reading people

Reading People

The medical profession has finally come up with a way for patients to convey the degree of pain they feel. Not completely accurate, mind you, but a far cry from former verbal descriptions. Everybody’s pain threshold is different. It’s a start.

Reading people is very important; not only in hospital rooms, but in everyday life as well. It is only as we put our agenda on pause and tune into the person, or the audience, that we will truly engage with them. Part of an adage from American writer William Arthur Ward (1921-1994) reads Before you speak, listen. Knowing something about the person, or group, with whom you are engaged assures some measure of improvement in the communication taking place. Reading between the lines, what is said, what is not, body language, eye contact, physical posturing, etc., all play a part in sensing the mindset of the other person. And unless they are totally self-absorbed, they should be trying to read your persuasions as well.

Too many of us think that most people understand exactly what we mean when we speak. Do not be so naïve. Irish Playwright and Essayist GEORGE BERNARD SHAW (1856-1950) said The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. Thus the importance of reading the other person. [This becomes more difficult with a larger audience, but it can be done.]

When it comes down to it, it is all about relationships. How well do you know your audience? The person with whom you are talking? How well do they know you? How transparent are you before others? Are you trustworthy? Do people hold confidence in what you say because of who you are? To be believed, you must BE believable. To inspire another, you must speak with authority and confidence. Of course, these things can be faked… for a time. But little cover-up is needed for the truth. (That’s why I trust God: I do not believe He is lying to me.)

There is a certain safety that surfaces when you are in the presence of a person who is trustworthy. We all want it and need it. You need to be both for all the people in your life—safe and trustworthy. So hone your people-reading skills. Listen before you speak. But be such a person that, when you are being scrutinized, you are uncovered as really clean.


Have a nice week,


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