Did you know that subconsciously we react to the gym instructor smiling, the UPS agent giggling on the phone or the sweet waitress kneeling down with the note pad when taking our order?
No one is impervious to charm and when we are left tongue-tied through a subtle approach and an original delivery from another, we become as tactile as a giraffe on an ice rink.
I’m going to list some of the classy tactics you can use in order to lower someones boundaries in order to have a more authentic conversation with them…
1) When cracking a joke, try self-effacing humour. Having the ability to poke fun at yourself shows you are fallible just like the rest of the human race. It also dissolves any hint of a superiority complex or arrogance which allows the person you are conversing with to relax and meet you at an equilibrium. No one likes to spend time with someone who takes themselves too seriously.
2) Talk as much as you want but just not too much about yourself. Asking questions is harder than most people think and showing interest in another person not only makes them feel good about themselves but it demonstrates an inner confidence that you do not need attention and affirmation from others all the time.
3) Listen, listen, listen! If that’s hard, pretend everyone else in the room is white noise. Listening intently alerts the other person that this is not your run-of-the-mill small talk mumbo jumbo that we engage in once day and naturally they feel more connected to you as a result.
4) If you pay a compliment, make it unexpected and unique. If you’re a woman, tell a man you like his shirt and if you’re a man, admire the choice of colour she used on her nails. Telling someone they’re ‘hot’ just doesn’t cut it in todays day and age but noticing something that person had picked out personally, like a scent or tie, indirectly tells them that they look good and have good taste also. I’ve had all types of nice compliments but I will never forget the young boy who told me my charcoal grey coat was cut beautifully when ushering students in for the Leavers Service.
5) Using dry humour is pretty sexy if you can pull it off but aim to poke fun at a situation, not at the person. Making jokes at someone else’s expense is cowardly and tactless.
6) Combine topics of interest! If someone is showing off about what they own or what exotic destination they chill out at, try to structure your questions so that the conversation becomes interesting for the both of you. Proceed to ask them questions that tie into their luxury lifestyle and – for example – your interest in the environment: which of the places you travelled to had the best view of the stars at night? Have you experienced great Feng-Shui in all the pent-house apartments, palaces, mansions, taverns and tree-houses you’ve lived in? Questions that merge what the person loves to brag about combined with what interest you will help you both find a middle ground, thus a win/win situation.