Have you ever been talking to someone and wondering if they are genuinely interested in you and what you have to say? Sometimes, it is hard to tell.
It is so easy for someone to get the wrong message. A couple of wrong moves and before you know it, they think you aren’t interested and their focus moves away from you.
To keep someone focused on you, you need to engage with them. That starts by looking at how you present yourself.
Here’s what I mean.
1. Sound Interested
Years ago, when I was in school, I was in a car with my friends. All of a sudden, I received a phone call. Low and behold, it was a potential employer calling. Hardly the time.
Regardless, I accepted the call. I then switched from my normal voice to my ‘interested’ one; switching up in tone, sounding alert, and present.
Once I’d ended the call, a chorus of laughter erupted around me. “What was that?! I’ve never heard you talk like that!” I tried to defend myself, but they’re not wrong.
Plus, studies have shown that focusing on positive emotions can have a positive effect on the mood of others, as you tend to sense surrounding emotions.
So, if you’re like me and have a particularly monotone voice or a severe resting bitch face, then you can come across as uninterested. So, make a conscious effort to perk up the emotion in your voice and try not to sound like The Terminator.
2. Use Two Words
Simple but elegant. Popular podcast hosts Joe Rogan and Tim Ferriss use it to make the podcast feel like an authentic conversation — one of the reasons Rogan signed a mega-money deal with Spotify to likely become the highest-paid podcast host in the world.
Those two words open up vulnerability, triggering them to open up more. Not only that, but they will also feel comfortable in the conversation, as your curiosity shows your interest. You aren’t asking for the sake of asking.
3. Adopt the “Chameleon Effect”
A 1998 study investigated the effects of mimicking.
Researchers had 72 men and women work on a task with a partner. One group mimicked their partner, while the other didn’t. At the end of the interaction, the researchers had participants indicate how much they liked their partners.
Sure enough, participants were more likely to say that they liked their partner when their partner had been mimicking their behavior.
The more time you spend with someone, the more likely you are to adopt their mannerisms. To subtly show your interest, mirror their body language, phrases, gestures, and facial expressions.
4. Break the Touch Barrier
When talking to someone, you may realize you haven’t had any physical contact with them. It’s like an invisible forcefield, preventing you from becoming closer and potentially damaging changes in further engagement.
Now, this typically applies to a dating scenario. Breaking the touch barrier is the next step, as you want to see if you have got the ‘ick’ or not. Once you break it, you feel much closer to the person. Trust me — it’s a real thing.
However, research suggests that you can apply it to other fields. A study by the University of Mississippi found that when waitresses briefly touched a customer’s hand or shoulder, their tips increased dramatically.
The key is to judge the situation. Don’t randomly touch someone’s face, that’s weird. Be subtle about it.
5. See Them How They Want to Be Seen
Self-verification teaches you, and I like the validation of our self-perceptions of one another. Think about it; if you view yourself as an optimist, you’re going to want someone to agree with you. If they don’t, it can feel hurtful.
I don’t know about you, but I find relationships flow much quicker and easier when your interests align. Take music, for example. My girlfriend and I have almost identical music tastes. Not only does it mean we don’t argue about who plays what in the car, it reduces the chance of friction.
People want you to understand them, and vice versa.
What Have We Learned?
All of this is worthless if you aren’t interested in them — it’s a two-way street.
Of course, this will help with your romantic life, but the limits don’t stop there. These skills can make you feel more comfortable in all social situations. So making new friends, closing a sales deal, or impressing job interviewers are all benefits.
Grabbing someone’s attention is one thing; locking in their focus is another. People want to know how you can benefit their lives. So don’t give up.