency.
These people cannot carry out one task without being distracted and quickly lose interest.
It is better to ask straight questions to make things simple and easy. If you will ask questions with twisted meanings then there is a possibility that the other person perceives that in a different manner. That will not only waste the time but also hamper the productivity of your session. Ask targeted and open-ended questions so that there is room for open-ended answers.
If you ask closed-end questions than the other person will not be able to express their thoughts. There is no need to beat around the bush; targeted questions will direct all the attention on the specific topic that you are talking about.
When you engage with someone in a conversation a lot of information is being delivered via non-verbal communication. When you greet someone by shaking hands, you can collect some hints from the grip of their handshake. If their handshake is firm and strong than that person has an authoritative nature if they have a loose grip than it is otherwise.
When you are talking to someone but they have been sitting on the chair with their head back and looking at the ceiling or somewhere else then it means that the person has lost your conversation. At that point, it is important to catch up by either gaining back their attention and making sure that both of you are on the same page.
Similarly, if a person is leaning towards you while having a conversation that it means that they are carefully listening to you. If you are in a relationship and the girl is sitting with her both hands under her chin, then it is time to immediately appreciate her beauty.
When you notice a person who is biting the arms of their spectacles than it means that they are very worried about something and they are distracted in those thoughts as well. Inquiring about their tension by asking a direct question might surprise them how did you know about it.
If you notice a person who is continuously fixing their suit or tie then there are two possibilities, one is that the person is not comfortable in what he is carrying and the other is that he is facing anxiety. Offering water to such a person might surprise them as to how you judged them.
During a meeting with a client, if you notice a woman collecting hairs, which are not there from the dress than that indicates they disagree with your argument but they are not open about it. It is better to stop for a minute and question them about their reservations; otherwise, you might lose a customer.
Again all these signs are giving you clues about the person and enabling you to judge what they are thinking or what their next step might be. If you pick these clues well then you will be able to take steps in advance and fix the situation. For example, in the above-mentioned case if the customer doesn’t like your idea they might not argue with you because their inner self is not resonating with your idea. If you feel that early and address their concerns than it can help you close a better deal.
Deviations from baseline:
When you make baselines assumptions, you know if you notice any deviations from those assumptions. From the above observations we will know what is normal for other people, how do they look, who they are, what they like to talk about, and what they believe in. It is important that you use all the observations you have made, if we skip clues we have collected then we will end up making faulty predictions about the person.
Don’t make hefty assumptions:
Some people believe that if you make assumptions about the person then probably you may be wrong but you have to make assumptions using the little pieces of information you collect by their appearance and their body language. Also, listening to your gut feeling helps you make assumptions. Of course, there is a chance that you might not be able to judge them with absolute precision but still, you make good decisions. Avoid making assumptions that are not rational.
Learn to observe people, how they talk, walk, react, etc. To observe you need to talk less. The more you observe the more it is easier for you to develop an understanding of creating baselines on people’s personalities. Those who are related to sports have a different style of walking as compared to those who are associated with the transport industry.
Similarly, the structure of fingers is different for those who work on computers or offices as compared to those who are associated with more physical jobs. Eye bags points towards a serious health issue whereas pink nails point towards a healthy person. These observations come from experience.
Learn to control your emotions, if you lose your emotional control then you will be exposed in front of the other person and will not be able to anticipate their next move. Remember that it is not possible to judge what other person is thinking completely but it will give you enough hints and information to take timely decisions and actions.