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8 Simple Gentlemen Gestures to impress a Lovely Lady

8 Simple Gentlemen Gestures to impress a Lovely Lady

Do you smile wistfully at the perfect-sounding male profiles in a dating site?  Glowing profiles apparently abound, yet women complain about how gentlemen are a vanishing breed. Perhaps it has to do with not knowing how a gentleman looks and behaves and forgetting that gentlemanly behavior thrives with the complementary participation of ladies. For every, longed-for gentlemanly gesture, women need to ask themselves if they are ready to appreciate and match such courteous behavior.

You don’t need to look like a GQ cover.

I asked women friends of varying ages, “What does a gentleman look like?” Their replies centered on gentlemanly behavior rather than looks. I prodded some more. “Which man at a restaurant, bar, or hotel lobby would look like a gentleman?”  The quick reply: “That’s the difficulty. In a plush place like a hotel, the well-dressed guy in the suit is normally considered a ‘gentleman’.  Hopefully, that’s really the caseA gentleman to me can be long-haired, with a full beard, or wearing board shorts.

It’s not the clothes then that make a gentleman. The common expectation is: “A gentleman looks neat, is well-groomed, and is properly dressed for every occasion.”  Gentlemen value themselves and match their appearance to project who they are. They make an effort to appear neat, smell nice, and wear clean, ironed clothes that fit reasonably well. The part about being properly dressed for all occasions requires a bit more work.  Men (and women) who learn about the nuances of dressing appropriately for the occasion demonstrate their appreciation for meaningful social interactions by finding out about event dress codes, especially if they’re part of the program. They make it a fun experience by wearing the “right costume” for “the role.”

The “moves” like James Bond?

The women listed fairly simple gentlemanly behavior but stressed the gestures should be “done effortlessly because it’s second nature.” If the gestures come with much fuss and flourish, they are nothing more than attention-seeking performances. The gestures should apply in all encounters, with all genders, and have no agenda other than to be helpful, so being a ladies’ man is not necessarily gentlemanly.

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A gentleman’s behavior comes from:

1. Awareness: He knows what’s happening around him.

2.  Being other-centered: He focuses on the other person. It’s not about him.

3.  Consistent practice: He does it all the time, naturally. It’s not contrived.

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Here are 8 simple gentlemanly gestures … and how women react.

1. Opens doors for others. He is CONSIDERATE.

It’s Monday morning and Peggy feels more harassed than usual as she rushes to work. She detours to a nearby Starbucks to escape the sudden downpour. Late and wet, she mutters a cuss word as the man behind her beats her to the door, but she stops at mid-curse realizing that he actually wants to open the door for her. He smiles and tips his wet head slightly as a signal for her to go through. She beams her thanks smiling all the while, as the morning’s harassed feeling dissipates.

Why do many forget this simple, mood-lifting gesture? Because of a lack of awareness and being other-centred. If you’re busy texting, you’re unaware that the door could slam on the person behind you. Or you think it’s justified to hurry ahead because whatever it is you’re late for is more important than whatever the other person needs to do.

2. Carries other people’s heavy packages. He is HELPFUL.

Lauren was not a typical woman because she did not like shopping. Her boyfriend was not typical because he enjoyed looking into shops. Fortunately, they both liked the same things. Laurel began to enjoy shopping but relished more how he made no fuss about carrying all the shopping bags. He was assured about his manliness and was comfortable carrying even the frilly girl stuff and later setting up the dining table with the delicate tea set. She expressed her appreciation repeatedly which motivated him more.  Lauren eventually married the man.

3. Offers seat to women, the elderly, and the handicapped. He is CONCERNED.

While attending university, I had taken the bus regularly. During the peak-commute time of day, the buses were full with several passengers standing. Fairly often, a university student would offer his seat to me. I would accept gratefully, smile, say thank you, and offer to hold his books for him. At other times, I would be seated and an older woman would come aboard and be standing. I would wait a few minutes for any of the men to offer their seats. If no one did, I would offer my seat to her. I asked some male friends why they hesitate. The common response was: “It’s very disappointing when women don’t even bother with a thank you.”

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4. Helps women with their coat. He is CHIVALROUS.

In cool places where coats, jackets, and parkas are daily wear this gesture is very helpful. It is especially called for when attending an event that requires guests to leave and pick up their coats in a coat-minding section. There is something elegant and caring in the way a gentleman holds the coat up for his female companion to get into. The ‘thank you’ should come as graciously as the gesture. If a woman reacts with something like “I am perfectly capable of putting on my own coat,” then she is not ready for a gentleman.

5. Speaks decently; avoids cuss words and remarks that show prejudice. He is SENSITIVE.

Cuss words may be acceptable among his friends but a gentleman avoids it anywhere else. The same is true with attempts at humor at the expense of another person’s race, religion, gender, beliefs, or even sports team. The more public the place, the more careful he is. He sticks to neutral topics and does not speak louder than necessary because he knows how to avoid potential disagreements that could escalate. This applies to women too. I’ve seen men cringe at women’s casual colorful utterances or get into trouble because of their female companions’ verbal carelessness.

6. Listens and maintains eye contact. He is ATTENTIVE.

John Gray has enlightened us that women are from Venus and need listening to. A gentleman pays attention, particularly if he is with a woman. He’s engaged in the conversation and makes eye contact. Yes, eye contact, not staring beneath her neckline, not eyeing the girl at the next table; not checking the football game score on the overhead TV; and not continuously fiddling with his phone. This is admittedly difficult amid so much continuous distractions but it is the major reason women feel unacknowledged. Choose a relatively quiet, non-crowded place for face-to-face interaction to help you focus on the conversation. The same quality of attention is required from women. No phone catch-up with the gals and no remote supervision of work or household.

7. He views and treats women as equals.  He is RESPECTFUL and APPRECIATIVE.

Observe how a man relates to his mother. Is he demanding, overbearing, or dismissive? It could indicate he has an inferior view of women. A gentleman recognizes a woman’s contributions from her experience, knowledge, abilities, will power, and feminine wisdom. He listens to her point of view and respectfully states his rebuttals. He is not condescending and does not make sexual jokes or remarks – a form of intimidation and discrimination. When receiving an award, a gentlemen acknowledges his spouse, significant other, mother, and/or daughters

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When dining out, he is as comfortable allowing women to pay their share, as he is paying for the entire dinner on certain occasions. If a man wishes to pay for a meal on a date, the woman has the option to accept with thanks and then offer to pay for dessert and coffee. There is no need for a woman to make a fuss and take undue offense by perceiving it as an insult to her financial capability.

8. He allows women and others to shine.  He is SECURE and GENEROUS.

In business or social settings, there’s the man who monopolizes the product brainstorming session, spiritual study group, PTA meeting, or cocktail conversation. He interrupts you at mid-sentence, gives unsolicited advice, contradicts everyone’s opinion, and wants to have the final word. He’s far from gentlemanly because everything is always about him. This 8th gentlemanly behavior requires stepping back and allowing a colleague, friend, or spouse to take center stage. It sometimes involves giving up something to support another – a good description of househusbands and single fathers. Some women mistake a soft-spoken, generous man for a pushover. They then take that as a signal to be domineering and controlling.

This brings me back to the essential point. We usually have no problem coming up with our list of expectations about  other people.  Following Arielle Ford’s gentle challenge in The Soulmate Secret, look at your list and then ask “Do I, myself, meet those expectations?” So, are you looking for a gallant gentleman? Start by being a lovely lady. And that works the other way too.

Featured photo credit: wallpaperank.com via wallpaperank.com

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

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Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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