My favorite part of this venture is hearing your stories of how you’re more intentionally connecting with others,
so please don’t hesitate to share them by emailing me at elician@gmail.com, or follow me on www.facebook.com/DontBeAStranger2!

So of course as with anything wonderful in life, I had even more ideas sparked for my book AFTER publishing, so lucky you! Below, I’ve included a few teasers to give you a taste of what you’ll find in my book to complement what’s there! I’ll also offer tips and tricks from time to time that you might use in implementing the strategies and journaling your progress! Please feel free to download this worksheet I created for Tracking your Progress WS!

Please help me spread the word by asking your local bookstore to order the book and leaving me an Amazon review of your take-aways and successes you’re having by implementing the strategies outlined in the book! So far I’ve gotten great support from Barnes & Noble in Scottsdale, iTunes has it available, and it can be found on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2p04LQQ! Grateful for your support in getting it in more hands…

Welcome to Don’t Be A Stranger! The most important point I want to stress is TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR CREATING THE CONNECTION. Whatever you do, take responsibility for starting it, and keep it positive.

Sign up for a book workshop to dig into the material for specific tips that didn’t make it into the book…



 

You get one chance to make a FIRST impression. You may certainly circle back and improve on that impression, however, your first impression may be unforgettable. In those initial moments, you plant seeds that may either help you in the future or plant seeds of doubt. If the first impression goes well, you’ll be remembered with positive feelings! If the first impression goes poorly, you may have to work harder to rewrite that impression…not because others are ‘bad,’ but because you presented yourself in a less than ideal light. Consider the 3-second rule and freeze-frame in virtual meetings (see my blog post on this). Smile, use inflection, show up as the person you want to be remembered as!

Experience shows that connections in advance of meetings foster a greater sense of comfort and warmth in initial meetings (this is why college students are often paired with a buddy before meeting!). If you’ve RSVP’d for an event and have access to the registration list, email group, or event page, comment or send out a message expressing enthusiasm about meeting others and/or sharing what you look forward to. This will help others recognize your warmth and willingness to engage even before meeting! Be the firefly! — You’ll have to read my book or attend one of my workshops to know what I mean!

Want to do something but scared to take the first few steps? Feel the fear, and do it anyway!

Do It Scared, Do It Often, Do It Ugly…Do It Anyways. The best to way to confront and overcome fears is by confronting them! Go where strangers are…attend events you wouldn’t otherwise, search meetup.com or other online events and connect with groups you ordinarily wouldn’t. Spark conversations and connections using the chapters and tips that follow. Compliment who and what you see, share how pleased you are to be there and meet everyone. Lead with kindness… Don’t Be A Stranger!

You’re not expected to be good at it all or confident at all times! I’m certainly not! Weakness in one area can be compensated for in other areas depending on the weakness. For example, I can overcompensate for more casual dress by conveying my more bubbly, charismatic, or genuinely caring side and engaging others in playful or intellectual banter. It’s difficult, however, to compensate for flat or sad-looking facial expressions no matter how great your personality when you speak. Others will actually feel confused when you’re engaging in one moment then appear miserable around them the next — please stop saying that’s just my face.

Ask yourself often, how easy or hard do I make it for others to approach me or be vulnerable with me? If you’re not often approached, ask yourself what you’re doing or not doing that may be stopping them. So often people  judge others around them ‘everywhere they go.’ Remember that you’re the common denominator. If you want people you care about to feel comfortable around you, help them. Be willing to adjust how you hold your face at rest. It takes little effort to habituate a smile or more open facial expressions. I learned, and so can you!

The eyes are uniquely a window to the soul. People who avoid eye contact can come across as less trustworthy and open, and this can create a hurdle in establishing connections. Consider making eye contact with everyone you pass everyday for the next week. But, don’t stop there, either smile when you do or simply say “Good morning! Hello, or hi!” and inflect your voice so you sound happy to cross their pass. You don’t need to exaggerate, but make it a point to see each crossing as a gift. 

Chapter 6 delineates RBF (Resting Bitch Face) – please note, I did not make this term up. It’s actually commonly known as a facial expression that unintentionally (or intentionally) appears displeased, unfriendly,  annoyed, bored, frustrated, angry, or another negative feeling, even when a person is simply feeling relaxed, neutral, or contemplative.  Below is an example of what RBF looks like — no judgement at all, let’s just teach you how to adjust it to welcome warmer and more positive connections around you! As an aside, in the event of a facial deformity, paralysis, or condition that affects facial expressions/movements, please don’t fret! The skills herein can be used in concert to compensate for one another. Perhaps lean more heavily in the direct of offering sincere compliments and words of gratitude and/or using playful questions to open dialogue/show curiosity.
 
Here’s a fun example of what RBF can look like and why you might want to consider retraining your face:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIZybnmE4x8
 
You can most definitely help remove RBF from someone else’s face! How? Engage them! Ask questions that are playful or kind:
“Would you like me to help take that photo for you?”
 
“Where are you traveling to/from” (if at the airport)
“You look so much like {name a celebrity look alike…
if flattering!}” – or”Who do people tell you you look like?”
“What’s your favorite item on the menu?”

Avoid signing outloud (or eye-rolling while we’re at it). It sends a negative message of annoyance or feeling displeased with whoever or whatever is around you whether you are or are not. Even if you, it’s not kind and reflects poorly on you.

Incidentally, tone of voice applies to phone calls as well. Have you ever considered what your phone voice tells people? See my blog post on phone voice for more on this, but here are a few tips to start with.  While someone may not be able to see you smiling through a phone, I can almost assure you they will hear you smiling! Tone of voice and inflection simply change when you are smiling, and your tone is generally softened in a pleasant, inviting way. Inflection refers to the intonation, pitch, or loudness of the voice, and can be most impactful in greetings, especially attached to the last word spoken. It makes quite the difference if I say, “Good morning” in a monotone way, if I let my voice trail downwards when I say “morning” or if I say “morning” with a higher, almost sing-songy pitch. This may sound playful, and that would be ideal! Playfulness welcomes laughter, laughter foster connection and joy. When you present more consistently with a joyful tone and smile through a phone call, you’ll be amazed at how others’ responses to you will change! You might find that you’ll get more phone calls, so beware and be kind! Practice out loud in front of the mirror, with a close friend, or even with your stuffed animals. It may feel silly, but the outcome will be well worth it!

Watch this video for background on one approach called the MOM system for better remembering names:
https://lifehacker.com/develop-better-basic-memory-with-the-mom-system-1676623485

A great way to spark connections is by asking questions that make sense! Ask questions primed by context or setting, or even better, ask questions that follow-up to something already shared. Here are a few examples:

At the airport restaurant bar:
“Hi! What’s your favorite thing off the menu?”
“Where are you heading?”
“What is taking you there?”
“Any excursions you’re looking forward to while there?”
“Have you been before?” – follow-up, what’s your favorite restaurant/thing to do there?

In small talk you might ask a stranger what they’re looking forward to in the coming week/month/summer/holiday… Based on their answer, ask a follow-up questions about whether they’ve done that before and/or what drives their excitement. 

Ask about how people have developed their passions and talents!

It’s meaningful and memorable to extend empathy to someone you just met who told you they’re having a bad day, yet this is uncomfortable for many people. A few ways you might respond kindly are:

“I’m so sorry you feel that way. That does sound really frustrating.”

“I’m so sorry to hear that. Is there anything I can do to make it better?” … If they ask for something unreasonable, simply smile and say, “Anything else I can do?” This is a great way to break the ice and help crack a smile.

In this chapter I also explain why it’s a BAD idea to start a question with the word, “why.” What might you ask instead? How about:

“Would you be willing to share how you came to that?”

“I wonder if you’d elaborate on what led you to that?”

“I appreciate your perspective.
Would you help me understand how…”

“That’s so interesting. Would you explain…”

Dress for how you want to feel, not how you feel.

Put in the extra effort to dress up, as though going to meet someone important today (even if not leaving the house, YOU are important. Look yourself in the mirror and look forward to what you’ll see! People (and YOU) will treat you differently if you dress like success! 

Check back later or sign up for a book workshop for more tips that didn’t make it into the book… Don’t Be A Stranger!

Stop what you’re doing right now, and look around you. Who’s within arm’s reach? What is something you can sincerely compliment them on? What is something you like about them? Perhaps a color, a tie, an accessory…avoid items around suggestible body parts. Now, compliment them! Don’t worry about their response. Say it, then go back to what you were doing.

Let people know exactly what you appreciate them for. Use clear, specific terms, and use their names in sharing with them the impact of their kindness, help, or support. If you’re a corporate leader or leader of groups in business, consider a kudos rotation. Keep a roster handy and use it each month/quarter to be sure you as a manager have identified at least one positive quality of EACH staff member. Do not simply rely on other staff to report positives on each other. Take the time to identify strengths and what’s great about each person on your team. Make sure each person feels seen and recognized individually, and be sure not to inadvertently miss someone. I assure you it will be noticed, and silence can feel deafening. 

Have you ever considered how destructive sarcasm can be in relationships? It is important to differentiate between sarcastic statements and witty, facetious remarks. See my blog on this topic to learn the difference! Humor and eliciting laughter are a wonderful way of uplifting others as long as the humor does not make the turn into a joke or insinuation at another person’s expense.

Certain, often more formal, emotionally-laden language can leave more powerful first impressions. Consider phrases such as:

“Please, allow me to…”
“I’ve genuinely enjoyed meeting you, thank you.”
“It’s been my sincere pleasure…”
“I’ve felt energized by our time together…”

People remember more when you take an extra few seconds to show civility and engage emotional language. 

Every time you say “yes” or go somewhere new (in person or virtually), you’re “showing up” to meet a stranger. Good for you! My R+F business taught me to “never miss an event.” Say ‘YES’ to that online/virtual meetup.com event, to that live training, to that conference you don’t think you want to go to, to that networking event you’re not sure will serve you, to going to dinner or a movie alone…when you do, connect with at least one person. Make eye contact, smile, say hello!, introduce yourself to someone, ask someone to watch your seat, offer to hold the door for someone, then detach from the outcome!

For those wanting to pursue relationship beyond a brief encounter

Make follow-up easy; do the work for them. Don’t just send people to your website, ask for their number or e-mail and send them the direct hyperlink to the exact page or product they expressed interest in. Follow-up a few hours or days later to let them know you enjoyed meeting them and offering to follow up further, if appropriate. Do what is within your control, don’t wait for others to do it for you.

First Impressions by Phone:
First impressions definitely matter on the phone too! I’ll never forget the day I was on the phone with the internet guy giggling for over 30 minutes before my dad asked me, “WHO are you talking to?!” I told him, “the cable guy daddy!” Then, I carried on giggling! Why NOT have fun with every person we encounter! I never forget that conversation, and I will never forgot my father’s chuckle and delight in the odd creature he had created in me! So, while phone etiquette wasn’t a chapter in the book, it should have been! Smile through the phone, I promise the person on the other end will be able to tell!

Flirting and Pick-Up Lines:
Have you considered that flirting is NOT just for singles? Forever flirting with your partner will keep your relationship fresh! Flirting is defined online as “social behavior that suggests interest in a deeper relationship with the other person.” Flirting is also a way of infusing amusement in connecting with others and fostering more memorable moments. As a woman, I’ve made some of my best female friends by using the principles of flirting! Flirting is defined often in the intention. It’s flirting when there is an underlying romantic interest. It’s being charming, likeable, warm, or playful when the intention is to simply be kind and approachable.

While there was no specific chapter on flirting or pick-up lines, consider that every chapter builds on another with skills on how to carry yourself in a way that is playful, favorable, and memorable. Flirting is merely about creating playfulness and intrigue using eye contact, smiling, compliments, greetings, and humor. Pick-up lines can be fun/funny but might also be off-putting and unimaginative if recycled. Most importantly, be sincere and authentic. Have something to say BEFORE walking up to a stranger so the conversation doesn’t fall flat or feel awkward, and smile!

Use technology to your advantage! Have a way to initiate follow-up after meeting someone, through adding them on social media and/or asking to send a text, e-mail, or call to check back on something you discussed. Note, I stated that you initiate. Many wait for ‘the other’ person to follow-up and miss out on invaluable connections, even diminishing their memory of the other if they don’t hear. Instead, assume the best, and take initiative and responsibility for the follow-up. Remind the person in your follow-up message where/when you met and something you enjoyed about your interaction. Perhaps comment on a positive feeling you had after you met! 

 

Together, let’s help make the world a nicer place
one memorable moment at a time!

I leave you with a favorite song that I think beautifully captures the magic of seizing random moments to show curiosity around “What Ifs!”
(Kane Brown, What Ifs featuring Lauren Alaina)

Life would be so boring without friends like Beth Mehin

Posted by Elicia Nademin on Friday, December 13, 2019

 

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