Show Off Your Smile
Every smile is beautiful and different. Don’t be afraid to show off those pearly whites! Smiling with the lips only goes so far, and sometimes, it can even make you seem disinterested.
So, when you make eye contact, support that glance with a solid smile, especially if you want to engage in a meaningful conversation. Smiling is also important in group settings and can make you seem that much more confident. It’s in our DNA to perceive what is a threat and what isn’t, and people who smile are more likely to be seen as friendly and positive; simply put, people will be more receptive to you. Just make sure you don’t overdo it—too much smiling looks fake!
Maintain Balanced Eye Contact
Eye contact is a must, but too little or much can be detrimental to a conversation—too much can make others uncomfortable, and too little may make you seem nervous.
The key is to strike a comfortable balance. Don’t be afraid to look at other people, but make sure to look away once in a while so you don’t seem creepy. Another tip is to keep your eyes fixed on one spot of the face. The nose and mouth, for example, are particularly good places to focus on and will make you seem more engaged.
Wear Brighter, More Inviting Clothing
Some social settings call for brighter clothing, especially if you’re trying to meet new people. Brilliant colors catch attention from a distance, whereas darker clothes make you blend into the background. Studies also show that you are less likely to maintain eye contact with another person if they are wearing dreary, muted clothes.
This doesn’t mean that you should wear popping neon colors! Clothes with subtle patterns are the best choice, allowing you to stand out with style and elegance. Additionally, try not to wear sunglasses indoors, and if you have bad vision, put on contacts rather than glasses; you don’t want to obscure your face!
Animate Your Expressions and Gestures
It’s great to make eye contact but connecting with other people can be challenging if the rest of your body language is unnatural. Smiling is important, but so are hand and arm movements.
You should always keep physical contact to a minimum, especially if you are meeting someone for the first time. If you have a habit of touching someone’s shoulder while talking, for example, politely ask if they are comfortable with it. Nodding and shaking your head also shows others that you are listening, as does parroting things the other person says.
Above all, remember that the best way to have a good conversation is to be excited. It is integral to be in the right mindset before attending any social gathering and practicing what you want to say beforehand can be useful if you have anxiety.
Always Look Your Best
Like it or not, the way you look influences how approachable you are, and this goes beyond what you wear. Make sure you look and smell clean; nobody likes talking to someone with bad breath! Exfoliating your face and using moisturizers can also help you look more approachable.
If you’ve noticed that your face has begun to droop and sag, you can even take things a step further by getting a facelift, which reverses the effects of aging on the face and neck.
Read Their Eyes and Expressions
People tend to play off each other’s energy during a conversation; this is why it’s so important to pay attention to specific cues. Each person has their own way of communicating, so make sure to examine the other person’s body language.
Like Kenny Rogers said, know when to hold ‘em and know when to walk away. Sometimes, it’s best to drop a conversation if the other person seems uninterested!
Avoid These Behaviors in Conversation!
Certain behaviors hinder good conversation. Sitting down and crossing your arms, for instance, may indicate that you are upset, angry, or nervous. If you have to cross your arms, keep them in a more relaxed position and monitor your facial expressions. You don’t want to look sulky!
In the same vein, avoid yawning, fidgeting, touching your face, and rubbing your eyes in the middle of a conversation. Yawning is a sign of disinterest, fidgeting indicates discomfort, touching your face signals insecurity, and rubbing your eyes might make others think that you are lying or trying to deceive them.
Perhaps the most important social rule in our modern age is to put down the mobile device! Keep your full attention on other people, or you’ll run the risk of being rude.