Theyre charming. Theyre genuine. And they can make an entire room full of people smile.
When you meet someone, after, "What do you do?" youre out of things to say. You suck at small talk, and those first five minutes are tough because youre a little shy and a little insecure.
But you want to make a good impression. You want people to genuinely like you.
I know: Your parents taught you to stand tall, square your shoulders, stride purposefully forward, drop your voice a couple of registers, and shake hands with a firm grip.
Its great to display nonverbal self-confidence, but go too far and it seems like youre trying to establish your importance. That makes the "meeting" seem like its more about you than it is the other person--and no one likes that.
Next time you meet someone, relax, step forward, tilt your head towards them slightly, smile, and show that youre the one who is honored by the introduction--not them.
We all like people who like us. If I show you Im genuinely happy to meet you, youll instantly start to like me. (And youll show that you do, which will help calm my nerves and let me be myself.)
Nonsexual touch can be very powerful. (Yes, Im aware that sexual touch can be powerful too.) Touch can influence behavior, increase the chances of compliance, make the person doing the touching seem more attractive and friendly.
Go easy, of course: Pat the other person lightly on the upper arm or shoulder. Make it casual and nonthreatening.
Check out Clintons right-hand-shakes-hands-left-hand-touches-Mandelas-forearm-a-second-later handshake in the link above and tell me, combined with his posture and smile, that it doesnt come across as genuine and sincere.
Think the same wont work for you? Try this: The next time you walk up behind a person you know, touch them lightly on the shoulder as you go by. I guarantee youll feel like a more genuine greeting was exchanged.
Touch breaks down natural barriers and decreases the real and perceived distance between you and the other person--a key component in liking and in being liked.
You meet someone. You talk for 15 minutes. You walk away thinking, "Wow, we just had a great conversation. She is awesome."
Then, when you think about it later, you realize you didnt learn a thing about the other person.
Remarkably likeable people are masters at Social Jiu-Jitsu, the ancient art of getting you to talk about yourself without you ever knowing it happened. SJJ masters are fascinated by every step you took in creating a particularly clever pivot table, by every decision you made when you transformed a 200-slide PowerPoint into a TED Talk-worthy presentation, if you do say so yourself...
SJJ masters use their interest, their politeness, and their social graces to cast an immediate spell on you.
Social jiu-jitsu is easy. Just ask the right questions. Stay open-ended and allow room for description and introspection. Ask how, or why, or who.
As soon as you learn a little about someone, ask how they did it. Or why they did it. Or what they liked about it, or what they learned from it, or what you should do if youre in a similar situation.
No one gets too much recognition. Asking the right questions implicitly shows you respect another persons opinion--and, by extension, the person.
We all like people who respect us, if only because it shows they display great judgment.
Everyone is better than you at something. (Yes, thats true even for you.) Let them be better than you.
Too many people when they first meet engage in some form of penis-measuring contest. Crude reference but one that instantly calls to mind a time you saw two alpha male master-of-the business-universe types whip out their figurative rulers. (Not literally, of course. I hope you havent seen that.)
Dont try to win the "getting to know someone" competition. Try to lose. Be complimentary. Be impressed. Admit a failing or a weakness.
You dont have to disclose your darkest secrets. If the other person says, "We just purchased a larger facility," say, "Thats awesome. I have to admit Im jealous. Weve wanted to move for a couple years but havent been able to put together the financing. How did you pull it off?"
Dont be afraid to show a little vulnerability. People may be (momentarily) impressed by the artificial, but people sincerely like the genuine.
Put away the hard-charging, goal-oriented, always-on kinda persona. If you have to ask for something, find a way to help the other person, then ask if you can.
Remarkably likeable people focus on what they can do for you--not for themselves.
"Nice to meet you," you say, nodding once as you part. Thats the standard move, one that is instantly forgettable.
Instead go back to the beginning. Shake hands again. Use your free hand to gently touch the other persons forearm or shoulder. Say, "I am really glad I met you." Or say, "You know, I really enjoyed talking with you.
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