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The ability to captivate and charm others in any social setting is new territory for the shy. Here's a few tips on how to stand out at a party, make a good first impression, captivate an audience, approach a love interest, and get more respect at work. How to Sparkle at a Party
No more hiding behind the shrimp cocktail table. With minimal preparation, you can engage with more than the appetizers. * Have a road map. Conversation with strangers typically moves through five stages, says psychologist Bernardo Carducci, from opening line (keep it simple) and introductions, to trying out topics and exploring for common ground, to closure, in which you tell that person that you're going, sum up what you learned and possibly exchange contact information. Once you internalize these steps, you will always have a mental map of where to go next. * Stay informed. "If you're going someplace next week, then know what happened this week, in local business, or on Lost," says Carducci. "You don't have to be an expert." To help conversations flow, he adds, apply the two rules of brainstorming: Throw in comments without trying to impress people, and don't judge ideas as they come up. Others will participate more freely if they don't think what they say will be criticized. * Warm up. Arrive early at events so you can meet people one-on-one. Then, move on to "quick talk," says Carducci. "Talk to lots of different people for short periods, so you don't put a lot of pressure on yourself. Have the same conversation with 8 or 10 people in your initial swing through the crowd—you're warming up, just like someone at a race. Then you can go back to the people who interest you." * Look approachable. When people conceal their social anxiety behind a neutral mask, others can become uneasy and interpret their faces as aloof or hostile. To develop warmer interactions, practice looking up with a welcoming smile in the mirror. When we hunch up and lower our heads, we feel more introspective, explains therapist Erika Hilliard. When we stand tall and lift our heads, our attention moves outward.
* Relive a confident moment. "It does not have to be deep and intimate to be a meaningful connection. "People think they have to be witty or urbane—what they really have to be is nice. but the benefits can be worth the short-term anxiety. . "Reviewing your notes isn't actually practicing. such as "I live on Spring Street near that fantastic bakery. others will sense it. * Do a dress rehearsal. To get a conversation humming." * Don't just walk away. a New Jersey principal. To break the ice. * Say anything. summarize some points of connection. By evaluating these two factors. so the conversation doesn't drop like a lead balloon. * Anticipate your stage fright. says psychologist Bernardo Carducci. have someone shine a light in your eyes while you speak. are you here for the conference?" Public Speaking: Not Worse Than Death Start by giving toasts." * Give extra information. Pretending you like yourself doesn't fool people either." says therapist Erika Hilliard . comment on some detail about the environment around you. and express gratitude. you're showing that your mind is not someplace else." says Hilliard. met her future husband in an elevator when she turned to him and said. says relationship coach Susan Rabin. If you're feeling down on yourself. That way. Jamie Sussel Turner. To make a good first impression. according to psychologist Mark Leary. Wear the clothes you'll be wearing and learn to enjoy the adrenaline rush. If the conversation stops for a moment. and your body will be responsive. you'll know how much to prepare and you'll be less surprised by your body's physiological arousal on the big day. "So. To soften your gaze. Soon.The First 30 Seconds Approaching a stranger is nerve-wracking. engaging eye contact. you'll be more confident about making plans for future contact. Instead. * Eye contact shows respect. "remember the last time you were shining inside and out. maintain a relaxed posture and warm. By meeting someone's eyes. If the venue will be dark. you'll be running for mayor." "This gives others more topics to run with. do you panic and rush off? Once you're sure it's time to conclude. add details. Carducci says. The amount of nervousness you will feel is determined by the importance of an event's consequences and your level of confidence that you'll succeed. Then captivate your book club. Your purpose is simply to signal your willingness to talk." says California State University psychologist Peter Desberg. move your eyes lightly around the person's face.
"It can be a way of creating a momentary world of 'you and me. take breaks to entertain the audience with an anecdote or self-effacing joke. but then go ahead and use defenses to avoid taking it personally. author of How to Attract Anyone. When you were a baby. If you notice the crowd waiting for you (even if it's only three people) and you get panicky. * You're the one they need. says Susan Rabin.' " * "No" doesn't mean never. so "you can say things you wouldn't ordinarily say and be more flirtatious. . for instance. who was a sought-after bachelor. But don't go rampaging off onto another topic. it doesn't have to mean that you intend to go any further. * Create a carefree alter ego. which makes people feel good. * Channel your infant appeal. "I want you to be spared pain and to make sure you continue flirting." * Be agreeable. before you could ask or persuade. You can only start one revolution at a time. Flirting just means letting other people know that you find them compelling. we shouldn't stifle our natural flirtatiousness. then you don't really care if they reject you or not. practice grounding techniques like feeling your feet against the floor. "Everyone prefers to hear 'you're right' rather than 'you're wrong. you'll sometimes get rejected. As adults.* Go for laughs. As you deliver important information. From Icy to Spicy: Embracing Your Inner Flirt You don't have to be scared of people you're attracted to." say Demarais and White. you would employ coy smiles and peekaboo eyes to attract loving attention.' " Doing this not only affirms their intelligence and values. * Think big. calls her sexy onstage persona "Sasha. but also shows that you find them likable. With only these charms. the higher the ratings he receives on his end-of-semester evaluations." Pop star Beyonce." explains Rabin. * Being friendly isn't teasing. Desberg has noticed that the more humor he employs in class. Quickly review to see if you committed a faux pas. making sure your listeners know what essential role they have to play." says Robert. "Show others where you have similar attitudes. When you show interest. like blaming the other person's bad taste or assuming they must have had a bad day. Audiences know when you've chosen to play it safe. Step outside your buttoned-down identity. even strangers adored you. provocative ideas. Instead. "If you feel more playful. Anyplace. Anytime. "When you show this attention. While you speak. focus on how much they need to hear what you have to say. Now try your luck with someone else." say Ann Demarais and Valerie White in First Impressions. commit yourself to exciting. if your pounding heart distracts you.
consider the costs of waiting. To counter this. and the interaction is more likely to go well. rather than on what they can do for you. After you've made a decision to stand up for yourself or your ideas. Before an important event. . Focus on "how you can help the people you meet. you'll shame yourself into taking action. says Desberg. Sounding Good. By bringing people together. Then select the issues that you actually control. note why you've stopped. Now tackle each issue. says Peter Desberg in Speaking Scared. * What are you avoiding? Let's say that you need to confront someone at the office and assert your own best interests. like Don Corleone. misgivings might paralyze you. until your fears dissipate. with methods such as a mock presentation. such as a job interview. * Shrink your boss. If you feel intimidated in somebody's presence. such as how you describe your accomplishments.Get More Respect at Work To be more visible and persuasive. "you will become powerful and vital. show others how your goals benefit everyone. but the prospect fills you with anxiety. After you realize that you're writing down the same silly excuse over and over. try this suggestion from Erika Hilliard: Imagine your body growing until your head skims the ceiling. * A shortcut to stop procrastinating. and compare those to the benefits of doing it." * Set goals under your control. * Network without seeming desperate. If this happens. list the anxiety-provoking factors. See yourself smiling warmly." says psychologist Bernardo Carducci. Now your boss looks like a 5-year-old child who wants a hug.
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