How to Read People by Coach K
It's human nature to form quick opinions based on nonverbal
communication, particularly when meeting someone for the first time. Reading
people accurately is an important skill for leaders because it can help you
understand a person's feelings, likes, and dislikes, as well as a variety of
personality traits. Continue reading for Coach K's advice on how to read
What Does It Mean to Read Someone?
Reading others means analyzing verbal and nonverbal cues to
judge their character, behavior, thoughts, or feelings. The observations you
make while interacting with someone help you determine the type of person they
Reading another person frequently manifests as a gut
feeling. Perhaps the person you're speaking with exudes confidence or suffers
from low self-esteem. They may appear to be either an introvert or an
extrovert. To effectively read someone, you must pay close attention to their
body language, which includes posture, eye contact, physical movements, and
A person's expression can reveal a lot about how they are
feeling. For example, studies show that a person's smile when experiencing an
authentic positive emotion uses more facial muscles than if they are faking it.
Body language cues can also reveal information about a person. Liars, for
example, are more likely to fidget than those who tell the truth.
When reading people, one must be aware of one's own biases.
First impressions can help us navigate them, but they rarely tell the whole
story. Read someone's body language when you first meet them to establish a
baseline for their behavior patterns. An anxious person, for example, may be
more prone to fidgeting, but this does not necessarily imply that they are
3 Tips From Coach K on Reading People
Coach K believes that reading people extends beyond first
impressions. "What I try to do is learn more about people," he
explains. "That is extremely important to me in order to be a good
leader." Coach K offers some advice on how to read your team:
1. Read body language. "I'm always looking at body
language," Coach K says. "Every game is taped, but I also tape my
bench." Coach K looks for players who lack enthusiasm when the team makes
a big play and seeks the opportunity to address any issues the player may not
have expressed verbally.
2. Know your audience. "You can show respect to
your team by meeting them where they are," Coach K says. Pay close
attention to your team's body language, clothing, and tone of voice in addition
to what they say. Then, in your actions, reflect these qualities. "Do
something to let them know [you're] in their world," he says.
3. Seek understanding. When relaying a message to
someone on a basketball court or in the office, watch people closely to ensure
they've understood what you said. Micro-expressions indicate whether or not
they received your message. For example, if someone nods but their face is
puzzled, find another way to reinforce your message. "It's up to you to
get the message across," Coach K says.