Reading other people

Reading other people

Look at this picture. What do you see?
I am sure your description is very good. Now answer the following questions about the person in the picture.

What is she thinking?
What is her job?
What is she called?

Can you do it? Not without guessing – but we are all guessing all the time. We guess
whether it is going to rain, whether we can trust someone, how long it is going to take to get
from one place to another. Call it guessing if you like. It is really forecasting and it is what
makes us different from animals. We have learnt to forecast in a way they have not.
Correct forecasting is what makes people successful. And correct forecasting starts with
reading other people. As you master that you also learn to understand – and forecast –
situations involving people.

Here’s an example:

Where is this person going?
What mood is this person in?
What are the dangers for this person?
What are the dangers for others involved with this person?
What action must you take in light of your answers?

Is reading other people and situations difficult?

Sometimes. Some people are trained not to be read. Detectives don’t let on what they are
thinking, nor do doctors. They would give away clues that might upset their investigation or
diagnosis. Some people have a natural guard against giving away information. The very rich
learn quickly how dangerous it is to tell people how wealthy they are. The embarrassed poor
often hide their poverty with pathetic efforts to keep up with their neighbours.

We all have to protect ourselves in this world. One of the best protections you can give
yourself or a child is the ability to read other people and to diagnose situations that might
become tricky. How much will it cost? That depends on where you have got to already. We
will put you through a short diagnostic test and tell you how many sessions you might need.
It is usually between 5 and 10. Our rule is “as few as possible, as many as necessary”.

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