Am I how I write, Mr Netter?

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Olivier Netter says that a person’s handwriting reveals a lot about the psychology of an individual. He is one of Germany’s leading graphologists. Handwriting is like the print-off of a seismograph – and sometimes small earthquakes can be recognised before they come to the surface.

The way we write is always dependent on how we feel in that moment – whether we are writing for ourselves or someone else, whether we are stressed or generally happy, whether we make an effort or just scribble something down. According to graphologist Olivier Netter, our handwriting is as changeable as the clothes we wear, but only to a certain degree. He says that handwriting also provides insights into an individual’s personality. Features such as the height of the text, the links between letters, the regularity or loops on specific letters are often overestimated in their importance by laypeople.
“It is less about the individual features and more about the overall impression. This provides clues as to the vitality and general condition of the person writing. The process of writing is like performing on stage, it is something we have to conquer first. The empty space and blank sheet confront us with our inhibitions, our standards and our vital energies which we either control effectively or which cause us problems – or may even betray us.”
Netter draws his conclusions from this overall impression: Is the writer sociable or introverted? Chaotic, structured or both? Creative, enthusiastic or phlegmatic? A team player or a “lone wolf ”? In job application situations, it is not uncommon for handwriting analyses to contribute to the success or failure of a candidate. Given this fact, shouldn’t it be expected that candidates attempt to integrate certain personality traits into their handwriting? “If you can succeed in fooling people in everyday life, you can also do so in your handwriting. However, this handwriting often has something empty or mask-like about it. You can see relatively quickly that it is not authentic.”
There is a similar phenomenon among people with significant problems: “Some have chaotic handwriting, while others produce writing so perfect that it immediately catches the eye. This is a kind of ‘over-perfection’ which a writer hides behind, and a graphologist can develop a feel for identifying this.” In his analyses for HR selection processes, Netter primarily identifies personality traits, but the seismograph also sometimes turns up something completely different. “We can also recognise burn-out or a similar temporary overexertion and limitation. These are, however, clearly differentiated from the permanent character traits of a candidate, particularly if the candidate fits the required profile.”

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