Calibrating

In the context of a conversation, „calibrating“ refers to the process of observing body language, facial expressions, tone of voice and other analogue elements of communication. This will help you to develop a better intuition and create more accurate hypotheses to better align with the person you’re talking to.

Here are some key aspects of calibrating in a conversation:

  • Tone, Pace, Volume

    For example, if they are speaking in a calm and measured tone, you could conclude their thoughts are structured and they are emotionally relaxed.
  • Facial Expressions

    While a smile or a frown are easy to observe, you might also want to pay attention to more subtle expressions, like pursed lips, a slightly raised eyebrow, eye-movements to the sides or vertically.
  • Gestures

    Gestures oftentimes reveal how people structure their thoughts. They might gesture to their left, when speaking about the past and to the right, when discussion the future. Hand movements might speed up or slow down with certain aspects of their story.
  • Posture

    Are they leaning forward or backwards, to the loft or to the right. Do they move a lot or not so much? Most importantly, when do major shifts in posture occur?
  • Clothing and Accessories

    Although artefacts like clothing and accessories are less likely to change during a conversation, they can reveal a bit of background. Are they wearing makeup? Did they take time to shave? Are their clothes freshly ironed or does it seem like they dressed in a hurry? What kind of jewelry or accessories do they show?

Please keep in mind that all your assumptions might be dead wrong. Calibrating is not about mindreading, it is about paying close attention and using your hypotheses to create more empathy, understanding and better dialogues.

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