How To Instantly Connect With Anyone

January 25, 2015 - 4 minute read -

I recently read this book.

It’s 337 pages long, but is filled with the author’s personal stories and how she came up with the 96 little tricks on connecting with people. A lot of the “tricks” are pretty lame (along with the personal stories), so I’ve taken all the useful insights and summarized them here (93 down to 30 of the most practical tricks). The language in this post is straight to the point and I leave out the ideas that reinforce why these tricks work - if you’re really that curious you can always buy the book.

A list of 30 social tricks…

  1. Strong eye contact is important whenever listening or speaking. You can improve yours by paying attention to characteristics of the eyes - the color, shape, frequency of blinking, etc. - eventually it’ll become effortless.
  2. When appropriate, give a slightly scrutinizing expression while listening to someone - then morph it into a smile of acceptance - this makes the other person feel like they won your approval.
  3. When introducing someone else, say their name before their role. “This is our intern, Amir.” vs “This is Amir; he’s our intern this quarter.”
  4. When introducing a friend, put them in a good light - share a story, something they’re good at, etc. instead of just mentioning their name.
  5. When jumping into a discussion don’t feel compelled to speak right away - think about it, and when the time comes people will pay more attention if you’ve been quiet for a while.
  6. Learn how to give a good handshake - if you feel yours sucks, practice with a friend.
  7. When receiving a business card, treat it like a small piece of art - don’t just quickly hide it away in your pocket. You can also use their business card for conversation inspiration.
  8. Don’t pat their back when you hug.
  9. Your level of enthusiasm while speaking should be just a few levels above theirs.
  10. People often say their “hello” more enthusiastically then their goodbye - don’t do this. Be just as enthusiastic when saying goodbye.
  11. Ask people about their last few hours as opposed to their whole day. The details are more ready and the other person will have an easier time talking about them.
  12. If you can think of a flattering nickname to give to people, use it (with discretion).
  13. Don’t speak about a luxury you have the is unobtainable for the other person (this is along the lines of being cocky).
  14. To change a topic - repeat their words and link them to what you want to talk about.
  15. Being early at a party allows you to meet more people early on and you’ll have a group to hang out with and introduce as new people arrive.
  16. Use every opportunity to connect/introduce other people you know at a party.
  17. Smile at individuals that arrive to a party alone.
  18. Use a person’s name as early and often as possible after meeting them.
  19. When joining a conversation and you don’t know what’s going on, pull aside one person and quietly ask them to bring you up to speed.
  20. Always sound excited when people invite you to an event - even if you know you can’t make it. Later on you can break the news that you can’t make it.
  21. Buy the first and last rounds - they’re the most memorable ones.
  22. When your late to something don’t make an excuse - just quietly say excuse me, then later on follow up with your reasons if necessary.
  23. During an argument or after you’ve been scolded; repeat their accusation verbatim - “You’re right, I did do X and Y…” - then either rationalize your actions or if you can’t then say what you’ve learned from it.
  24. Let people overhear you giving compliments about other (talking bad behind someone’s back is no good, but talking positively about them within earshot has the opposite effect).
  25. Be aware of the seating arrangements around you - offer your seat if you see someone who could use it more. Try to sit beside more powerful people given the context.
  26. Sitting physically higher than everyone else generates subconscious respect for you and your ideas.
  27. Laugh a lot - especially in a senior position people may be afraid to be themselves around you - by laughing around your “underlings” you make them feel more comfortable.
  28. When speaking to a group, ensure that you make eye contact with everyone.
  29. Stop saying filler words. (you already knew this - it’s just practice - have a friend call you out the next time he/she notices you doing it.)
  30. When sending an email or text, do a news/weather check in that person’s local area and incorporate that into the message if appropriate.