Are You Reading Others Correctly?

Leadership requires understanding your audience

Vincent Vicari, MPA
2 min readNov 29, 2022


Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

People are like books. Some are open. Some are closed. Many change genres right in the middle. The endings are unwritten. The challenge in any leadership position is whether you are reading people correctly.

Interacting with others is a fundamental responsibility of leadership. In fact, for many leaders, that’s all they do.

From meetings to presentations, to interviews, you name it, interacting with other people is foundational. Communicating on numerous levels and via many different formats is essential to successful leadership.

Leaders need to express their vision clearly, concisely, and to many different individuals and teams. To accomplish this, you need to know your audience and gauge how they receive information.

How you read others is a simple matter of listening and observing. Your communication isn’t about what you are saying.

Your communication is about listening and gaining understanding from the listener. Reading others and communicating your ideas isn’t about you.

When you interact with others, there are a few actions you should take:

  1. Observe their body language and facial expressions.
  2. Pause and ask if they understand.
  3. Repeat back any questions they have so you understand what’s being asked.

Communicating is more about listening than talking. As a leader, you set that tone and the example. Once you “read” your audience, you can tailor your message delivery appropriately.

You will find more success in carrying out your mission and daily tasks when everyone in your audience is clear on your message.

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Vincent Vicari, MPA

Artist, illustrator, and writer on Personal Development, Leadership, and Creativity. See more at