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Seeing Clearly – beyond Bias and Expectation

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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: