Mind-Reading Hot Spots


  • Increase your awareness of ways in which you may be unconsciously contributing to others’ mind-reads of you
  • Identify specific steps you could take to make yourself less of a target for mind-reads

Estimated time: 8–12 minutes

What do you do that might create ambiguity in your work or personal life, possibly encouraging people to develop mind-reads of you? Jot down notes about:

  • when you tend to be silent (when you’re angry or upset? when you’re confused? when you’re thinking something through?)
  • the types of jokes you make, including teasing people (for instance, do you often use sarcasm or tease people affectionately?)
  • when you tend to laugh, or not laugh (when you’re nervous? when you’re embarrassed? When someone tells a joke that seems inappropriate to you?)
  • your style of email and phone communication (wordy or terse? personal or impersonal?)
  • your style of talking in a group (are you the most talkative? least talkative? do you ask lots of questions? do you often interrupt or challenge others’ ideas?)
  • vague expressions you use (such as “That’s different” or “How unusual”)
  • your voice tone and manner of speaking (do you tend to speak very softly or loudly, or with an unusual inflection?)
  • your facial expressions, posture, and other body language (do you often smile, frown, cross your arms, or hold your body in a particular position that might encourage speculation about your frame of mind?)

With this information in hand, identify at least two things you could do to make yourself less of a target for mind-reads.

If you have trouble with this exercise, ask somebody close to you to help you with it. Often other people are more aware of our communication habits and idiosyncrasies than we are.

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