How to Nail Your First 5 Minutes
You don't go into a job interview unprepared, right? You don't just wing it when you meet your significant other's parents for the first time. You do your homework. Maybe you practice what you'll say and what topics you should avoid. And that's smart, but there are other social interactions that you'd be well served to prepare for—simple ones that most guys don't think about. Keep these proven tactics in mind and you'll emerge from any situation like a champ.
Meeting Someone New
Make sure your body language is natural and inviting. Don't cross your arms or stick your hands in your pockets. Open up your posture so your legs are at a wide stance but you're relaxed. Make eye contact, offer a firm handshake. Everyone loves the sound of their own name. Say it when you first meet someone; then make sure to say it again when you're about to leave: "Really great meeting you, Ben." "Nice talking to you Stephanie, let's definitely be in touch."
Arriving at a Party
Nicholas Boothman, author of How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less, knows a thing or two about making a good first impression. His advice? Verbalize your enthusiasm to shift your mindset away from any anxiety. As you approach someone, say "Great" three times to yourself, which physically triggers your face to smile. Then simply introduce yourself and make a comment about the occasion. Be sure to ask an open-ended question like "How do you know the host?" which will naturally spark a conversation.
The First Time a Date Comes to Your Place
Offer them something to drink. It doesn't have to be alcoholic, but according to author and relationship expert Laura Berman, Ph.D., just the act of holding a glass can ease social anxiety. Then offer a tour of your place, but instead of simply pointing out rooms (and making the awkward pause at the bedroom), make a point of pointing out photos and souvenirs that are meaningful to you. This says much more about you and lets your date feel more connected to you.
Running a Meeting at Work
You've already created an agenda for the meeting and sent it to those invited (that way people won't back out of it). Put that agenda up on a screen or whiteboard for others to see, and to let everyone know you'll be keeping them focused and on track. If you have the ability, delight coworkers by having some snack or coffee delivered during an afternoon slump. That outside element can make you more laid back and the more relaxed your group is, the easier it is for them to think outside the box.
Buying Something From a Stranger
Whether you're considering buying a used car or attending an open house for a new home, you want to establish two things right off the bat: that you mean business and you know what you're looking for. This will ensure that the seller takes you seriously and you can be confident you'll have some space to negotiate. Pop the hood of a car and look at the steel the engine sits on (if there's damage, it's a sign of a previous crash). Check things like how doors and windows shut (as an indicator of possible structural damage).