Meet Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere

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Have you ever been in a situation where you missed an opportunity to talk to someone that you wanted to meet?  Maybe it was because you didn’t know what to do, how to act or what to say.  Meeting anyone anytime or anywhere may sound difficult or improbable, but actually, it’s easier than you might think.  Partnerships, romantic relationships, and friendships all begin with a meeting.  After reading this, you will have a better understanding of how to effectively meet the people you want to associate with.                                                                                        

Get Noticed
Have you ever been in a store quietly browsing the merchandise when suddenly a store clerk comes out of nowhere to ask you if you need help?  Most people instinctively respond with a statement like, “No, I’m just looking?”  We do this not because we don’t need help but because we are trying to repel the clerk.  You can expect a similar reaction from most people you meet if you haven’t first made your presence known.  When the person or people you want to meet have acknowledged your presence, you have a better chance of engaging in a successful conversation.
When you establish a presence you are informing everyone in the room that you are confident and worth talking to. Here are a few ways to establish a confident presence. 

Present your image-We would all love to live in a world where appearance doesn’t matter.  But let’s be honest, it does.  That is why it is important that you choose the clothes that reflect the image you want people to have of you.  Know the type of impression you want to make and how you want to project your presence.  Then, dress yourself in clothes that fit that image.  For example, if you want to be perceived as fun, outgoing, or extroverted.  Wear clothes that are brightly colored or have attention getting patterns and logos.  If you want to be perceived as a person who “has it together”, sharp, or stylish, wear clothes that fit your body.  You should have at least one outfit that is tailored to fit you or at least looks like it was. 

Pick up the pace-Studies have shown that a person who walks with a faster pace is perceived by other people to be more important.  According to Dr. David Swartz, people seem to identify them as more confident and having somewhere important to be.  People who walk faster also seem to be surer of themselves and are seen as knowing exactly where they are going.  If you walk with a slightly slower tempo, try walking a little bit faster. 

Own your space-Occupy your space with confidence.  Whatever space you have, own it!  Great speakers and performers know how powerful owning their space can be.  They move freely all over the stage and even into the audience.  By doing this, they let the audience know that they are in control of their given space. The more space they own, the more confident they seem.  Stand with your shoulders back, make bigger gestures and move freely in your given space.  If you feel as though you don’t have that much space to work in, make sure your voice is clear and can be heard.  If you can’t own your space physically, projecting your voice is a good way to let people know you are there. 

Prepare to Have a Good Answer

During a new conversation or meeting, people are just getting to know one another.  Asking questions is the fastest and most common way to get acquainted with someone you’ve just met.  Although there is no sure way of telling which direction a conversation will go, there are some questions that seem to show up in almost all first meetings.  Here are some questions you will have to answer eventually when meeting someone new.

-Your name

-Where you were born

-Where you were raised

-What you do for a living

-School or College you attended or are currently attending

-A hobby, sport, or pastime you take part in

-Are you single, married or divorce

When you meet someone for the first time you should have something memorable, funny, or interesting to say so that you can leave a positive impression on that person.  Since you know that you will have to answer at least one of the questions above, have a story, joke, or something interesting ready to say that is related to the question.  My first name is Ralph and my last name is Jean-Paul and for years when I would meet someone new they would jokingly say,

“Hey, you have three first names.  Your parents couldn’t decide on just one?”

I’ve been hearing that joke since grade school.  When I introduce myself, I know that there is a possibility that they will notice the uniqueness of my name; so I already know what to say.  Do you have a funny story about your school or college?  Were you born in a unique way or place?  Do you have anything interesting to say about your job or what you do with your time?  Of course you do!  Be prepared to use that story, joke, or info to give the person you are meeting insight into who you are and your magnetic personality.


Pay Attention

If you’ve ever seen a game show you’ve probably noticed the host holding an index card before introducing the contestants.  That card, as you might have already figured out, contains some information about each contestant.  It may be an interesting fact, an odd profession, or a unique experience that person may have had.  Whatever is written on that card, the host has something to start a short dialog with in order for the audience to acquaint themselves with the contestant.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone hand you an index card with the hobby, favorite song, or background of a person you are about to converse with?  In the real world, it’s not that easy.

But there is a way to gain some insight into a person’s personality before you even say a word to them.

As human beings we are constantly communicating.  Facial expressions, words, and body language are common methods humans use to convey a message.  But if you pay attention closely, you will see other signs that will give more insight into a person’s life, hobbies, and background. 

The way a person walks, dresses, cuts their hair, wears their glasses and present themselves is a big indication of who that person is.  Anything unusual such as unique accessory items or clothing items not only gives you a great conversation starter, but you can sometimes gauge that person’s personality by what they use to represent themselves with.  There are many other ways to know about someone before you know them.  I have a friend who is very athletic and has played sports all of his life. Being around athletes so much has given him the ability to guess accurately what sport a person plays just by observing their body type.  Before you approach a person, notice the clues that they use to tell the world who they are.


You have probably heard of the technique called mirroring.  Many networking experts recommend this technique when trying to build rapport.  The idea is to mimic the other person’s body language so that the person feels as though they are looking into a mirror reflection of their expressions.     But here’s a question, what if the person is uncomfortable or shy?

Their body language will consist of obvious signs of their uneasiness.   Their eyes may be looking everywhere but in your direction, their arms may be crossed, or perhaps they can’t stop fidgeting.  The feelings they may be having while talking to you will reflect in their body language.  

Don’t force mirror
Instead of mirroring their body language and facial expressions, I suggest that you should project body language that encourages mirroring.  Mirroring is a natural occurrence during conversation.  When people begin to connect and experience genuine rapport with one another, they begin to unconsciously copy each other’s gestures. Have you ever been on a dinner date that was going really well?  I once was on a date that started with the girl acting as though she didn’t want to be there.  Instead of mimicking her closed body language, I chose
to send a message that I was very open, comfortable, and relaxed.  As we conversed and the night went on, we found ourselves in a stimulating conversation that had both of us leaning towards one another.  

Perhaps she was nervous or maybe she really didn’t want to be there.  The truth is, if I would’ve copied her body language it would not be long before I felt nervous and also adopted the feeling of uneasiness.  When you are comfortable, in control, and relaxed, the people who are around you tend to take on that feeling.  So instead of waiting to see what the other person will do so you can mimic, project the feelings and emotions that you would like the other person to have while talking to you.

Pay attention to the mood, atmosphere, and behaviors of the people around you and make a positive comment on it.  The faster you can evoke a positive feeling the more well received the meeting will be.  Meeting people is not as difficult as it may seem.  With some preparation, practice and patience, you will find that everyone is approachable.  Read How to Start Meaningful Conversations for more on how to meet new people. 

        Talk to Strangers: How to Easily Start Conversations With Anyone >>

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