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.