Being a good judge of character is a unique and valuable skill.  One that will advance your career, increase your net worth, give you more personal friends, as well as make you more money.  If you can be a good judge of character, you will be able to avoid hiring mistakes, size up first impressions with your new boss and correctly focus on what matters to potential decision makers.  Judging someone on their skill and accomplishments is relatively objective and straightforward, but gauging their attitude is much harder and it will take a one-on-one meeting, attentive listening, and careful observation – something that is not provided by social media and the number of followers you have.

If we turn it back on ourselves, the judgements other people make about you has a significant impact on your social world too, whether accurate or inaccurate, your reputation is everything.  The judgements of others are an important part of the social world we live in, and it can greatly affect your future opportunities, your personality, and life expectancies.  Let’s take an example of someone that is overly shy.  This is a common trait as well as a lonely one.  Because shy people spend a lot of time by themselves, they deny themselves the opportunity to create normal social interactions.  What’s worse, if they ask for help, they are less likely to get it because they come off as less warm, too confident, and less fluent than others do, who don’t suffer from shyness.  Since people are constantly making personality judgements about others, it is important to make a good first impression and to realize this could be one of the things that is holding you back.

There are some basic tips that can further your career and your relationships with others.  Here are three benchmark observations that someone will judge you on that will quickly help them to make the decision to either like you, help you, befriend you, or drop you like a stone and move on to someone else.  (Borkenau & Liebler,93 + Funder & Sneed 99).

First, what is the “talk-to-listen-to” ratio when you engage in a conversation with someone.  You want to converse with people who are confident and not afraid to express their views, but if they are talking more than 60% of the time – WHY?  If this is you, the person that you are “talking at” will immediately believe you are not interested in knowing anything from others.  You will be perceived as too self-absorbed, too nervous, or just someone who rambles on about nothing important just to hear their own voice.

Second, you want to be a “giver” not a “taker.”  You want to be constantly sharing a positive and optimistic view towards your life, family, and career.  No one wants to be around negative energy, (unless it’s your mother).  Energy givers are compassionate, generous and the type of people that others want to spend time with.  They are also the people that make more money, get more perks, and climb the corporate ladder faster than the whiners and complainers.

Third, how do you treat strangers?  Are you kind; or do you ignore subordinates and treat people rudely? Do you have the desire to learn and take action based on the things that happen to you?  Can you be humble?

Everyone struggles through their lives.  There is not one person on this planet that gets a free ride.  Everyone will be hurt, humiliated, abused and broken when they are young or old.  The difference between those that succeed and those that are continually judged unfairly is whether you act or react to your circumstances.  Those that go immediately into the defensive and become critical when dealing with adversities always fail or at the very least will never reach their full potential.  The others who step up, problem-solve, and move to act are the people that will always get ahead, prosper, and generally be happier and more content with their life.  Remember, you always have the choice to be better.

Do more, forget the past, and move on to greatness.


Good Luck & Best Wishes,

ATML - Christine Ibbotson