When a group of people laughs, each member of the group can’t help but make eye contact with the person they feel closest to. This trick can make you an astute observer of relationships of all types. It can tell you which members of your team are bonding and learning to trust one another, just as easily as it can tell you if you might have a shot at landing a date with a certain someone.
When you convince someone to do you a favor, they unconsciously justify why they are willing to do so. Typical justifications include things such as “he’s my friend,” “I like him,” and “he seems like the kind of person who would return the favor.” These justifications serve you perfectly.
When you ask someone a question and they’re slow to respond, don’t feel pressure to move the conversation forward. Remaining silent plays to your advantage. Moments of silence make people feel as though they should speak, especially when the ball is in their court.
There’s an employee policy at LEGOLAND that says whenever someone asks where something is, the employee “presents” (open-palm gesture) their directions instead of “pointing” them. This is because the open-palmed gesture conveys trust, making people more likely to agree with what you’re saying and to find you friendly and likeable. Pointing, on the flip side, is generally seen as aggressive and rude.
Nodding your head during a conversation or when asking a question makes the other person more likely to agree with what you’re saying. The next time you need to win someone over to your way of thinking, try nodding your head as you speak.
The natural tendency to remember unfinished things is called the Zeigarnik effect. Ever notice how some television commercials get cut off early? The company paying for the commercial cuts it off so that it sticks in your head longer than other commercials. The best way to forget unfinished things (commercials or songs) is to finish them in your head.
Chewing gum actually lowers your cortisol levels, the hormone responsible for stress. But chewing gum doesn’t just reduce stress, it also makes you more alert and improves your performance in memory-oriented tasks. You probably don't want to use this one while you're talking, but it's a great way to destress in preparation for a big presentation or challenging conversation.
When talking to someone, pay attention to their feet. If their feet are aimed at you, they’re interested and listening to what you’re saying, but if their feet point away from you, they’re most likely disinterested and mentally checked out.
The goal here is to repeat their name three times in the first five minutes. It works extremely well, but the trick is to do it naturally. When you rattle off their name unnecessarily, it sounds foolish and awkward.
This one goes back to the idea that we mirror the behavior of those around us. If you show excitement when you see someone, they naturally mirror that excitement back at you. It’s an easy way to make a strong first impression and to get people to like you.