The term “public speaking” usually evokes an image of a podium and a microphone… NEWS FLASH!!… Public speaking happens every time you open your mouth. It’s not just the Share Holder’s Meeting you need to nail, it’s also the blind date your best pal set up for you on Friday. Social gatherings are just as important as business events, and if you are interested in making a great first impression, you need to prepare yourself to dazzle, enchant and inspire. As for that first date….
Take a deep breath. Nobody likes first dates. They are awkward. You feel like you’re being judged (and you are, but hey, you are judging them too!) And you have no idea if you will have anything to say to this person. Ah-Ha! This is where preparation pays off.
Before I dive into techniques and such, I have to state the obvious. If you want to be liked by someone, you need to like yourself. I’ll up the ante a bit… you need to LOVE yourself. No need to fall head-over-heels, just admiration for the fantastic person that you are. If your mind is filled with insecure blabber about being an ugly, nervous, lame loser, then guess what? Mr. First Date will get those messages loud and clear and want to head out the door before you can say “Latte.”
TIP 1: Love Thyself. If you are rolling your eyes at this notion, then do me a favor and write ten things you like about yourself on a piece of paper. (Now is good…I’ll wait.) Read this list before you head out the door… or any other time, for that matter! Positive thoughts strengthen your entire body, your energy field, and your ability to attract all the good stuff in life, so choose your thoughts wisely. It will pay off, big time.
TIP 2: Pick Confident Clothes. By this I mean, clothes that you feel great in. (If you look great in them too, that’s a bonus!) If you are not a fashionista, then seek the help of friends to find a style that fits your personality and makes you ooze with confidence and panache.
TIP 3: Mind Your Manners. Actions speak louder than words, so let’s review basic etiquette. Be on time. Be clean (Sooooo obvious, but people are kind of sloppy these days!). Be Warm (Smile and use steady eye contact). Be Brave (Go ahead… extend your hand for a nice firm handshake. If they respond back like a limp fish, you may want to be the one running for the door!).
TIP 4: Banish the Phone. Please give your companion your full attention. I’m sure the world will not miss you for an hour. My rule of thumb… cell phones belong in your bag, ringer off. Remember, we did function as a society long before these digital devices were attached to our hip.
TIP 5: Prepare 5 Topics to Kick-Start the Conversation. As I stated earlier, first dates (worse yet, blind dates!) are awkward situations, so be a superhero and take the lead. Plan out a few things to say to break the ice and kick start the conversation. Everyone loves a compliment, so think of a nice thing to say to your new companion. This simple act of generosity will warm any cool situation, and if you can throw in a splash of humor while you’re at it, you’ll be golden.
TIP 6: Pay Attention. OK, you may be nervous. Your hands may be sweating and you can’t stop your heart from racing, but the sure-fire way to get over yourself is to place all of your attention on the person in front of you. Find three details about your date. Eye color, shoes, finger nails, etc… be specific with your observations and you will immediately connect to the present moment. There’s magic in front of you all the time, but it’s your job to notice.
You may be hoping for fireworks the moment you lay eyes on your new companion, but trust me, getting to know someone takes time. While your gut may be screaming “No way!”, hang in there, and graciously discover the individual you took time out of your life to meet. Ask questions. Discover three fascinating things about this person. If romance is not in the cards, who knows, your new-found friend could end up being the link to your next big job. You never know!
P.S. Don’t forget to check out my FREE eBook on making great first impressions! I know you’ll love it!
P.P.S. Want more tips and tricks like this to communicate with confidence? Follow me on Twitter!