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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

            More by this author

            Anna Chui

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

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            Last Updated on February 11, 2021

            Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

            Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

            How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

            Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

            The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

            Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

            Perceptual Barrier

            The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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            The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

            The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

            Attitudinal Barrier

            Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

            The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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            The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

            Language Barrier

            This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

            The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

            The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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            Emotional Barrier

            Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

            The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

            The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

            Cultural Barrier

            Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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            The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

            The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

            Gender Barrier

            Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

            The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

            The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

            And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

            Reference

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