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Intentions and Decisions

An intention without a decision is just a wish!

 

8 Ways to Make a Great Impression

When you meet a new potential client, colleague, business partner, friend, or love interest, they judge you with in seconds. It’s human nature. We all tend to do what we’ve been taught not to do: we judge a book by it’s cover. This new stranger will see you and make any number of judgments about you, determining within 5-8 seconds, including but not limited to, whether you are:

  • Friend or foe
  • Attractive or unattractive
  • Likeable
  • Competent
  • Trustworthy
  • Someone with status, or a ‘loser’
  • Intelligent or an idiot
  • Someone with authority

In many cases this will happen within the first five seconds of the encounter, and there is a lot of truth to how that old deodorant commercial used to say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Are there instances in which you can do ‘damage control’ for a poor first impression? Sure, but that’s a street you just don’t want to live on.

I’m not going to tell you that there’s some secret trick to keeping people from making snap decisions about you in seconds. There isn’t. You can, however, develop an understanding of how to make this tendency work for you rather than against you.

In most cases, our first impression of people are far more influenced by nonverbal signals than by anything we might say. Depending on whose research you want to believe, nonverbal signals have 3-4 times as much influence as whatever you’re saying.

That being said there are a few definite ways to use your nonverbal behavior to make a great first impression.

  1. Smile. A genuine smile conveys good will, trust, confidence, and ‘approachability.’ Go here for an article on The Power of a Genuine Smile.
  2. Attitude. Be sure to adopt an attitude appropriate for your situation. Acting like a wise-cracking gigolo might go over at a costume party where the crowd’s a bit tipsy, but it probably won’t do you any favors in a board room.
  3. Make eye contact. People who can’t or won’t make eye conact are usually seen as shifty or potentially deceptive at worst, lacking confidence at best. Good eye contact also helps to communicate your energy, trust, openness, and confidence.
  4. Posture. Status, authority and power are nonverbally conveyed by height and how you take up space. Standing straight, with your chin parallel to the floor, shoulders back, conveys confidence, strength, and competence. See our video on the James Bond Walk here.
  5. A firm handshake. Don’t try to crush anyone’s fingers, but give a firm handshake with a smile and eye contact. See our article on The Power of a Good Handshake here.
  6. Lean in just a little. Leaning toward someone slightly when they’re speaking to you shows that you’re engaged and interested. Of course, be mindful of their personal space. Generally, give them 2-3 feet.
  7. Raise your eyebrows slightly. Throughout the world, this is a sign of recognition and acknowledgement, and helps people see that you ‘get’ what they’re saying.
  8. Relax. Sometimes, this is easier said than done, but the truth is we tend to make ourselves more nervous than we should be. If I’m nervous, I tell myself ‘Honey Badger don’t care!’ At the end of the day, one client can’t make me rich or poor. Maintain high intentionality, but low attachment to the result.

If you do these things consistently, you’ll have an easier time making a strong personal impact in those critical first few seconds, and have a much better chance of ‘deserving’ the opportunity to connect with the right people.

Waiting on the world to change? Change the world!

I haven’t posted in a while, as I’ve not been well. Still feeling the effects of May’s car accident which left me with a severe concussion that I’ve yet to recover from. But enough about my problems! Let’s talk destiny.

One of the many obstacles to achievement and fulfillment is our human tendency to wait for better circumstances in orde to take action.

It’s a natural tendency. First, we don’t like change. Then, there’s the fact that most of us tend toward laziness, or rather toward wanting things to be easier than we perceive them to be. However, that and $2 will buy you a halfway decent cup of cofee. I know it’s popular to say ‘How bad do you want it?’ But the truth is that it’s more important to know WHY you want it, because the ‘why’ is going to be what drives you, what keeps you going when things go wrong, what gets you up an hour or two earlier to work on your vision, and what got you started in the first place.

WHY is where you find your purpose, your strength, and reasons to go on even when it seems like you’re getting nowhere.

But to get to WHY you’ve got to know WHAT, and that’s a major problem for would-be visionaries.

Want to find your WHAT? Understand that all growth, and all improvment of life and the human condition always come from change. What is it about you that can bring a change that will benefit others enough to make them want to pay you for it, and be glad that they did?

Charisma, Part 3 – Confidence

Another vital element of charisma is confidence. Charismatic people tend to be highly confident. After all, if you don’t seem sure of yourself, it’s pretty hard for anyone else to be sure of. Especially when you’re initiating contact or trying to sell anything directly as a person, how comfortable your prospects are with you

Darkfell.com - My Art and Fiction Blog

Passion drives competence

is usually more important even than price. For many companies and individuals price is usually about #6 on the list of priorities. Elite clients in particular don’t trust cheap. They also don’t trust insecure.

When you’re confident in what you have to say and what you have to offer, it’s easier to inspire others to be confident in it, too. Some questions that may help you clarify where you might be lacking confidence in communicating with others include:

  • How confident am I about what I’m trying to communicate?
  • Why does what I’m communicating matter to me?
  • Why should it matter to anyone else?
  • If I were 100% confident about this, how would I act?

One of the key factors in being confident is competence. If someone were to ask me to give a speech on composing Latin jazz for large orchestras, I’d be totally lost. On the other hand, if I’m asked to speak on comic art, sales, or leadership, I’d be as comfortable as a pig in mud.

Another factor is passion. Even some of the most bashful, nervous types come to life when they start talking about their passion. Is there such a thing as over-enthusiasm? Sure, but my personal philosophy with regard to most things is that I’d rather beg for forgiveness than ask for permission, and when it comes to enthusiasm, it’s safer to go a little overboard than it is to show up with the personality of a handle. Now, I’m not saying to fake it, but rather to let your passion for what you’re doing come out.

Indeed, passion often drives competence. When I sustained a bad frostbite of my drawing hand and couldn’t even write my name, much less draw, my passion for my art led me to practice with thicker markers and crayons, then a thickly padded ball point pen for weeks. In the end, the art at Darkfell.com improved by leaps and bounds.

I won’t ask how bad do you want it, but rather, ‘How much do you love it?’

-Sam

P.S. Here are some of my other articles on boosting your confidence:

Quick Tips to Boost Your Confidence

The James Bond Walk

The Power of a Good Handshake

The Power of a Genuine Smile

The ABCs of Charisma, Part 2

Charisma isn’t everything, but most of us want it, or wish we had more. In last week’s post, we discussed how improving your charisma can be seen as ABC – a relationship between your Aim, Behavior and the Chemistry between you and others. Today we’re going to deal with one aspect of the behavioral side of charisma.

Yes, there are changes you can make to your behavior which can greatly increase how charismatic you seem, but first I’d like to address the one thing you can do that will make every other strategy far more powerful, and incredibly easier to implement.

AUTHENTICITY.

How do you feel about someone when you think they’re being fake?

Do you find it easy to like them?

 

How likely are you likely to trust them?

Now, I know it may seem corny to just say ‘be yourself,’ but let’s face it, the easiest way to be charismatic is to be real. Nobody likes a phony. Actor George Burns once said about honesty that ‘If you can fake it, you’ve got it made.’ The same holds true for authenticity. very few of us can be fake and pull it off consistently. The vast majority of us are nowhere near as mysterious as we think we are. If you were slick and smooth as a bag of greasy marbles, you wouldn’t be rearing this.

So, your first step in your journey to great charisma is to examine your character and personality. Who are you, really? Drop the socially convenient masks for a little while, and practice really  being yourself.

I’m not saying you should lose all decorum and share your inner demons with the world, but rather that you give yourself permission to be you. It’s a lot easier than creating a facade. Try these simple questions to help define your most authentic self.

What did you LOVE doing as a child? Dig up old photos, videos, diaries, and other things which connect to that past before you learned to conform.

What are your values  What matters most to you? Ask yourself where these values came from. Write them down and re-state them in a way that makes it really yours.

What’s fun for you now? What do you like to do but avoid doing because you think you can’t be good at it?

What are you drawn to? if you were going to have to spend the rest of your life on an island alone but could bring 10 books, what would they be?

What do you do because other people respond well? Would this change if you only ever had to please yourself?

What is your body telling you? What are the things which cause you stress, anxiety, fear? Why?

What are the ways that you function well, and not so well? For example, I do my best writing at around 4AM, regardless of what time I’ve gone to bed, so I try to get up then whenever possible.

What dreams did you have earlier in life? Not all dreams are necessarily destiny, but they can reveal patterns that will help you identify who you really are.

What is the underlying WHY In the things you do when you’re not acting out of obligation, necessity, social expectations, etc.?

When you start answering some of the questions, you’re going to find it easier to be yourself, and when people sense that you’re for real, they will tend to be more receptive to you and what you have to offer, and this receptiveness is what then will enable conscious charismatic behavior to work its apparent magic. We’ll talk about that next week.

Meanwhile, remember. An intention without a decision is just a wish, so decide today to unleash your most authentic self so that you can tap into the amazing power of your charisma.

-S