First Impressions: Five Tips To Open Effectively

The topic of creating and maintaining interactions applies to many situations, in our personal and professional lives, but (as usual) this article will specifically address meeting women on the relationship side of things. Without a favourable (enough) response to initial communication, it can be difficult to develop a productive communication for any purpose, let alone building romantic connection with a member of the opposite sex. Below I have outlined my five main things to consider when “opening” to increase your chance of making the best impression.

  1. Heighten Situational Awareness

Making a preliminary assessment is of the utmost importance, particularly in cold approach situations where there’s less accurate knowledge of the existing circumstances prior to active communication. I often encourage spontaneity and expressing yourself “in the moment”, yet also believe in mindfully taking certain key factors into consideration, from an environmental and social standpoint.

For example, what is the appropriate behaviour for the environment? What are the social dynamics involved, regarding the people you’ll potentially meet and the woman you’re specifically interested in? What are people doing, what is their most likely state of mind?

Of course, you would rather be taking action than thinking too much… because that often leads to “analysis paralysis” taking over (for the more inexperienced folks). But as far as the initial meeting is concerned, you give yourself a big advantage (and less chance of potential problems/trouble) when you make an effort to properly calibrate your approach. Along with building confidence, acting despite fear and handling new or difficult situations, you must also become more socially savvy.

  1. Calibrate Persona and Energy

Extra awareness not only applies to opening, but should continue well beyond the approach and into the interaction. Gaining attention and leading the conversation is of primary importance, but to some degree, you also need to “fit” into their subjective reality for any chance of connecting and relating to each other. If you aren’t relevant enough, or are seen as a foreign entity from a totally different world (particularly with cold approach), then you probably won’t be “accepted”, even if there’s nothing necessarily wrong with your presentation and personality.

So after putting in the initial effort and managing to reach the “hook point” (becoming the focus of conversational investment), you have to build genuine rapport, actively seeking to understand and resonate with her “vibe”. This is done through various channels, such as mirroring body language and assuming familiarity (making a strange situation seem “normal” as possible), along with asking transitional questions that bridge the gap between opener and normal conversation. Most importantly however, is adapting and maintaining a persona that will allow her to feel safe and comfortable moving the interaction forward with you, which depends on the environment and gauging how she responded to your initial approach (whether to increase or decrease energy after the opener).

  1. Be Mindful of Body Language

Most communication is non-verbal, especially when meeting someone for the first time, because without prior communication/knowledge they have limited cues to form an accurate impression within a short time. You should always care about the quality of your words, but it’s equally important to recognise and effectively use your body language, tonality and timing – which can often be very revealing of one’s true personality and level of confidence when handling social situations.

In other words – no matter what you say, if you’re not physically presenting yourself properly from the beginning, there’s less chance you will be given the opportunity to hook and engage (moving past the opener into proper conversation), and therefore less chance you will get to know each other. And it’s more than just your appearance, it’s the attitude and self-belief behind the way you move, the way you speak, and generally seeming comfortable in relating to the opposite sex (a sense of healthy male entitlement that comes through experience).

Some common mistakes are: Not standing up straight (instead of assuming strong posture with a relaxed stance), speaking too quickly and fumbling over words (instead of breathing properly and controlling your pace), stifled facial expression (instead of smiling to help the other person relax), and looking around nervously (instead of controlling eye contact to create a more engaging a personal connection). Fortunately these can be easily recognised and corrected, even moreso from an external point of view, like when I’m coaching and providing immediate feedback.

  1. Minimise Self-Imposed Pressure

One of the main reasons people have difficulty approaching – awkwardly hesitating, making excuses and becoming nervous around the opposite sex – is the risk of failing to achieve a desired outcome. Whether it be properly initiating a romantic relationship, or even just “proving your worth” by gaining any ego-validating approval, men will often experience bad emotions upon failing to achieve immediate and sustainable success.

Which unfortunately makes their mindset and approach worse upon future attempts, in a downward spiral, sometimes to the point where they completely stop taking action, because they seemingly can’t even “get the ball rolling”. Opening is essentially the easiest part of the process (regardless of whether you “hook” them into further conversational investment), but you must understand there’s never a guarantee of success, even if you feel like you’ve made the best effort in the circumstances.

Therefore if merely approaching/opening causes you stress, a change of perspective is required – as long as you’ve taken the appropriate action, you are giving yourself an opportunity to meet and screen potential partners, which means no downside to failure and only an upside if you happen to “click” and something progresses further. Experience breeds comfort and familiarity, creating an upward spiral of self-belief and competence, which is how you ultimately succeed in maximising your “opening” potential from an inner game standpoint.

  1. Be Prepared to Continue

A common sticking point I frequently observe is men failing to continue their interaction with a woman beyond the opener, in situations where they have approached well and created good opportunities to confidently explore where things can progress. They are surprised things are so going well, confused about where to go next, and feel compelled to leave on a “high note” instead of taking risks and attempting to move things forward – in terms of deeper connection, escalating attraction and closing.

However, sometimes they don’t even realise how well things are going, greatly underestimating the level of interest and attraction they have managed to receive within a short time. This is particularly prominent with newbies, who have less experience with the opposite sex and therefore a lower sense of entitlement, unable to accept that a woman they like might also genuinely return the interest and give them attention (as opposed to a “natural” who takes it for granted and never questions it).

Overcoming this stifling behavioural pattern requires recognising it, removing ego, not making excuses and taking accountability your fear and lack of preparation. As you become more familiar with opening, encounter a variety of people and especially those you click with (mutual appreciation and intrigue), you need to continue working on developing other areas of your “game” beyond opening, instead of only focusing on the first (and technically easiest) part of the process, and resting on the validation of achieving that goal.

Once hooked, transitioning away from the opening topic/theme is usually the most effective means of changing gears and holding someone’s attention and engaging them more deeply, which should be done soon and smoothly as possible. Depending on the person and situation, they could be confused and “spooked” if you make any drastic moves without getting to know each other properly and building comfort first, especially if you’re not alone and there’s an immediate social pressure burden from their peers to contend with. Either way, exposure to different situations is crucial, and paying attention to the feedback, as long as you’re always making positive assumptions and giving her the “benefit of the doubt” to continue the interaction (unless there’s clearly no return interest or scope to generate it).

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