Let's face it, not all of us score an "A" when it comes to sociability and likability. Indeed many people cringe at the thought of attending a social gathering or a networking event. Unfortunately, at times they're unavoidable.
Whether you're the introvert that's quickly drained with obligatory conversations, or would never call yourself a "people-person," there are behavioral hacks that will trigger rapport and positive responses from others. Here are nine social techniques, some backed by studies, that will ensure you ace your next social interaction.
1. Show your palms
You'd assume the eyes are the first place you look when meeting someone, but it's the hands. It's an evolutionary behavior that still persists; a survival mechanism to make sure the other person is not carrying weapons.
So when you meet someone for the first time, keeping your hands visible, and showing your palms will make them comfortable.
2. Use their name
It's the sweetest sound to everyone's ears. Hearing your own name sparks up portions of your brain. Using the person's name in a conversation will perk their interest and put a smile on their face. We shouldn't have to make a note that using it in every sentence is too much.
3. Novel questions
If you want to guarantee a boring conversation, ask "So, what do you do for a living?" It's so worn out, yet still so commonly the textbook approach to every conversation. Charisma coach JT Tran suggests asking "If you were a pizza topping, what would you be?"
Novel questions will always evoke a smile and interesting conversations.
4. Vary Your Tone
Charismatic speakers are always adjusting their vocal tone. Think back to that painfully boring lecture--the professor was monotone right? Varying your tone during a conversation will keep the other person engaged and interested in you.
5. Hand gestures
A survey of 760 people who rated and watched hundreds of hours of Ted Talks revealed a direct correlation between the number of views and number of hand gestures.
The top Ted Talks that averaged over 7 million views used double the amount if hand gestures as the talks that averaged over 100K views.
Why are people drawn to hand gestures? Because you're talking to them on two levels: the verbal and nonverbal.
6. The slight touch
The line between creepy and effective is very thin on this one. The highly charismatic Bill Clinton is a master of strategic social touching. Whether it's a pat on the back or a touch of the elbow, when done at the right moments can really increase your rapport with a person.
7. Stand side-on
Standing directly in front of a person can be perceived as confrontational. You can adjust your positioning as the conversation continues, but initially standing slightly side-on will ensure an interaction starts on the best foot.
8. Eye contact
Psychologists at Aberdeen University found that people were more attracted to faces that maintained eye contact rather than those who averted their eyes.
Of course, intense eye contact would cause anyone uncomfort. Maintaining a consistent amount however will increase likability and attractiveness.
Last but definitely not least. There's a social obligation that comes with a smile, and rarely will it be unreciprocated. And with a smile comes the release of happy chemicals. Those happy chemicals will make it difficult for someone not to like you.
Thai writes from the intersection of psychology, philosophy, and spirituality. Sign up for his free infographic-articles at: The Utopian Life.