We live during amazing times. While waiting on line to pay for my groceries, rather than stress out while tapping my foot like some kind of weirdo or playing the frustrating mental game of “did I get on the shortest/quickest line?” I quickly get to work on my phone. During those few, formerly frustrating minutes, I’m able to listen to several messages, text my friend to confirm our lunch date, call back a client and watch a delicious video of my grandson’s latest adorableness. Time actually flies when you’re having fun.
It’s great to feel productive. Making the most of every moment. Moving, grooving and staying on top of our “to-do lists” is always a great feeling. In fact, when I think about years gone by, when we actually left our homes without clutching our cell phones for dear life, I have to wonder how we managed. How did appointments ever get made, phone calls ever actually received or returned in a timely fashion and daily life as we know it, manage to function successfully? This modern age of ours is truly miraculous and definitely a gift.
But like with many terrific advances in our lives, it comes with a downside. And perhaps a very serious one at that. Many of you chicklets, who grew up texting, e-mailing, Instagramming and Facebooking, most likely missed out on thousands of valuable hours that could have been spent sitting face to face with other living, breathing individuals, thereby possibly missing the invaluable opportunity of honing your social graces as successfully as former generations. Those individuals depended solely on their face to face skills. And that wasn’t a bad thing.
So let’s take a few minutes to zero in on the multitude of impressions one can effectively make through the successful use of facial expressions and body language.
Let’s begin with the very first moment, when two people initially lock eyes on one another. Often unbeknownst even to ourselves, an immediate mental snapshot is taken, and stored, possibly until forever. Although not even a word has been spoken, our gut makes an assessment of what we are taking in and possibly what we can expect.
The well known Dale Carnegie, who wrote the famous “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” had a list of six musts. On his list and the list of many other self help gurus, was the importance of a great smile! What makes a smile great is it’s sincerity, it’s openness and even it’s ability to convey a sense of kindness. So be very aware of the power within you when you say “hello” on your first date and precede to offer your gift of a radiant smile. Remember to keep it flowing!
Much has been written about the power of one’s eyes. Eyes can convey happiness and instill fear. They can show deep compassion and create discomfort in others. They are powerful tools. And for that reason, eyes have inspired song writers and poets alike, trying to convey their virtue in words. Good eye contact, even during moments of silence, can let the other person know that they are valuable and worth listening to. They matter. Studies have shown that intense eye contact has the power to influence our heartbeat. So when you’re out on a date, be sure to turn off your phone, remove other distractions, and focus on the person who is with you – as you begin the process of getting to know him/her and getting to be known. Your eyes will play a very significant role in this process.
Let’s move on to body-language. At the risk of sounding like an annoying mother – posture matters! Stand up straight and look like a winner. Convey confidence, and self awareness. Try not to stand with your arms folded in front of you, looking down or fidgeting with your hands. Slumping, nervous tapping or a bored expression is an immediate turn-off. Body language conveys a story about your essence. Be aware of the message you want to announce to your date. Everyone makes a subconscious judgment about you very quickly, simply by observing your body-language. When your body tells your story – make sure it’s a good one!
If dating was conducted through texting, none of this would matter. But real life happens in person. Therefore, these tips really do matter and can make all the difference. Consider them, own them and try to put them to good use.
Esther Mann, Navidater