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Reading a Business Contact #2

In the first post of this series, we talked about reading the eyebrow height to know how formal or friendly to be to a person. In this post, we'll look at the amount of eyelids for clues about how much information they want from you.

People with a lot of eyelids showing (such as Cher, Susan Sarandon, Michael Caine, Anthony Hopkins) are basically-cut to-the-chase people.

The opposite trait, no eyelids showing (such as Leonardo di Caprio, Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger, Nicole Kidman), are "why babies." They have to understand the whys. They want the whole story.

When you are dealing with a no-eyelids person (a why baby) expect a lot of questions, a need for clarification and even to have a question probing eyesanswered with another question. Everything has to make sense to them and they tend to probe for answers until they are satisfied they understand the matters at hand. They like to get to the bottom of things, comparison shop and have a real-world grasp of any subject of inquiry.

When trying to explain something to these eyelids:

  • Give them a complete picture
  • Answer questions fully
  • Offer sources as to where they can check things out further
  • More information is better

If they ask you a question, be thorough but short and wait for questions. If they are interested, you will get questions! Just be sure your answers make sense and cover the subject without gaps.

If you ask them a question, expect a lot of information and maybe a question to find out what and why you want to know something from them. Remember, it has to make sense from their perspective.


On the other hand, if you are dealing with a huge eyelids person, a bottomliner, it is better to cut to the chase. They hate the blow-by-blow accounts, all the preparation before getting to the point. Don't build a case with them. Just tell them the succinct version of what you want to get across. They'll appreciate it and might even keep you around. Wait for them to ask before launching into explanations of anything. bottomlineThen:

  • Give them the brief summary
  • Core issues or purely relevant information only
  • If they want to know more they will ask
  • Less is more

When they ask what you do, as in networking, don't launch into a sales pitch. Give them the 30 second elevator speech and quit.

If you ask them a question, be prepared for the short answer. (If they have thin lips, a small mouth and deep-set eyes, be careful what you ask! These are very private people.)

These insights can also help you to know what kind of report to give a supervisor or potential client:

  • Probing, why-baby no eyelids want the 20 page report that explains everything.
  • Cut-to-the-chase big eyelids want the one page (half a page is better) summary, in bullet points.

When you know your own traits, you then know how to shift your usual mode when you see the opposite traits. You can understand and deliver what that person wants from you. You "talk to the traits" and build rapport instead of frustrating those people. A powerful but subtle tool!

In the next post, we'll look at distance between the eyes. This one could save you when trying to make points with a new boss or potential client!