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How to Get Noticed Before a Word Is Spoken

How to Get Noticed Before a Word Is Spoken

Let’s play a game. It’s called How to Get Noticed.

Pretend you are at a crowded party or social gathering and you see a cute guy/girl that you want to talk to–how would you go about getting his/her attention? Do you:

  • A. Make a loud noise such as clearing your throat, coughing or sneezing?
  • B. Walk straight up to your crush, interrupt the conversation and introduce yourself?
  • C. Linger in the background listening to the conversation and then at the perfect moment interject a witty comment or expound on a point made in the conversation showing how intellectual you are?

For most people the method depends on personality and level of intro/extroversion. However, the truth is that all of the approaches listed above won’t let you a smooth interaction and can actually hijack your attempt at connecting with an unknown person.

There is a systematic method for approaching and engaging new people.

Switching your focus will improve your technique

When you think about meeting someone new what initially comes to mind? Are you thinking about what you should say? Are you worried about your breath, your clammy hands or trying not to saying something stupid? While these are natural fears and normal thoughts to have, it’s the wrong perspective and makes new interactions even more awkward than they have to be.

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Instead of focusing on yourself, experts believe you should shift your focus to reading the body language and signals of the person you want to engage. Dr. Jack Schafer, author of The Like Switch: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over, believes the key to being noticed and befriended rest in reading and responding to cues.

When you walk up to an unknown person and try to engage them, you appear aggressive and you break two of the unspoken “friendship rules“–proximity and intensity. When you suddenly approach someone you don’t know they can feel that you are invading their territory. Furthermore, a sudden approach / or proactive talking can be seen as overly aggressive or too intense. It makes people feel uncomfortable and can lead them dislike and avoid you.

It’s all about the eyes

The first and most important step in making friends is to read signals. Some people are not approachable. It is apparent in their body language, lack of eye contact, folded arms and what Dr. Schafer calls, the “urban scowl.” His friendship model encourages you to look for nonverbal friend cues, including the “big three”: the eyebrow flash, the head tilt, and a genuine smile. Once you’ve determined a person is approachable, there are few things you should do to engage them:

1. Establish eye contact

    Attempt to establish eye contact from a distance first. Like the other nonverbal cues, it is a way to get noticed and assess the situation.

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    To send a friend signal via eye contact, pick out your person of interest and establish eye contact by holding your gaze for no longer than a second. Staring can be perceived as aggressive threatening or just downright creepy.

    When the person catches you looking and holds your gaze lock eyes for a second and then look away. If they catch you looking at them and they look uncomfortable, drop your eyes and abort the mission.

    2. After making an eye contact, try to extend your gaze slowly.

      After you make eye contact with your person of interest, hold your gaze for one second and then slowly turn your head, holding your gaze for another second or two.

      The person you are looking at will see your head turning away, and your actions will not be perceived as staring.

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      3. Use stolen glances to articulate your interest

        If they catch you looking and don’t appear put off by your glance, then continue giving stolen glances to ensure that they know that you are intentionally looking at them and that the eye contact was inadvertent.

        4. Slowly build the intensity

          Now that you’ve gotten the individual’s attention and clearly expressed your interest with your eyes, check to see if he/she is sneaking glances at you. If so, and you are fairly certain that the person is interested, it’s time to turn up the heat a little.

          For the next few minutes, avoid eye contact. And wait for them to initiate eye contact for a while–but don’t return their gaze. This creates a bit of tension and intrigue as it makes the person wonder why you aren’t engaging in with them anymore. If done correctly, this subtle teasing builds intrigue and interest.

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          4. Making your move

            Now that you’re certain that your interest is reciprocated it’s time to raise the stakes again.

            Look him/her directly in the eyes and give them a little smile. If your smile is returned and the body language appears open–then you’re in and can slowly approach them and engage in small, non-aggressive chit chat

            If he or she doesn’t return your smile or looks away quickly, they may be shy and need a little more time to warm up or you may have misread the interaction. If that is the case–cut your losses and move on.

            Capturing the attention of a crush can be an awkward and unpleasant experience but it needn’t be. Using tricks and wild antics to gain attention will get you noticed but not in the manner you would like. Remember to take your time and shift your focus to the other person not on what you are going to say or how you should approach him or her. Establish meaningful eye contact, build intensity and then either approach slowly once you are sure your interest is appreciated and reciprocated.

            Featured photo credit: Finda via finda.photo

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            Anna Chui

            Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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            Last Updated on May 21, 2019

            How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

            How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

            For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

            If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

            Example 1

            You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

            You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

            In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

            Example 2

            You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

            People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

            You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

            Example 3

            You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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            The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

            Example 4

            You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

            Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

            If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

            Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

            • Understand your own communication style
            • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
            • Communicate with precision and care
            • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

            1. Understand Your Communication Style

            To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

            In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

            Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

            2. Learn Others Communication Styles

            Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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            If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

            “How do you prefer to receive information?”

            This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

            To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

            3. Exercise Precision and Care

            A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

            On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

            Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

            I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

            I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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            In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

            The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

            Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

            4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

            Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

            In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

            “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

            Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

            Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

            It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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            It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

            It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

            Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

            Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

            The Bottom Line

            When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

            I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

            More Articles About Effective Communication

            Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

            Reference

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