You might not be Sherlock Holmes. Still, you do need people reading skills by which you can analyze someone just by meeting them for the first time.
Learning how to read people like a book is identifying what they truly mean even if they show otherwise. It’s not about judging them but simply sensing their unsaid words and hidden emotions.
Why do you need this skill, though?
The most successful people in life know how to read a person. They know their fears and desires and treat them accordingly to make their decisions in your favour.
Moreover, the ability to read people like a book can skyrocket your people-dealing skills. Well, you don’t need some supernatural powers to learn that.
Here we are with nine ways you can use to learn how to read people like a book.
How to Read People Like a Book?
1. Body Language
According to the 7-38-55 rule, while talking to someone, we get 55% of our information through nonverbal communication. It’s easy to hide feelings and emotions in words, but it’s usually impossible for people to hide their gestures or body movement.
Our body reacts honestly to any situation. There are plenty of things you can notice. Such as their feet’ direction, arms or legs’ position, leaning toward or away, and many more.
For example, if someone’s feet are in the opposite direction of you, this indicates less interest or a hurry to leave.
Also, the crossed arms and legs show the absence of attention. While open arms are a sign of keenness to converse and to make the connection strong.
One thing to keep in mind is that you don’t need to overanalyze body language. Just taking a guess can help you sense people’s mental state in an instant.
2. Facial Expressions
Our faces tell all that’s in our heads and heart. But controlling facial expressions is not impossible. Then how can we read people like a book by their facial gestures?
It’s simple. Try to pick those gestures that someone wears on their face to hide the actual ones.
Like if a person is smiling with no crinkles at their eyes corners, there is a high chance that the smile is fake. Smiling with both mouth and eyes is what real joy is.
Similarly, relaxed eyes with gradual blinking is a sign of honesty. While a rapid blinking indicates distress or discomfort.
Posture is how someone carries themselves. And it can tell you a lot about them and their self confidence. If someone walks upright, holds their head high and shoulders back, it shows that they feel good about themselves and have confidence.
However, slouching over gives an indication of low self esteem and low confidence. While it’s not always true, that’s the message a bad posture gives off.
The next thing you need to focus on to learn how to read someone like a book is paralanguage. It contains tone, pitch or manner of speaking. Simply put, notice how someone says something.
If someone speaks in a monotone, that could mean they are getting bored or has no interest in that topic. Another example is sarcasm. You can feel a smirk in the pitch of that person if they are saying some sarcasm.
Also, pay attention to the emphasis they put on certain words. It can give a big clue on what their true intentions are.
How someone presents themselves can say volumes about them. A dress code and the overall appearance are what you can notice when you read people like a book.
Are their hair in place? The dress is well-ironed, and the shoes are shiny and without a speck of dirt.
It shows you that the next person is detail-oriented and well-mannered. However, the reverse is also true. If a person has an untidy appearance and stinks, they are lazy and can’t manage things easily.
Judith Orloff M.D says that a person’s presentation can tell you whether they are ambition focused, ready to take action, comfort-oriented, or take their religious values seriously.
6. Behaviour With Others
In the journey of learning how to read people like a book, the way someone treats others would be a great tool to analyze their personality.
If you’re meeting someone for the first time, don’t fall for their behaviour with you. Their overall personality lies in how they behave with others. And most importantly, how they talk with their inferiors.
Notice how the person calls waiters and treats them. Moreover, a person’s behaviour with street beggars can give a whole lot of information about them.
7. Eye Contact
Eyes are always honest. They’ll be telling the truth even if the mouth is lying. However, the way the other person makes eye contact can help you read them deeply.
For instance, if a person can’t take their eyes off you, this could be a romantic interest. On the contrary, if you’re looking at someone while talking and they can’t look into your eyes, it means they are nervous or hiding something.
However, only discontinuous eye contact doesn’t necessarily mean the other person is hiding something.
Very still eye contact without blinking can also be a sign of lying. The next person may be hiding the fact that they are lying to you by making confident eye contact.
So the eyes of someone can be another thing to notice when you’re trying to read people like a book.
8. Copying Body Language
In Honest Signals: How They Shape Our World, the authors used the terms speech mimicry and behavioural mimicry. If you really want to be a pro on how to read people like a book, pay close attention to this factor.
Is the person using similar words to you use? Is their body posture changing as you change yours? Do their tone and pitch sync with you? Do they sit the way you sit?
If so, the game follow-the-leader is getting played here. It could be an unconscious act from the other side. But people can also do this consciously to sync their emotions with them.
Either way, it is a sign that the person likes you and is interested in prolonging the conversation.
9. Gut Feelings
In the end, you need to trust your gut. Your gut feelings know what your head hasn’t yet figured out.
Know whether you’re at ease with the person or not. What vibe the does a person give off? You will feel an aura around them. We can say everybody releases some energy from their bodies, and our gut can feel and sense it.
Also, your sixth sense will tell you more than all the logic your mind will create about the person. So after noticing all the physical gestures we discussed above, you need to trust your gut feelings in the end.
In learning how to read people like a book, you can never exactly know what someone really is and what they are thinking. But you can learn to translate better what a specific behaviour could mean in any situation.
The bottom line is that reading people is a game of practice. The more you do it, the better you learn it.