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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 March 30, 2020

            What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

            What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

            Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

            You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

            This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

            What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

            According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

            Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

            There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

            How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

            When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

            Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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            1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

            One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

            The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

            Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

            2. Be Honest

            A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

            If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

            On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

            Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

            3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

            Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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            If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

            4. Succeed at Something

            When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

            Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

            5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

            Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

            Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

            If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

            If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

            Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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            6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

            Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

            You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

            On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

            You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

            7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

            Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

            Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

            Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

            When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

            Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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            In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

            Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

            It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

            Final Thoughts

            When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

            The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

            Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

            Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

            Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

            More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

            Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
            [2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
            [3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
            [4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
            [5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
            [6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
            [7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
            [8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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