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8 Simple Gentlemen Gestures to impress a Lovely Lady

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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 July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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