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Seeing Clearly – beyond Bias and Expectation

smartphone-1790835_1920 (Mobile)

Despite all the current debate around AI, human relationships in both the professional and personal sphere are and will remain vital for success and wellbeing.

We know that we form impressions of others in a fraction of a second, based on a limbic system legacy of checking for foes or friends. Responding based on first impressions or pre- conceptions can lead to missed opportunities, regardless of whether those first impressions are positive or negative.

A recent experiment for an ad campaign illustrated the mistakes we can make by forming pre-conceptions of the person before us. Six photographers were each given a different backstory for their subject – none of which were true. Each photographer based their portrait on the story, and perceived the subject to be the ex-convict, drug addict etc he had been presented as. See the video below:

We are all prone to bias in many forms, and it is probably impossible for humans to drop it altogether.  Whether we realize it or not we are continually broadcasting a wealth of information about ourselves just by turning up. Our facial features, expressions, posture and body language tell the world who and how we are. The shape of the face in itself frames the story. The features, lines, angles and colours literally flesh out the details. My role as a profiler, whether I work with individuals or companies requires me to be as objective and empathetic as possible.


As per the above quote, allowing ourselves to really see and get to know the other person creates the possibility for us to like and trust each other. Please note that I would always advise against being naive. That something looks good doesn’t necessarily mean it is. Having gathered your evidence I recommend you to test it.  The strongest and most durable relationships will be able to survive tests and challenges.

Having a background in meditation helps me enter into an internal silence where I can simply allow the information to present itself. Rather than looking for anything in particular I start from the viewpoint that every individual has potentially interesting qualities. When profiling a candidate for recruitment/promotion or a potential client the process is by definition more clinical. Any information I glean must be directly relevant to the needs of my client.

When profiling a private client empathy plays a bigger role. Even highly successful individuals have doubts and insecurities. My role there is to help them identify their strengths with greater clarity, allowing them to present and communicate with an increased sense of purpose and confidence.

We live in an increasingly busy world with great demands on our time and attention. Allowing ourselves to step back even momentarily opens up great new opportunities to connect and build deep relationships. How about giving yourself that gift? The rewards are likely to be substantial.

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Joseph McGuire is the owner of Clearsight Communications who provide personal evaluation services and training in the areas of senior level recruitment/promotion, negotiations, sales and HR. Individual consultation sessions are available both in person and via Skype. He is also in demand for group presentations, private functions and conferences. For further information email:

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U.S. Presidents – Faces of Power?

FILE - 5 SEPTEMBER 2012: The 2012 Democratic National Convention began yesterday with former US Preseident Bill Clinton taking to the stage this evening to speak. The November 6, 2012 elections will decide between US Presidential Candidates Barack Obama (L) and Mitt Romney. For a look back at the last 100 years of US Presidential races. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery: (FILE PHOTO) In this composite image a comparison has been made between former US Presidential Candidates John F Kennedy (L) and Richard Nixon. In 1960 John F Kennedy won the presidential election to become the President of the United States. ***LEFT IMAGE*** 1960: Senator John F Kennedy, the Democratic candidate smiles on November 9, 1060. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images) ***RIGHT IMAGE*** 1960: American politician Richard Nixon looks up on July 19, 1969. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 150262549
November 9, 1060. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Even in this hi-tech world our faces are an integral part of our brand. Those we meet form impressions of us in micro-seconds. As part of my profession I assess people based on their facial features, micro-expressions and their body language. I do this to help clients make clear and informed decisions about who they hire and who they’re doing business with. Often I don’t have the opportunity to sit across from someone so I must form a detailed and accurate impression of their personality and behaviour style from their photograph. This might sound impossible but you can tell a great deal about someone from their photo.

Instinctively and historically we have tended to associate particular features with leadership and trustworthiness. A classic example of this came in the U.S. presidential campaign of 1960. This was the first time the candidates were shown debating live on TV. John F. Kennedy recognised the power of the medium and was amenable to the requests of the studio people, including wearing makeup. Richard Nixon in contrast was ill, wasn’t taking his medication, and refused to wear makeup, on the grounds that it was unmanly! (Anyone appearing on TV nowadays will know the importance of makeup.) During the debate Nixon perspired and looked unshaven, whereas Kennedy appeared youthful, relaxed and energetic. The TV debate was regarded as being a decisive factor in a close run election. Interestingly a survey of radio listeners made Nixon a clear winner of the debate. A clear case of pictures painting a thousand words!

Donald Trump (Mobile)

More recently Donald Trump became the 45th POTUS. Over many years he has crafted a public image of himself as a powerful, decisive and no-nonsense business leader, with exaggerated body language to match. This image helped to impress a high enough percentage of the electoral college for him to be elected. A closer look at his facial features provides a much more detailed profile of his personality. Trump has a relatively square face, which the Chinese refer to as an Iron face – a trait he shared with Winston Churchill. This shape is associated with great stamina, a very strong will, and a tendency to rely on strong instincts – which are often accurate. His bone structure is strong, and coupled with his large nose indicates that he will be an imposing personality with very strong drives – He will invariably speak his mind. The dip at the bridge of the nose shows his lack of patience with meetings.

His eyes are usually narrowed, and where this is not as a consequence of visual impairment it is a likely sign of a calculating personality. (NB – Ultimately the eyes are the most important part of Face Reading. In western culture making eye contact is important, and we should pay close attention to the message we get from the eyes. In the case of Donald Trump there is very rarely any warmth evident, so we can be clear that he acts primarily in his own interests.)The thick upper eyelid folds are a sign of a large ego. The left eyelid fold is noticeably thicker, meaning that his ego will be more pronounced in his private life. The inner angle of the left eye is more acute than the right eye, so his temper will be quite evident to those living with him. The 3-dimensional fleshy bump on his chin is associated with bursts of impulsive, unpredictable and even childish behaviour which will frequently be a means of demonstrating his macho side.

In our increasingly busy world we can become accustomed to brief glances, leading to what psychologists refer to as ‘inattentional blindness’. It pays to take a little more time and care to see the details and discover who we’re really dealing with and prepare accordingly.


Joseph McGuire is the owner of Clearsight Communications who provide personal evaluation services and training in the areas of senior level recruitment/promotion, negotiations, sales and HR. Individual consultation sessions are available both in person and via Skype. He is also in demand for group presentations, private functions and conferences. For further information email: