Monday, November 28, 2011

Introducing the Ask a Gentleman Blog

We invite you to experience the Ask a Gentleman blog, a new series in the American Gentleman suite of lifestyle content. Curated by lifestyle and etiquette impresario Alexander Chambers, the blog will cover everything from current events to the coolest parties and destinations around the world. Updated every Tuesday and a follow up Q&A Thursday, the Ask a Gentleman blog seeks to be your weekly primer, prepping you for the week with all things important for the modern man to know.

First up, let’s talk about conversations................without words.

Conversations Without Words

We’ve all seen him, you know the one, yeah him, that guy.  The one who upon entering a room instantly commands its attention, all without ever saying a word. Confidence oozes through his pores but he is far from cocky. It’s as if he just heard the best news of his life prior to entering the venue. He’s at ease, greeting strangers as if he’s known them for years, maneuvering through the crowd with a magnetism that other men envy and peaks the interest of women. It’s as if he just got paid, laid and you think to yourself, likely both.  

Contrasting his demeanor with the other guys in the room, with their slumped postures, arms crossed and aversion to eye contact, the difference is apparent.  It’s not what he is doing or saying, more so it’s how he’s doing it. He has the disposition of a winner, the body language of an alpha male, and here’s how you can get it.

There’s a saying that “dogs can smell fear and women can smell confidence”, and while there isn’t any scientific explanation, one fact cannot be disputed. Both are keen observers of nonverbal communication, and by deciphering body language alone, can make an alarmingly accurate assessment of gentleman’s internal mood.  That is why even in a world that is quickly replacing face-to-face interaction with text, IM, tweets and wall postings, body language remains an important tool in the gentleman’s communication toolkit.

3 Body Language Hacks to Appear More Confident, Taller and Powerful

1.    Always enter a room with a smile on your face. The reason for this should be obvious. Enthusiasm is contagious and people are more likely to mimic your behavior and mood if you set the precedent.  Try smiling whenever entering a room for an entire day and note the response’s you get.

2.    Listen with your eyes:  Eye contact is crucial in establishing engagement in any setting be it the bar or the boardroom. It’s a shame that most men shy away from direct and sustained eye contact. If you want to come off as confident and competent, try sustaining  five seconds of direct eye contact with everyone you come into contact with for a day. For bonus points, mix in the above recommendation of smiling.

3.    Back straight, head up. A slouchy posture isn’t just bad for your spine, it can also effect your interactions with the opposite sex. Before you open your mouth a woman has formed an initial impression of you, largely using you how you carry yourself as the determining factor.  If your posture resembles that of Quasimodo from “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” don’t count on your conversation skills or dapper clothes to help you recover from the betrayal your posture has already committed. Try this exercise taken from the Alexander Technique to strengthen your spine and game.

(Stand with your back against a wall, tighten the abdominals and bring the back of your head, shoulders, butt and heels in alignment so that they all touch the wall.  Holding this position, walk away from the wall and hold for at least a minute. Challenge yourself and see how long you can hold your posture. Repeat this exercise daily until you no longer need the wall to get things in line).

Making a lasting impression without words, isn’t rocket science. Thousands of years of evolution has equipped us with the ability to decipher these nonverbal cues that account for as much as 50-75% of all communication. The interpretation and showcasing of these signs is often performed subconsciously. By using the techniques provided you are now more fluent in body language than a large segment of society.  Now that you’re actively aware of how your body is communicating, what will you say?