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The Intuitive Science of People 01: Human Baseline

The Intuitive Science of People 01: Human Baseline

If you ever wonder how you can gauge people, you're in the right place.

For this episode of TISP, we'll discuss the Human Baseline.

The Intuitive Science of People is an article series that talks about my personal experiences and observations with human behavior.

Disclaimer: I am in no way a psychology expert, but for more than a decade I've been doing A/B split tests with people just for fun.

The Middle

The Human Baseline is simple.

I firmly believe that emotion is a spectrum, not a clearly defined set of terms.

You can either be negative or positive in your emotions and it's only a matter of how negative or positive.

With this, the way forward in gauging someone is to set a Human Baseline.

First, spend a great deal of time with them during moments they are relaxed.

  1. How do they look?
  2. Their tone of voice?
  3. Their hand gestures? Hand placements?
  4. Their body's orientation?
  5. Their talking speed?
  6. Their breathing?

.... and many more.

The goal is, to see what they're like when they're neutral.

The question is..... are they really neutral?

They might be, or they might not. Despite what most would claim, you would never really know.

Now, this is where it gets interesting...

From the baseline you got from his relaxed state, you can clearly gauge the marginal changes to his baseline behavior.

The easiest way to illustrate this is with someone's voice when they're angry.

When someone's relaxed, his voice is relaxed and his talking speed is paced just right.

However, when someone's angry you can see his voice rising in volume and his talking speed increasing in pace.

In this scenario, we've given a term to his emotion, but in reality, you'll only be able to accurately determine that they're starting to move away from their baseline.

I've seen a ton of mofos in this world who would be so enraged, but still maintain a calm tone and paced voice.

Bottomline? It's different for every individual.

Is it moving toward negative or positive? How would you know?

Well, you need to expand your baseline even further.

Is it positive or is it negative? What's his edge like?

The way to determine is to observe how he is if he's positive and observe how he is when he's negative.

Essentially, find the edges of his emotion and behavior.

How would you do that?

Observe him in situations where it's clear as day how he's feeling.

There are moments in life when one is clearly seen to be in a state of extreme emotion.

It's the right time for you to take note of how he is moving away from his baseline.

For example, let's say someone is clearly angry and has clearly stated this fact. In this scenario, you know exactly that he is feeling negatively.

Ask yourself...

  1. How did his voice change away from his baseline when he started feeling negative?
  2. How did his talking speed move away from his baseline when he started feeling negative?

Take note of how he moved away from his baseline and remember that he does this when he's negative.

Do the same thing for times he feels positive and take note of it.

How to apply?

In the world of sales, relationships matter.

The quality and the scale to which you maintain relationships are a direct reflection of how you interact with people.

By understanding the human baseline and calibrating a person's emotional edges, you can be more perceptive of his reaction and know how you should react and respond to him in different situations.

In sales, you can effectively build better rapport by being perceptive to your prospect's baseline and carefully observing how he moves away from that neutrality as you progress through your conversations.

This will give you the information of how open and willing he is to what you're currently discussing, which in most cases is your product.


The human baseline isn't rocket science, but it's a good thing to observe and calibrate in every relationship that you have.

This will not only help you be better in sales but also help you become a better person in all of your relationships.

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