How to be more socially smooth
Either you can be someone who needs help or someone who can give help.
Stop taking things personally
Take the message for what it is and stop analyzing yourself every time your actions don't work out right.
Make a CONSCIOUS effort to step outside your comfort zone and enjoy it. It's an 'adrenaline rush' and the range of people you meet is astounding.
Feel those feelings of fear of being around unfamiliar faces & genuinely learn to FEEL as if you know people.
This is how you know you're doing something right: when people swear they've known you from somewhere and you know for a fact you know them from "nowhere" except at that moment.
Don't be quick to judge
Learn to control the feelings of JUDGEMENT and people will, like magic, open up to you like a book.
If they so much as feel you're judgemental even if you speak of nothing judgemental they'll close up. It takes practice to geniuniely feel interested without preconceived ideas on what is wrong... or what's right.
Someone cracks a joke/insult, the best way to deal with it is to take it to the next level. Saying "no" a joke ruins it. Saying "no" to an insult makes you seem defensive.
How to be absurd
Someone asks you a logistical question, answer absurdly. Shows that life just isn't that serious. So they say "Are you here for the happy hour?" You say "Actually, I'm here for the gangbang. I think I'm lost."
Don't jump into a conversation like you don't expect to be heard. Don't say "just kidding" if someone doesn't immediately laugh at a joke. Choose what is and is not acceptable to you socially, live by it, and stick to your guns. People respect authenticity. Authenticity is proven by commitment
Read The Game
If you are asking people "So, what do you do?" within 10 minutes of meeting them you would benefit enormously from reading The Game. Forget the fact that people who have never read it assume you are the devil incarnate for mentioning it. You won't burst into flames just for reading. Keep an open mind and it just might change your life.
Get out there
Just like it is impossible to perfect your jump shot by watching Kevin Durant, it's impossible to get good with people without making it a point to meet strangers. Speak to the person next to you every time you get a drink at the bar. Say an extra two sentences to every cashier and waiter. Trial by fire. The more conversations you have, the faster you'll improve
Behaviors of presence
Behaviors of presence are related to mindfulness, and are the core of charisma. By being mindful and present while you're with someone, you make them feel special, respected and important. Which a) makes them like being around you, and b) makes them want to reciprocate.
When you're with someone, but you're distracted by other thoughts or emotions, people notice. Maybe your eyes glaze over, or your reactions are a little off or delayed. (It only takes 17 milliseconds to register someone's emotions.) Or maybe you're being super obvious about it and using a mobile device while "listening" to them. This makes people feel... bad. Like they're not important. Or like you're not being authentic. And they're right -you're not. You're thinking about something else -whether it's an upcoming deadline, a personal insecurity, or a new crush. They do not have your undivided attention.
So the first step to being "charismatic" -and also happy, healthy, etc.- is being present. Cabane describes two ways to bring yourself back to the present:
- Focus on the physical sensations in your body. Your face. Your toes. How and what do you feel right now? Do this for a split second, and it will reset your mind.
- Focus on the colors in the eyes of your conversation partner. It's cool to notice the flecks and arrays in their irises. It brings you to the present. And it makes people feel like you're having some kind of deep, cool moment. Don't be creepy and overdo it, though. A little goes a long way.
"Remember, Giving people your full presence makes them feel like they're center of your universe. Charisma isn't about how you make people feel about you. It's how you make them feel about themselves."
Behaviors of power
Power comes in many forms: money, social status, physical strength, knowledge, etc. But behaviors of power aren't related to actual power -they're about body language and confidence.
Confidence -as well as doubt- affects how we carry ourselves, which affects both how others see us... and, in a frustrating and self-perpetuating cycle, governs some hormonal and physiological processes in our bodies. When you assume a powerful "victory stance," your testosterone (the dominance hormone) levels rise, and your cortisol (stress hormone) levels drop.
Dr. Amy Cuddy encourages everyone to practice their victory stance for two minutes before interviews, meetings, competitions, etc. Do this by standing up straight, pushing your shoulders back, widening your stance and holding your head up high. Then raise your arms up in a "V" shape.
Insecure people take up less space. Leaders take an expansive pose, which studies have shown to decrease stress and anxiety hormones by 19%, while increasing assertiveness and energy-boosting ones by 25%. Which makes you stand prouder and taller. Which releases (or inhibits) hormones in your brain. It's a cycle.
The key here is confidence. You have to be comfortable speaking with authority. You have to adopt that power stance. And you have to stay present and avoid negative thought patterns, like rumination and self-doubt. When you think negative thoughts -whether they're about yourself, your conversation partner or something completely unrelated- it shows on your face. It affects your body language. And people will definitely notice.
Behaviors or warmth
Behaviors of warmth refers to how much someone likes you and how much you seem to like them. This is important, because liking induces liking. We like people who are like us, and we like people who like us.
You can emit warmth with great eye contact and active listening (see Behaviors of Presence). But warmth is actually very difficult to fake. Remember: it only takes people 17 milliseconds to register your facial expressions. And it's pretty much impossible for you to control each and every expression you make.
This is why so many performers use method acting -a group of techniques that create the thoughts and emotions of characters in the minds of actors. It helps actors convey how they truly feel, using emotional processing areas, rather than planning and prediction areas, of the brain.
Likewise, Cabane recommends changing how you feel -not what you're expressing. Take advantage of the fact that our brains are horrible at distinguishing fantasy from reality (think about how scared you got last time you watched a scary movie, even though you knew it was just a movie). Think about something or someone you love for a few moments before an interaction with someone. Your positive emotions will show, and your conversation partner will respond in kind.
Then practice reframing a situation. One of the most basic errors in human psychology is the fundamental attribution error (a term coined by my amazing, brilliant Stanford advisor, Lee Ross): we tend to attribute our own behavior to our situation, and others' behavior to their disposition.
And if you end up in a conversation with someone you really don't like... try to think of something good about them. She has nice hair. He showed up on time. He has a really nice bike. One nice thought can go a long way, if you let it.
Again, presence has a lot to do with warmth. People -even children- can detect authenticity. They know when they have your full attention. Plus (I can't say it enough), being present and mindful will improve your whole life -as well as your physical and mental health. So if you're going to ignore everything in this whole post except for one thing, let it be presence.