How not to sound like a mind reader

Here’s an example: Some one says to you, “I know you’re going to love this new assignment.” You’re probably thinking, “Why does he think I’ll love this job? I’ll be the judge of that.” When you presume to know what the other person is thinking or feeling, you put them on the defensive and they look for an exception to what you’ve said. They might even be offended by your assumption. Here are some other common mind reading statements:

“As I’m sure you know…”  triggers:  “No, I don’t. I must be uninformed.” This makes the person feel stupid and out of touch since apparently everybody else knows.

“I know you are proud of this company…” generates:   “Are you kidding me? Does he work for the same company I do?” It’s also very condescending and creates a chasm between upper management who most likely made the comment and the workforce at large.

“I know you’ll agree,…” countered by:  “Sorry, I disagree. So I guess that makes you right and me wrong!” That’s an arrogant statement. You haven’t given people the opportunity to debate the issue. That kind of statement makes people want to reject your position and take the opposing view.

In an effort to find common ground and identify with your audience, statements like these have the opposite effect. People resent being patronized even if your assumptions are correct. Give people the freedom to think their own thoughts and they will be more receptive to what you say. Turn. “I know you’ll agree…” into “I hope you’ll agree. Instead of “I know you are proud…” try , “Some of you might be proud…” By giving plenty of room for various viewpoints or options, you don’t box someone into a corner or assume to read their mind.

Even if mind reading were possible, people would avoid mind readers at all costs. Don’t give people the impression you can read theirs.

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