Social Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

How do you imagine a person you've never met?

Asked by Ltryptophan (10886points) May 19th, 2010

Say you are in a business setting. You have begun an important transaction on a very lucrative deal with them, but you have never met and a meeting is forthcoming. You have spoken with them over the phone and on emails. You know their name, and you know their voice. Now I think you have formed some ideas as to what this person looks like…

Let’s hear your typical forensic mental sketch.

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15 Answers

zenele's avatar


Whether we try to or not, an image will form, probably based on (layman here) past experience with someone with a similar timbre, tone or voice. You can here a smile over the phone (as is taught in Bus. Comm. 101).

zenele's avatar

Damn: hear not here, of course. Where’s my spellchecker and typo-checker when I need her?

P.s. I do not mean the Jeruba. She doesn’t have time for that.

* sigh *

lillycoyote's avatar

I would say, upon meeting the person, do everything you can to put your preconceived notions in check, (except for maybe keeping them on hold, in the back of your mind, as your original, intuitive impressions because they may come in handy) because not matter what you thought before, you are dealing with the person in front of you now. But as I said, maybe those preconceived notions might have some truth to them, just don’t mistake them for reality.

Jeruba's avatar

My visual image is based more on name than anything else. Not that I expect my notion to be accurate. This isn’t a scientific question, right? I’m just answering how a visual impression arises when I have only the data you’ve mentioned, and for me the name is the main factor.

jazmina88's avatar

arent they all necked in my mind?

BoBo1946's avatar

@zenele loll..i’ve never done such a silly thing!

@Ltryptophan yes, very much like meeting someone on the internet! The anticipation is a great part of the adventure. Kind of like making love for the first time. Naw…bad choice..nothing is that good! But, as @zenele pointed out, their voice usually tell a lot.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

They all look like Danny Devito until I see them in person.I have been really suprised by some of the women ;)

zephyr826's avatar

I try not to visualize people when I know I’m going to meet them in person later, because so often I’m way off and then I’m disappointed when they don’t look like their voice.

For example, my husband listens to The B.S. Report, a sports and pop culture podcast hosted by Bill Simmons, who works for ESPN, and I had an image of him that was way cooler than he actually is. I was so disappointed when he didn’t look like Ryan from The Office.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I gauge a rough age and then my brain makes a picture.

over 40 guesses- short hair shaved up the back, pear shaped, coral colored lipstick.
under 40 guesses- shoulder length fried, straightened, multi colored hair, french tip fingernails, apple shaped.

over 40— brown & grey mixed hair, pink flushed skin, pot belly, light blue dress shirt.
under 40— balding or shaved head, goatee, pot belly, black t-shirt.

My default to most voices is usually suburban white person.

Ludy's avatar

I’ve had a lot of disappointments because of that, even my fiance sounds hotter on the phone!

Berserker's avatar

I picture everyone wearing a William Shatner mask until further notice.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I don’t have a set way of imagining people. It really all depends on voice, accent, name, our interaction, how they speak, vocabulary level, etc. So, basically, your description isn’t enough information for me to say how I’d imagine the business contact.

Ltryptophan's avatar

@Missanthrope, You must desperately want to answer this question. It is ashame that my poor description has you bound.

MissAnthrope's avatar

@Ltryptophan – Is that snark I detect? If it is, color me confused. You asked a question, I answered. I don’t “desperately” want to do anything, except maybe make out with Anna Torv.

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