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I've been with an Italian for almost five years and I'm ashamed to admit my language skills are still tipping towards sub-par. His family, all based in the lovely Tuscan town of Piombino, speak no English at all and, while my ear has improved visit over visit, I imagined that I would be much further along by now.
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You can't fight science and change neural signals generated by peoples' primitive brains that tell them whether they instantly like you, fear you, or just aren't sure about you. However, you can consciously manage the verbal and visual cues you send upon a first meeting that can turn the tide in your favour. Here's how.
When we meet someone for the first time, our primitive brain decides instantly whether the person is a potential ally, enemy or somewhere in between. Our minds are made up during the first critical seconds of visual contact. Too often, our instincts protect us unnecessarily by sending visual cues that say, "Stay away."
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I recently had to give a keynote speech at a university fundraising gala. I've given more talks than I could remember, but this time I was a bit nervous. I had no slide deck or notes to lean back against. It was just me baring my soul before the audience.
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No matter how successful we are in life, when you take away all the awards, recognition, money, or even fame, what makes us equals is that first five seconds you get when shaking someone's hand. So, the next time you go to extend your hand to someone else's, make it count.
Although we've all probably had to face the fear of public speaking at some point in our lives, it's hard to imagine why anyone would put themselves through the torture of sweaty palms, a fast beating heart, tunnel vision and a host of other side effects all in the name of delivering a message.
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Is this not what man-spreading is? Puffing up to take up more space and display some form of power and superiority? Why else would a man would choose to sit in on public transit in a way that exposes his most vulnerable body parts, open to potential contact with knees and parcels at the sudden jolt of an expected brake. If I were a man, I would protect my fragile spheres, not make them targets.
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As a speaker, how we say what we say is crucial to our success in moving our audience. So how do we make sure that when we take that all-important spot in front of the room, we can stay in control of ourselves, and of the audience's attention?
Researchers found there are two independent channels working together to enhance our engagement with these sudden looks. Without the movement, the gaze would not be as powerful. And the movement alone would not elicit the same response.
Gentlemen, if you're the type to make New Year's resolutions, make 2013 the year you take five simple steps to improve your image and make a better impression in the world. Without spending extra money, you can sharpen your image by following these simple steps, making for a more confident and memorable 2013.
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