If you gamble, if you are good at it, you become sensitive to your opponents and can read their expresses, their eye movements, even their breathing.
These 'tells' , if you can read them, are how to play your cards.
Using gambling tools to read general human behaviour might seem discomforting, but, in reality, the person at that poker table who is 'reading' his opponents knows how to bet.
Learning 'tells' and how to read them gives one an enviable insight into human behaviour.
The player, who knows how to 'mask' his actual position in regards to the cards s/he holds, also possesses that 'power' to read people and how to manipulate them.
These abilities are not confined to that card table, of course, they are used in daily life by people who are aware of them.
A Few Simple Basics
Not to get into psycho-babble or over intellectualise, certain behaviours can be read and understood once one knows the 'tell'.
The 'Tell' is a giveaway action. It could be a mode of speech, a gesture, eye movements, expressions, etc.
In every day life, if a person who festoons his office with photographs of himself, awards and diplomas and acts as if a king in his domain, you know he has a crushing inferiority complex.
He uses these photos and awards to over compensate for his feelings of inferiority. So, you know how to play him.
Superiority Complex/Inferiority Complex
People who display overt signs of 'superiority' to others are over-compensating for a sense of inferiority.
They need the signs and symbols of success because they know they are not worthy.
Aware of their weakness, inability and general inferiority, they over react by attempting to prove they are 'better' than everyone else.
Most of these people are Bosses From Hell, men (or women) who 'Know' they are less than those who work for them, and attempt to 'prove' they are better by suppression and oppression.
Anyone who behaves as if they are 'better' than others has intense feelings of inferiority and uses this 'over compensation'.
To play them, act 'awed'. Let them talk and show off and be small to their giant in their presence.
If you can act the worshipful accoylte you can play them like a piccolo.
There are people who will lie about anything and everything.
No matter how unimportant or irrelevant, they lie.
They have an innate fear of others. No matter how big they are, no matter how old, they lie. Lying comes from fear.
This is a general fear, a cowardice. It is virtually genetic. The parent/child of a liar is usually a liar.
When working with someone whom you need to trust, whom you believe is one of these virtually pathological liars you have to set a few 'traps' so as to expose them.
These can be monetary, but can also be general mistruths.
Many politicians are born liars. They will lie, deceive, misrepresent. When caught they try to 'explain' or twist, so that, in their own minds, they have 'escaped'.
Persons who try to be too precise are often liars.
A non-liar will say things like, "I believe it will take two weeks..." or "I will try to..."
A liar will say; "You'll get that in five days," or "I will..."
The fact of life is that you don't control it. You don't control the rain, the traffic, other people, or events. You can't be certain of anything, if you are honest.
The best you can do is express your belief and your intention and possibilities. To be too precise is dishonest.
Hence, Liars fall into the trap.
The Use of Silence
Often, a person who doesn't say anything is overlooked. The assumption is that they have no opinion on the subject or, 'silence is consent'.
In reality, people who are silent are showing a contempt.
Whether they aren't listening, whether they disagree but are not going to say it, in many cases there is a contempt as obvious as farting in your face.
Too often people assume that because X didn't say anything s/he agrees with the point.
More often, X is either totally against what you are saying and doesn't want to admit it, (like a spy capturing data) or has such contempt for you that anything that comes out of your mouth is flushed.
Often a group decides on some venue or practice and the one who is silent doesn't show up or participate.
There are other tells where one can 'read' people.
The few I've listed are quite obvious and will lead to you uncovering many more aspects you have never noticed before.
You'll realise that pompous guy is really a sorry mess who is playing the role of Great Man just as an actor is playing Superman.
You'll listen between the words to catch that liar who is seeking to deceive by behaving with such certainty in situations one can not be certain.
You'll look at the silent person with a microscope and see the contempt.