How To Start A Conversation With Impact
CB010 – How To Start A Conversation With Impact
Opening a conversation with confidence and poise is crucial if you want to make a positive impact. The way you stand, think about yourself and more are vital. Listen in as we discuss three core principals that will give you a head start in your conversations and get the other party to listen with respect.
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CB010 - How To Start A Conversation With Impact
It’s Stuart again with another exciting episode of Confidence Bytes and today I want to talk to you about communicating with impact, and particularly the beginning of your conversation with another person - And obviously it starts with the greeting…
If this is a stranger or somebody you’re just meeting for the first time today, maybe you have a meeting with somebody then your initial greeting is key to starting off the meeting on a good foot.
And there are three factors to think about.
No 1 is how you feel within yourself, and this will affect everything else so it is crucial to get this part right.
And No 2 is the way you stand, your pose, your body posture, your body alignment.
And No 3, building on that, is smile - how you smile and how you address the other person.
So, we’re going to start with the first part which is your internal feeling because this is going to have the biggest impact on everything else. And, you know, if you’re a shy type of person it can be a little bit difficult to, you know, just greet people, to talk to people. And you might feel sort of like, you know, you’re, you’re looking down or you, you’ve got this crunched up body posture and you need to take that out of your system - and there’s a couple f ways you can do that.
The first thing is, obviously I’ve spoken in other shows about ‘I Am Good’, ‘I
Have Learned’, ‘My Success Diary’ - these things are critical in that process of building your self esteem, your appreciation for yourself, so if you haven’t started, go back to the other, earlier shows, and do the exercises. Start understanding how good you are, start understanding all the successes you’ve had, start understanding all the things you have learned which means you can learn more.
And you’ve done many things well, you’ve had many successes which means you can do more of those as well. And that includes having good conversations, having powerful communications with people.
So those are very, very critical.
Now, before you, you get to somebody and, and you start talking to them it’s a very good idea to have in your mind some tools and some tricks that you can use just to help you get into the right frame of mind.
So, I want to talk about ‘pride’, and I don’t want to talk about ‘arrogant pride’, the horrible pride, I want to talk about ‘accomplished pride’.
You know, within yourself, that you’ve done something very well and you’ve had a great result… and this makes you feel good, this makes you feel great. And it makes you feel, you know, proud of yourself and, and because of that your whole bearing, your whole posture changes.
Now, for me, I can think of one time straight away.
It was a few years ago now, when I was living in South Africa and I was an extra on a movie set. And this movie set was a period movie in, erm, in Viking times so we weren’t allowed to wear glasses, we weren’t allowed to wear watches, we weren’t allowed anything, you know, from modern day times.
And it was the night shift, and we were on, you know, booked for three whole nights, and one night we were stood there and we were waiting and waiting as you do on movies especially if you’re act - extras.
And one of the guys who’s a friend of mine came up to me and said you know, “Stuart, do you know what time it is?”
So, without thinking, I just looked up at the moon and I saw the position of the moon, it was just after full, so I said “Oh, it’s nine o’clock.”
And he looked at me and he said, you know, “Bullshit.” excuse the, the erm language, he said, you know, he didn’t believe me so he walked away and he found somebody who had a watch. And a few moments later he came back. And he said “How did you know that?”
And I just, you know, I knew because of the position of the moon and it was just after full and there’d been a full moon a couple of days before and each day after the full moon time, you know, it’s about 15 - 20 minutes, it’s in a different position in the sky.
But I din’t, you know, I didn’t think of that at the time. I just looked and said… and I felt so good within myself you know, as he told me as he came back with this sort of incredulous look on his face, I could feel my chest swelling with pride. I could feel my body opening. I could just feel my power.
And this is what I want you to do, I want you to find a memory, it could be, you know, when you were a child and you learned to write. You know most children when they learn to write the letters ‘a’ or ‘b’ or the numbers or a word or something, they’re so proud of it they’re running around showing everybody and they’re just going “Yes, yes, yes!”
Get a memory like that, okay.
Accomplished pride - something you did and you felt so good within yourself. Now, it could be you like cooking, it could be that you made this meal and everybody was just having ecstasy of delight over this meal and you felt so good within yourself because you created it and your friends, your guests, were having the most wonderful time enjoying it.
And you know how that makes you feel so good.
So this is the type of memory that you need to pick up okay.
Now, I want you to think carefully and you know, you may not be able to get this memory right now but get a memory similar to that, you know, and just think about it.
And think deeply about it, and if you’re driving, please stop, you know, doing this or stop driving if you can, if it’s safe, and do it, you know, in a safe place when you’re not driving.
And think of this emory, close your eyes, think of it, and just let the feelings, the feelings of goodness come up, and amplify them. Double them, double them, double them until they’re filling your body, they’re radiating out of your body and you can feel your body posture changing. You can feel your smile, you can just feel that ‘I did this!’
Just let it grow and grow and encourage it to grow more and more and more and more and just capture that emotion. Capture that feeling okay.
Now let it go away, and just feel the residue of energy it’s left you with, feel the residue of the body posture and everything else…
(Scratching noises in the background)
And if you hear scratching and things it’s my dog who’s at my feet and he’s just getting a bit restless - he wants attention (laughs)
So. Just capture those feelings, allow them to stay in you and then, close your eyes again, or of you’ve opened your eyes it’s fine, close them again. If they’re still closed leave them closed and then just remember that feeling again.
And now I want you to increase those feelings, bring them higher and higher. Double them, double them, double them and almost let them explode out of your body, okay.
Now, open your eyes, let the memory fade, keep the feelings, keep the feelings, and you can feel how your body posture has changed because you did that… you made something… you achieved something that’s worthy of celebrating.
So just enjoy that, bask in the glow of those feelings. And I want you to practice that many, many times on your own until it’s second nature, until just thinking about that incident allows your body to open and that pride come into you.
And, as I say, it’s not arrogant pride, it’s accomplished pride - something you achieved…
And, you know, as a celebration - “Yyyeeeesssss, I did it I did it! Yeeesssss, I’m so good.” And you just look at yourself in the mirror and you smile - okay - it’s a celebration because these are things that you should have learned how to do already and you need to be practicing every single day.
You keep doing these until they become second nature and whenever you’re with somebody you can just look at the person and as you look at them this memory comes into your mind there, your body changes, your face changes… Everything changes because you know you’re so special.
So you practice that. Make sure that you do it at least three, four or more times a day, and, you know, I’ve got this little elastic band - I keep talking about it, this, this memory dev, device, I keep talking about using your alarm on the phone because you have to make these habits until they’re so ingrained in you that you don’t even think about them, they just - ‘poomph’ - explode naturally.
Okay, now, I’ve just spoken about the victory salute ‘Yeeeessss, I’m so good, yes.’ remember them, do it, and, you know, obviously (laughs), I can just imagine - you know, you meet a stranger and you go, first thing you do - “Yeeesssss, I’m so good…” - this guy’s going to go ‘Pheeogh’, he’s gone, he’s going to run.
But, you don’t have to do the physical thing, you can remember it in your mind, you can just go through the thing in your mind and you can just get that feeling ok. That’s going to help you.
And if you have a meeting, you can obviously go to the bathroom, do it before the meeting and then go there. If you have an important phone call you do it before the phone call, pick up the phone and then you make the phone call.
So there are ways you can do it and once you’ve got it as a habit just thinking about it will make you, will change you, ok.
And I’m just thinking about it now (laughs) you know, and I’m smiling already, because I’m just feeling the energy from it ok.
Now, the other thing that’s very important is your body posture. And we’ve spoken about these… the authority pose, the power pose where you stand like superman, superwoman.
Obviously, if you’re going to have a meeting with your boss or something you can’t stand there like that, but there’s nothing to stop you just standing there with your shoulders back and, you know, having this proud bearing, your feet slightly apart - because, you know, if your feet are together like this, pressed together, it’s the biggest giveaway that you are insecure.
If your feet are wide and firm then people will take you with a lot more respect and they will see and they will feel your confidence.
Similarly, don’t have your shoulders hunched. Have your shoulders back. And now, here’s a couple of exercises and, you know, obviously, if you have, you know, a difficulty in movements and things like that please consult a doctor first and make sure that everything’s ok.
The first one is your, as I say, the chest open and you’re shoulders back. So what we do is we lift our arms up and put them back and then you feel your shoulder blades pressing together and as, you just drop your arms down you keep your shoulder blades pressing together.
And at first there’s effort involved, ok, now stan…sit there or stand there with your shoulder blades together and just lessen that effort by 50%, ok, 50% again, 50% again and your shoulder blades might move a slight bit but they will stay together a lot more and your chest will be open, your posture will be open - you’ll have more authority.
And by doing that, obviously, you can see it’s made my body more erect, I’m not slumped down, my body’s erect because my shoulder blades are back.
So, up, elbows out a bit, back, shoulder blades together, come down and do this and then, as I say, if you have any movement or issues like that just make sure with your doctor that it’s ok because we don’t want you to hurt yourself.
Now, practice this everyday sitting down watching TV, sitting down having a meal, sitting down in, you know, in a meeting - meeting, you can’t do that, But, you know, a meeting you can just put your shoulders back and push them like that once you get used to it. Relax, relax, 50%, 50% - I’ve not changed my bearing.
This is what you’re going to master…
This will immediately signal, because you’ve got your chest more open it will signal your confidence. You’re not trying to protect your vital areas, you’re open, you’re showing that ‘I am confident enough to be vulnerable.’
So, practice that at home. Get it so ingrained that just thinking about it makes your shoulders go back ok.
Now, next one is to do with your head. If I look directly at you like I’m doing now, I look more confident than I do if I’m like that. And also if I’m like that I’m closing my vocal area so my speech is not clear, it’s not coming from here, it’s coming from my nose more, you see.
So there is a position that if you move your head backwards and forwards ok, like that, it will just sit. It’s like there’s a little groove that it just ‘dunk’ fits into. And that’s your position.
Now, you need to find that, and again, do it very gently - and if you have any issues check with your doctor first - but you just move your head back, forward.
And if you want to start off with exaggeration, very slowly, very gently, look at the sky, look at the ground, look at the sky, look at the ground. And each time make it less and less. And as you get this rocking motion like this then suddenly ‘dunk’ it will fit in and just sit there. So you’re doing that, rocking gently and gently - ‘dunk’ now I feel comfortable. My shoulders are back, my head’s up, I’ve got my firm posture - I am radiating that I’m confident.
It’s as simple as that.
Now, it takes time to practice it so do it at home and what you’re looking for is, that, you know, you’re not having any perceptible movement. It’s just like… there. And it feels just so good.
So, practice, do the movements slowly, do the movements gently, there’s no forcing anything here. It’s just a nice gentle… and then you just go ‘gudchck’ and that’s it, you’re there.
And whilst you’re having the conversations you can be just scanning your body just to make sure, sometimes you might need a little bit of a boost and everything else so, you know, you just make sure everything works.
Ok, now the smile, ok.
Smiles are powerful.
Now if you’re going into the meeting with a boss or somebody like that you don’t run in there with this smile like a big ‘Cheshire Cat’, naaarh, it’s going to be very scary for that other person. If it’s a long lost friend you’ve not seen for a, a long time that’s a different matter but you know, you know, in, in a business meeting or with somebody you don’t know it’s more of a “Hi… I’m glad to meet you.”
So how do you practice that?
Well the first thing is you look at the person, ok.
Now, for some people it’s difficult to look somebody in the eyes so don’t focus on the eyes, focus just here (points to the bridge of the nose) they won’t know the difference but it gives you a lot more security.
So you look at the person and you have a warm gaze it’s not like a “Mmmmmmm” fierce antagonistic challenging gaze, it’s a nice warm gaze.
So you look at them with this warm gaze and you just appreciate them and as you appreciate them, after about half a second to a second you allow this smile to develop because you’re saying to them “I appreciate you.”
And then, obviously you, you carry that smile and you generate this feeling inside you, your, you know, your accomplished pride which makes the smile more real and more genuine, stronger and you just feel your body go into, feet nicely apart firmly on the ground. Your whole body opens, your, your, your authority pose, your superman pose and your head sits there and you’re just radiating this warm authority and confidence that tells the other person “I respect you”, “I am…” you know “okay in your company and I want to get to know you.”
Now, it’s going to take you time to practice it, but practice it little bit by little bit, ok, with your friends, with people you come into contact with, just, you know, as you’re talking just think about it and see how adjusting your posture, casually, makes a difference in the conversation - it will.
Just see how the way you can bring the smile, you know, makes the people feel better. Maybe you’re in a shop talking to a shop keeper and you just look at them and then you smile and say “How much is that?”
And you’ll see the change in their demeanour.
if they were slumped over the counter they could well stand up and… because they’re now looking at you with more respect because you’ve shown appreciation for them.
So, I want you to go about your day practicing these things, making a mental note of it, thinking about this incident that made you feel so good or these incidents that made you feel so good.
And go about your day with this feeling of accomplished pride in you and see how it changes you, see how it makes you smile more, see how it makes people warm to you, okay.
And go about your day doing that…
And don’t go about your day going “I’m so good!” and this arrogance and this nastiness…
It’s just this feeling that you know, you can handle anything that’s thrown at you.
Practice it, practice it, practice it. Put it into play with people. Notice how their reactions are, not how it makes you feel and just keep doing it and just keep growing that and you will become a powerful communicator… somebody who can communicate with impact because this first impression is the most important and it will open up the whole conversation afterwards.
Now, there’s only one thing I want to add to this and that is if you’re travelling into different cultures they have slightly different expectations. For instance, most people have heard about the Japanese with the bow and the person who’s higher authority than you bows less than the person who’s lower authority.
So you have to just take in the culture into consideration and that’s beyond the scope of this little program here. And you, you know, wherever you’re going, do some research on the culture so you’re not going there and insulting the people.
Handshakes are also important but different cultures have different forms of handshakes. For instance, in South Africa, especially with the Afrikaaner population, their handshake was so strong they were trying to crush you and yet some of the indigenous populations like the Xhosas and that, their handshake was much more gentle and sometimes it felt a little bit effeminate.
Also some cultures, they like to linger after the handshake. So the hands can be held for a little bit of a longer time.
There’s so many variations and you need, wherever you’re going to travel, if you’re going to travel, or whoever you’re going to meet from those different cultures, you need to discover those and, and do some research yourself.
But the basics of what I’ve just spoken about today are going to stand you in so much good stead.
So go away, find your feeling of accomplished pride - what is is that makes you feel so good? What is it that you’ve achieved? Grow the emotion, the feeling, the sensation so it’s there just like that. You can switch it on, you can switch it off and it radiates, it makes you, you know, this more powerful, this more open, this more confident person.
If you have any questions drop me a line or put something in the comments and I’ll get back to you and don’t forget to Tweet me - watch the other ones for the other tips, the other shows for the other tips. Listen to the other shows for the other tips.
And I will see you next with another great confidence byte!
Thanks for watching - ciao.