I am sure you know this, but it bears repeating: what we tell ourselves affects how we feel about ourselves. Our inner dialogue determines how comfortable we are in our skin and that in turn, determines how comfortable we are with others. If your inner dialogue is disruptive, unhelpful and negative, you’re going to be less comfortable and more guarded around other people. You’re not going to be the more engaging version of yourself that you want to be.
Charlie Houpert from Charisma on Command has six mindset shifts that I think will help you to be less guarded around others. In this tutorial vid, he makes the point…
When you get the mindsets firmly set in place, all of those things that are surface-level [tonality, eye-contact, etc.] tend to just flow easily.
Our minds — where our hopes and fears, thoughts and feelings, memories, wishes, ideas, and dreams live — is the birthplace of all our behaviors. We think, then act on those thoughts. So, managing our mind (and our mindset) is the first step to becoming more engaging.
Once you have the mindset down, you need to practice being present.
How do you do that?
I recommend that you pay attention to engaging people and take your cues from them. If you don’t know any IRL, check out interviews with celebs like Emilia Clark, Thandie Newton, and Tom Hanks.
You’ll notice that they are at ease with others. Their body language is open and they look people in the eye. They laugh easily and are quick to praise others. They don’t have a lot of affectations.
That’s all because they’re not in their heads.
Being more engaging then is about doing your mind management work beforehand, then when you’re in conversations, leaving your mind and being in your body.
Habits to help you be present
If you’re used to being in your head, you will need to retrain yourself. That’s where I come in! I have 7 habits that if you practice them, will help you get out of your head.
1. Believe in yourself.
If you want to have the type of presence that others find easy to be around, you must work out your insecurities. Insecurities often start with negative self-talk and worsen with poor self-comparisons, which your social media feed could be stoking them. Use resources like therapy, positive daily affirmations and read books like Conquer Your Critical Inner Voice. And keep in mind that everyone, especially those people showing off their ‘fabulous” lives on Instagram, has insecurities from time to time.
There is virtually no healthy habit that you want to form that meditation can’t help you with. Here, it helps you to be less critical and to stay out of your head.
3. Think well of others.
If you’re less critical of others and trust in their better angels, you’ll be less critical with yourself. And you’ll trust that others are not judging you.
4. Get out of the house.
If you have hobbies, you’ll have a passion to talk about. If you get out of the house and go to concerts and events, you’ll have other interesting things to talk about.
Interesting people know stuff. The more you read, the more you know and the more interesting you become to others. People will want to pick your brain and more likely to invite you in on conversations.
6. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Laugh at yourself and don’t take “embarrassing” moments seriously. Don’t pretend to be a wine connoisseur or botch the pronunciation of Balmain. It’s way cooler and will make you more likable if you ask/say: How do you pronounce it? If you say right when you meant left, it’s so much funnier (and lighten the mood) were you to say, My other right.
7. Dress well.
It’s such a no-brainer! You feel better (more relaxed and confident) when you look great and feel comfortable in what you’re wearing.
How can you tell whether these habits are working and if you’re becoming more engaging?
It’s simple really… You can tell your efforts are working when you don’t feel the need to try so hard. You’ll notice that your smile will be more natural. You’ll ask more interesting questions and won’t feel the need to interrupt others to make your point.