by Alisa Goodwin Snell
People rarely remember what you say or do, but they usually remember how you make them feel.
When in social situations, it is natural to be consumed by your changing emotions, to fear what others think, and to obsess about how others treat you, but such distractions only steal your confidence and keep you disengaged. To break this pattern, focus instead on behaviors that will make others feel great.
Make eye contact and include touch.
One of the most powerful ways to connect with others is through eye contact and touch. For those who fear or dislike touch, you’ll be surprised how comfortable a warm double-handed hand shake or grasp above the elbow can feel. These appropriate forms of touch can make a world of difference in your effort to show others you value them. While doing this, linger for a moment in eye contact as you say something like “It is wonderful talking with you.” Doing these things will demonstrate to others you’re sincere.
Learn names and give compliments.
Often the most difficult step in initiating conversation is knowing what to say. Fortunately, the most effective way to approach someone is to simply introduce yourself.
You can do this by saying, “Hi, I haven’t had a chance to meet you yet. My name is ____. And yours?”
After learning their name, be sure to repeat it during the conversation. Include compliments and stronger emotion words rather than neutral ones. For example: “John, that sounds incredible,” and “Jessica, your talk was awesome,” and “Jose, I’d love to do that with you.” Repeating someone’s name during a conversation will help you remember it, and equally beneficial, it ensures he or she won’t forget you.
Invite future contact and leave on a high note.
After spending a few minutes learning about someone and sharing something about yourself, state that you would love to get to know him or her better.
For example, you could say, “It’s so hard to get to know someone at church (in the neighborhood, at school, etc.). I’d love to continue this conversation. It would be wonderful if you called or texted me to do something (or I’d love to call or text you to do something).” Then smile, touch them one last time and walk away.
This may seem confusing, since you didn’t exchange numbers, but if they’re interested they’ll stop you to get it. By leaving them wanting more contact, you not only make them feel great but you also appear confident and assertive. Walking away at a high point in the conversation keeps them from feeling trapped or pressured and forces them to engage as well.
These techniques can come in handy whether you are interested in connecting with potential friends or potential dates. No matter who you’re interacting with, it’s worth striving to leave others feeling better than they did before you interacted.
Alisa Goodwin Snell spent 17 years as a marriage and family therapist before becoming a dating and relationship coach. She’s written several books for singles, been on over 100 TV and radio programs nationwide, and is a sought out public speaker.