How to Read Someone Like a Book

Body language can never lie; words and statements, however, can.  Learning to calibrate increases your ability to know what a person is feeling.  This becomes extremely potent when trying to eliminate confusion in communication and also to avoid getting deluded with words.

In NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), State Calibration are just “indicators” of a person’s state. When the red light is on the oven, it mean it’s heating up.  When you’ve calibrated a person, you can know that a specific person a brow furrowed, right eye squinted and hunched means they’re perplexed.  Therefore the “brow furrowed, right eye squinted and hunched” state is like the red light on the oven; both the red oven light and the furrowed brow, squint, and hunch serve as indicators for what’s going on “inside”.

How Do You Calibrate a State?

When you see a person having a unique body posture, or movement, you ask them what they feel, and if they respond, you’ll know that that specific external body language, posture, breathing, and the like corresponds to their state!  ANY time you see them with “brow furrowed, right eye squinted and hunched, ask them what they’re feeling.  If they respond, you’ve just successfully calibrated their state!  Now whenever you see that external body language, you will understand that for that person it calibrates to “perplexed”.

A green light on the oven could mean, “cleaning mode”, just as someone who’s in a state where their breathing is steady, chest out, and smiling, and you ask them what they feel they’ll say “happy” you’ve calibrated that “breathing is steady, chest out, and smiling” to mean happy for THEM.  So to that specific person, just as the green light means “cleaning mode”, “breathing steady, chest out, and smiling” means “feeling happy”.  Now, “breathing is steady, chest out, and smiling” does not mean happy for every person; just that specific person. To continue the analogy to now an absurd level of metaphor (LOL!) everyone’s “oven” is built different with different indicator lights. The oven lights are just a metaphor for “external indicator” that calibrates to an “internal state”.

So Why is This Useful?

State Calibration has millions of applications, but we can focus on two: dissolving confusion and persuasion.   Having calibrated a state is obviously clarifying because it  decreases confusion from ALL of these external states and configurations of body posture, breathing cadence, brow, voice tone, etc, because now you know, after calibrating, those are indicators of internal states. If you ask them what they’re feeling (so you don’t fall into the trap of mind reading) and they answer with a response of their internal state, you have just calibrated their external sensory indicators to their internal state! Congrats!! Successful calibration!

Persuasive Calibration

Now let’s examine the persuasive benefits of State Calibration.  Let’s say you’ve calibrated a state when you notice a person has “dilated pupils, slumped shoulders, and tapping feet”.  What state does that calibrate to?  Well you ask them and they respond, “Interested.  I feel interested right now.” Excellent!  Now you know that whenever that person displays that “dilated pupils, slumped shoulders, and tapping feet” external behavior, then you know they’re interested.  Why would knowing their internal state be so persuasively valuable?  Let’s say you’re offering this person a sale and he suddenly pops into his “interested state” but SAYS “The price is too high; I don’t have my heart set on the product.”  If you hadn’t calibrated, you might have sold the product to him for a lower price.  However, the calibration master would demand the sale as is or even increase the price!  Why?  Because the person who has calibrated already knows that this person is clearly interested.

Additionally, you can know when you’ve successfully put someone into a state.  What if you’ve calibrated a woman to “aroused” or a prospective client to “attentive and eager”.  You know when your communication is successful because you have those calibration “lights” that flick on revealing to you that your communication is effective!  All the best communicators and the most persuasive people utilize state calibration because everyone needs “checks and indicators” for if what they’re communicating is working or not!  You need feedback for what and how you communicate and all the lights start flashing and you can learn to read a person “like an oven” 😉 with effective state calibration!

About the Author: John Thomas Kooz also blogs on Validate Life

8 thoughts on “How to Read Someone Like a Book

  1. AndeaZ

    To be honest, I missed some examples. More examples of calibration in more earthly situation would do the trick of explaining how effective it is.

    “Filter” your ideas in short and simple sentence.

  2. John Kooz

    Thanks mate! I’m honored to be a guest author on this WICKED sick gnarly site. It’s truly an epicenter for cutting edge communication tricks, I’m an avid reader of, so guest-authoring was a massive feast of opportunity.
    re State Callibration. I hear what you’re saying about short examples of state callibration. The tough part about portraying how massively effective it is, is that each “callibrated state” has atleast 1-5 kinesthetic, visual, or auditory aspects to it. Examples: Kinesthetic — Maybe the person changes their posture, walks differently, smiles or frowns differently in the callibrated state. Visual: Maybe in the callibrated state the person squints, opens their eyes more widely, scans more actively. For example, when you ask someone a non yes-no question, a trained micro-expression observer can literally see the person’s eyes do a transderivational search (which sometimes involves flickering the eyes to certain areas to access memory areas of the brain); those are visual calibration indicators. Auditory: in the calibrated state the person my speak more loudly, softly, their tone my change, or fluctuate in pitch. The key method is you’re looking for auditory, kinesthetic, and/or visual changes in a person externally. THOSE are you indicators for their internal state. If invited back, I could easily do a “Part 2” of this article for state calibration in general or for specific application to a proposed scenario such as “State Calibration while on a date” or “State calibration while dealing with a questionable salesman” or “State calibration OF YOUR SELF while delivering a presentation infront of an audience”.

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  4. Cristianferreira

    Calibration is pretty much a dsitsaer. In Senge’s terms, it’s an implicit goal limiting growth. As an organization, you want to inspire managers to develop and hire the best team they possibly can. But calibration creates a powerful incentive to have a team that matches that bell curve.The fascinating part to me is that a lot of organizations don’t even have to enforce the bell curve, at any level. The existing forces all act in perfect concert so people create it on their own. Now you have even managers of small groups trying to match the curve. Which means as a manager, life is easier for you if you have a few low performers in your group. If you have all high performers, you will have to fight and justify like hell to get them all above average ratings; it may even be an impossible fight to win depending on your clout with a couple of management levels above you.The path of least resistance is to have a low performer or two; a couple of people you can give low ratings too and easily justify to yourself and them. Not that I think people do this consciously, but this type of implicit goal can become very powerful and many will never realize it.A really great manager can keep things balanced even in the face of calibration, but average ones can not properly reward the right people consistently. I’d also have my really great managers focusing on other things, rather than learning how to game the system just so they can reward the right people. Calibration definitely solves a problem, but the cure is worse than the disease.


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