Step 3: Empathy - Working out the Core Emotional Drives of Others (Part 2)

Last Updated Feb 18, 2009 7:24 PM EST

In my last blog I described how to use TOPDOG which stands for Talk-Organisation-Position-Dress-Office-Gambit to work out the core emotional drives of someone's personality and in particular the three clues of Organisation, Position and Gambit.

Now I am going to discuss the other three clues: Talk, Dress, and Office.

This is a simple framework you use when you first meet someone. First, talk. What a person says and how it is said are major clues to a person's temperament. Shy, stubborn people use visual words like look and see. Assertive, aggressive people use audio words like listen and hear, which project minded engineers use touching words such as feel, hot or cold. Hustlers name-drop and talk about money early. Others socialise, some with jokes, others with a hypochondriac list of aches and pains.

Dress and general appearance are key signals of the personality. Shakespeare said, "The apparel oft proclaims the man" or, the modern equivalent, "I dress to make a statement about myself". Machiavellian personalities generally wear clothes that are generally glitzy, if not flashy. For example, a male Hustler generally wears red or orange striped ties. The female Hustler will have rings on at least two or three fingers and heavy gold earrings. Another clue is that Hustlers often wear designer label clothes as they love to drop names.

Energetic optimists usually have their coats off, collar unbuttoned and sleeves rolled up. They often appear to be rushing from one task to another. They like to wear casual clothes such as jeans, running shoes and loose fitting shirts and pullovers. Movers like bright colours and patterns and often wear yellow or have a message on a T-shirt.

It is the offices of the aggressive, assertive people which give them away. It is often in the most dominant position in the building and larger than the surrounding offices. Even if the offices are the same size you will see status symbols such as name plates, degrees and certificates on the walls and the desk in a dominant position.

Another clue is the photo on the desk. Machiavellian personalities are often divorced, you will often see a family picture with the ex-wife missing or a second picture with the trophy wife.

Engineers often have timetables, project charts and pictures of big projects such as bridges, buildings or aeroplanes hanging on the wall. They usually have shelving crammed with books on a number of diverse topics. Their desks are usually untidy but they tend to know where everything is.

By using the TOPDOG framework you can soon work out a person's core emotional drives. Try it --- you will be surprised with the results.