You don’t have to have superpowers to read people’s minds.
In fact, one executive says getting an accurate read on people is crucial to getting ahead in your career.
Loren Miner, COO of recruitment services company Decision Toolbox, has become “an expert on reading minds,” she says. For her, it’s all about perception.
“Being perceptive leads to being more successful, both in life and in business,” she says. “A gap in perception could be a deal’s greatest vulnerability.”
Miner shared some tips to help anyone improve their mind-reading abilities.
Become a better listener.
“You have to go in with big ears and a small mouth,” Miner says. “Otherwise, you’ll miss the subtle cues that a person gives.”
Her strategy is to create an open-ended dialogue, which sparks a nice discussion and allows her to really listen to the other person. “You can so, so easily perceive an engaged and passionate voice,” she says.
Be aware of the person’s background and preferences.
“People come to any situation with a different set of lenses based on their experiences and their culture,” Miner says. Prior to any meeting, consider who you’re dealing with and try to create an environment that fits their comfort zone.
Millennials, for example, may be less comfortable in face-to-face meetings and more familiar with video calls, she says. Baby boomers, on the other hand, tend to thrive in face-to-face environments and might prefer that.
Focus on nonverbal cues.
Awareness is the number-one skill managers should have, Miner says. Picking up on someone’s body language — whether it’s poor eye contact, bad posture, crossed arms, or something else — seems easy and obvious, but Miner says it’s very easily missed.
Top employees aren’t necessarily smarter, she says, but they’re often emotionally intelligent and highly perceptive.
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