Reading time: 90 seconds.

Try this at a function, a trade show, or in the grocery store line—somewhere you encounter strangers you can approach.

Pick out a person you think has some negative aspects. Ask them where something is—the rest room or the deli—and check out their response to see how valid your evaluation was.

Repeat the exercise with someone exhibiting the positive aspects and see if they match up to your expectations.

In both cases, try to pinpoint what you saw in the other person that led you to this evaluation. Look at some of your office mates and try to evaluate them as it were the first time you were seeing them.

Does this I’ve-never-seen-you-before evaluation agree with what you know about this person? What does this tell you about the way you typically evaluate people on first sight?

Dig out some photos of yourself, old and recent, and see what cues you were and are giving off.

Figure out what they tell you about your personality and relationships at the time they were taken. This will help you become sensitized to what you are communicating through your appearance and the effect that has on how you connect with others.