One of the things that I hear very often in therapy, is that people want to understanding others better. They want to learn to read them, and understand what their unspoken messages mean. This is quite hard for some, and it can make their lives and their ability to form relationships very difficult, as 97% of communication is unspoken. Clearly, we need to be able to pick up on the unspoken messages that people are conveying to us. So where do we start to understand people and pick up on social cues? Here is a list that will hopefully get you off to a good start.
1.Learn each person's unspoken messages that they are trying to convey. For example, if a co-worker puts on headphones when they are busy, this is a sign that they are not to be disturbed. They have things to do, and they are trying to make that fact clear. This is one of many unspoken signals, but I use it as a more obvious example.
2. Learn to put yourselves in the other person's shoes. This is known as empathy. When we are able to look at a situation from the other person's point of view, we better understand them. This does not mean we have to agree with what they say, simply that we hear and understand them. This can develop tolerance.
3. Gather all the information you can before jumping to conclusions about someone, or a situation. Often, misunderstandings occur between people when they do not seek to clarify and understand the others experience. If we gather all the facts, we are more likely to understand why someone made the choices they made, and how we can resolve the matter to mutual satidfaction.
4. Learn to attack the issue and not the person. If we focus on the issue, we can understand their line of thinking, how they operate, and how a situation came to fruition. If we focus on the issue at hand, and refrain from personal attacks, we will have success at resolving issues, and get along better with others.
5. Be more tolerant of other people. Each of us holds personal beliefs, morals, and values. We often hold others to these standards and ideals, without their knowledge. This person also have their own set of values, morals, and beliefs, and are acting on them. If we learn, and respect, that we all come from different backgrounds and belief systems, we can understand where the other person is coming from, and we can try and avoid holding them to our personal standards.
6. Look for the good in others. We often make assumption about others. That they have bad intentions, or that they are thinking a certain way about us, because we do not understand what other people are thinking. Take a step back and try and think about what the good qualities in other people. If we search the strengths they have they bring to the team or your partnership, we will grow to appreciate them and what they bring to work or our relationship.
7. Use guided imagery. Feel the connectedness among all people, and realize that in some ways, this person is part of who you are. They may have strengths that balance out your weaknesses and vice versa. If we learn the skills of visualizing these strengths are more likely to come together to work well. This technique can be done it anytime and anywhere, and no one is the wiser. It really can help you to see things clearly.
8. Take as hard a look at yourself, as you would at someone else. Each of us has our strengths and weaknesses. This is true in our career, and in our personal relationships. If we are able to be honest about what each person brings to the table, we can focus on that. We can focus from a strengths based place, and let someone who is good in another's areas of weakness help more in that area..