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7 Tools to Find Someone Online

7 Tools to Find Someone Online

Finding a way to contact someone has gotten a lot easier: just type their name into Google and follow a few links. For many people, you’ll quickly find a profile on Facebook, a blog or even an email address you can use to get in touch. But a Google search doesn’t turn up good results for everyone. Maybe the person you’re trying to reach has a fairly common name. You may need a tool a little better than a simple Google search to find him.

1. Pipl

Pipl is a free search tool, although it brings in results from several other sites which do charge for access to particular records. Between those various sources, Pipl turns up a good number addresses and phone numbers, along with links to public records, online mentions and other useful pieces of information. Particularly helpful is Pipl’s ability to search withing a specific city, state or zip code. If you know the geographic location of the person in question, you’ll be able to narrow down search results to that area.

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2. YoName

If you’re confident the person you want to find has a profile on some social networking site, a good search tool is YoName. The site searches across a whole list of different social networking sites, from big names like MySpace to less common options like Webshots. The results can take a little time to look through, but the process is made easier by the fact that they’re laid out in a table — you can browse through it quickly.

3. Zoom Info

Zoom Info is particularly useful if you’re looking to connect with someone at their job. Search results include job titles and employers, along with locations. The site offers a ‘contact this person’ button, but requires you to sign up for a free trial in order to use it. After the free trial, using that button and some of the site’s other features cost $99 per month. If you’re willing to do a little more legwork by calling up the company listed and seeing if you can ask for a direct number or email address, you can generally skip paying that fee.

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4. Jobster

Jobster’s main focus is searching for jobs, but it also offers a tool to search for individuals. In most cases, it’s used for employers and recruiters looking for leads — but it can offer up some contact information that can help your search. A few other job sites offer a similar opportunity, as well.

5. Inmate Search

Unfortunately, you may find yourself in need of Inmate Search — while the site isn’t pretty, it includes a list of contact information for each state’s system for finding inmates, as well as the federal system. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of options for searching all states at once, but if you know the state the person you’re looking for might be incarcerated in, you can speed up the search process.

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6. Intelius

To access most of the information available through Intelius, you’ll be asked to pay a fee. The site offers everything from phone numbers to complete background checks and actually can have useful information. I have purchased information from Intelius in the past and it did lead me to exactly the person I was looking for. However, I know the price tag (often starting around $40) can be off-putting, especially if you’re only casually searching or if you need to find information on a long list of people.

7. Zaba Search

I know many people who swear by Zaba Search when it comes to searching public records for free. I’ve had minimal luck on it myself, but if you’re having some difficulty, it may be worth a try. The reverse phone look on Zaba Search is particularly problematic — the site actually uses Intelius to look up phone numbers, which charges for the information.

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Other Options

There are more than a few other options for searching for people out there. These seven are just options I’ve actually used in the past. There are also a lot of specialized search tools, like if you’re trying to find a person’s criminal record or you want to look for someone who works for the US government. You can also check social networking sites individually — most search tools that cover social media focus on larger sites, and ignore the smaller ones, along with forums and message boards. Unfortunately, there’s still not a particularly good tool for searching such sites — even if you’re willing to pay. You’re left with essentially searching those sites by hand.

The drawback to the options listed above is that they all primarily focus on the U.S. I’ve had little luck finding resources for international searches. If you have any suggestions, please share them in the comments.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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