Thursday, December 9, 2010

Don't Just Stand There!

It finally came to me watching a video of myself doing some storytelling on stage, in front of an audience. See, I'm pretty comfortable on stage, so I was really surprised to see how nervous I looked. For a while I couldn't tell what it was, then I realized: my arms were dangling limply from my sides, and I was just standing there. I knew I felt at ease inside, but standing there like a doorpost communicated nothing with my body. Os stage it's just bad, but in person it communicates self-consciousness. You see, when we communicate we don't just do it through or words, we do it through our whole physicality and our gestures, and if you're not using that to you advantage, it's working against you.

Common wisdom says you shouldn't use "defensive" gestures that look like you're covering your chest of face (ie: arms crossed, holding a drink in front of you, etc). And that's pretty true.

They also go on to say you should never "hide" your hands behind your back or in your pockets, and that's OK--provided you do something with them. DON'T just dangle your arms like sausages from you shoulders. It looks awful, and doesn't work well for anybody.

There's also a ban on hands in pockets, but I don't understand that at all. Arms hanging limply they convey a kind of denseness. I wouldn't leave my hands in my pockets for too long, and don't play with things in your pockets, cause that just looks weird, but when your hands are out of sight they're just not communicating anything. In certain situations, hands-in-pockets conveys a certain sophistication. It's a gesture that goes well with an expensive suit, for example. There's the famous "lawyers stance"--one hand in the pocket, the other raised, palm-up, to make a point.

When you're talking to someone, or a group, it's good to keep your hands up at least at elbow level. You're still keeping your chest and face open, but you're putting your hands inside the other person's field of view--of course you have to move them or you look like a zombie!

No matter how good your verbal conversation, your body may betray you if it's not in agreement with what you're saying.

Remember that your hand gestures amplify whatever you're communicating. Why not use that to your advantage? Different people are comfortable with different levels of physicality, so you have to find the degree that feels right to you.

Use hand gestures to reinforce the things you're talking about. There are so many ways to gesticulate, that I couldn't even to make suggestions. Just relax and go with what you feel. Watch how other people use their gestures to communicate, watch standup comics or public speakers.

Give it a try and post your results!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Dating thoughts

Has it been over 3 months since I last posted? Wow! I'll try to get more current stuff up here soon! In the mean time, Here's something I posted as a response on another dating blog, but I was so pleased with it, and I think it's so succinct, that I wanted to share it with you guys.

It shouldn't be a battle for survival.

One of the things I love about travelling is that women outside of America know how to flirt--flirting is FUN, and it's about GIVING value to others, as well as pumping up yourself, but you have to have self-esteem and sexual confidence. Most American men are so clueless or emotionally starved that they jump at the slightest smile. And most women are so insecure that every date has to have the potential of marriage or they feel like they've been ripped off.
If you want to find the best partner to share your life with, you have to date different people. And you're not born with dating skills--you ONLY get then through experience. You have to be willing to put yourself on the line, and you have to accept that you'll get some bumps and bruises along the way. That's part of being a grownup.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I couldn't do it! Choosing your battlefields

I saw a video clip of a guy approaching women in a really unique and funny way, and I couldn't wait to go out and try his technique. As luck would have it, I also got an invite to a speed dating event--15 "dates" in under 2 hours? perfect!

On my way there, as I was on the subway platform waiting for the train and I passed a very pretty girl on the platform. She held my eye contact (I always make friendly eye contact with pretty girls), and smiled back when I smiled. I didn't bother to chat her up, since I'd only be on the train for 3 stops (just a few minutes), but we ended up sitting across from each other, so I couldn't help but start a conversation. She seemed confident, and funny, but there wasn't really time to go much further with the chat. I didn't even have a chance to try out the new material, it was just natural, fun chat. Ah, well, I said to myself, I had a room full of lovelies waiting for me once I got off the train, right?

The women at the event all looked like they were there to apply for bank loans. Not down so much as just drab and serious. "Diminished expectations" written clearly across their faces. Not one of these women expected to have any success tonight. You could see it (I also asked a few). Not really the kind of women I like spending time with, but they seemed nice enough for a few minutes of chat.

Here's the thing that made it so odd: I couldn't bring myself to try the technique I saw on the video. What I saw seemed to create a very strong, fast connection. I couldn't do it, not out of fear of failure, but fear of success!

So here's the lesson: While I think it's great to practice social skills outside of your comfort zone, it's equally important to be 100% behind what you're doing. you have to be really attracted to the women, at least something about the women, to get the results. This is true with everything in life, not just dating. A lot of guys, approach women they don't really like, and they get rejected. Ironically, they may have been doing a perfectly fine job, but if, deep down, they don't really want that woman, it won't work (at least not so well).

Food for thought.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Inner game and the mirror

If you're not familiar with it, lots of personal coaches talk about inner game. If you're not familiar with it, you can do a web search, but here's my take on it in a nutshell.

There's a saying that I really like, that encapsulates most of what you have to know about inner game, but applies to so much more.

But first--

so much of "inner game" is about you in your entirety--not how you are with women or anybody, but how you are with yourself. I was on the train the other day, trying not to overtly notice a young guy attempting to pick up a pretty young thing. He was doing pretty well, but he was clearly at that stage where it was a lot of work for him. He'd throw some lines, get a laugh and then let her talk for a while. During those pauses, you could see him give a sigh of relief, beetle his brow and lick his lips, worrying more about his next piece of material than what she was saying.

Most of all, what I saw during those pauses was that after each piece of material he'd throw out, he'd be scanning the girl's face for her response. On one hand, it IS important to get feedback from your audience or your risk boring/losing them, or even going down the wrong road. But you could see he was looking for her approval.

Now judging response is important to be effective, but however the interaction goes, it shouldn't affect your inner emotional state. No matter what your approach, the person you are talking to will pick up on it if you are really looking for their approval, and it can torpedo you. What can make any approach work can be that simple --having that strong inner state (ideally fun & excitement, or badboy, or whatever is natural for you). It's like being an athlete with strong legs--whatever the sport, having a solid base makes it better. Approach a girl because she looks like fun and because you have fun approaching, and fun making her laugh.

Inner game is that solid base.

Now here's the saying I really like:

It's like a mirror--you can't stare into it and say "I'll smile if you smile first." You'll never get a smile that way. But if you're smiling when you go up to the mirror, you'll get a smile 100% of the time.

Monday, November 2, 2009

If you still believe men think about sex more than women: HALLOWEEN

For those of you still harboring the misapprehension that men think about sex more than women, I offer you Halloween.

Yeah, Halloween, when people let their inner demons out. The one day a year people can be whatever they ever though of being.

How do the guys dress? A vampire, a werewolf, a hero, a web page, a toilet.

How do the girls dress? A sexy vampire, A sexy werewolf, a sexy hero, a sexy web page, and yes, you know it, a sexy toilet.

I don't think I have to say any more ;^)

(Except, see the following pictures, and thanks to the photographers. Check out their art!)

Halloween 2009 NYC subway.

Originally uploaded by Danny.C.Jackson
A guy dressed like a character from, erm, "Alice in Wonderland," or maybe even "Alice in Dune."

Sexy Halloween Costumes - Hard Rock Hotel & Casino - South Florida

A sexy traffic cop and a sexy, uhh, apple tree.