Attraction Infractions: Seven Ways We Tank Our Interactions in the First Seven Seconds

I took sales job when I was 28 years old. Calling on small businesses, ice cold, commission only.

The Mission: 25 face-to-face walk ins a day; 25 more follow up phone calls each afternoon.

It took me three months to make my first sale. Quota was two/week. 

Slow learner.

I made less than $10,000 that year. Despite working very hard, and suffered mightily in the process.

What went wrong, you may ask, what was it? Well, my manager had no clue.

Obviously, I didn’t either.

So we kept working on what I was saying. Scripts and the like.

Nope. Common mistake–and the reason most sales trainings are worthless. 

What you say amounts to about 7%. The rest is non-verbal and tonality. Tattoo that on your forearm.

Let’s be clear: I wasn’t abused. People were in fact quite kind to me.

They just weren’t about to follow the lead of someone whose body was instructing them not to.

As it turns out, countless Attraction Infractions were going on beneath the surface, killing my chances before they even started. 

With the benefit of twenty years of hindsight, today I know exactly what went wrong.

Here there are, in no particular order. Beginning Today….put them to work on the playground of your life.

Steer clear of these seven deadly sins….and you will immediately begin to notice your personal interactions improve in every single area of your life.

1.  Averting your Eyes.  Looking down, looking away several times during an interaction sends out a hurricane-like message that says I am doubting myself, I am uncertain. Nothing wrong with being a little uncertain from time to time, unless you want to influence people; they’re receiving a conflicting signal that they themselves won’t fully understand.

Translation: They’ll need to think about it. Several years later a teacher brought this to my attention—and it took a lot of practice to correct, so I know it was bad. 

Instead: Eyes! Always hold the Eyes! (RIP Mr. Miyagi)

2.  Rushing into an Introduction. In my early days, I was real big on the handshake and business card. As if by shaking hands we entered into some sort of unspoken professional pact. Quite the opposite. It conveys a neediness to be accepted, an heir of mechanical formality that says “I am not comfortable just being me, and in the moment.” Low value, kills attraction.

Instead: Hold off on the intro. Be natural and spontaneous, banter, and smile.

3.   Slouching Broadcasts Submission. It’s a combination of shoulder placement, chin angle, and overall posture. People notice this and interpret it from a country mile. Remember, I was 6’2” 155 lbs. Like a bean pole. But that wasn’t the problem. I hunched forward, I leaned down to talk to shorter people. I bounced when I walked, and my head jutted forward instead of straight up. Often with a flat, tense expression on my face. 

Instead: Lean back on your heels, and lift your rib cage up. Shoulders back and down, back straight, keep your chin up. And SMILE!

4.   Having an Agenda. When someone is approaching you at a gas station and wants something, you can tell inside of three seconds, right? When a nervous salesperson walks in the door, he wants something. His agenda is loud and clear. Notice the agendas you unknowingly bring into an interaction. Covert agenda is the essence of what it means to be inauthentic. 

Instead: Be authentic, connect. Put your agenda aside and focus entirely on the person in front of you. Appreciate them. See what unfolds.

5.   Speaking Quietly conveys a lack of conviction, belief, and certainty.

Instead: People who are confident, dominant and influential have a particular quality to their voice. They’re not all that concerned with what other people think. They speak in bold, assertive yet respectful tones.

6.   Being Outcome Dependent. This means you really really want the interaction to go a certain way.  When you’re attached to it unfolding a certain way, you convey a neediness to get your way. You become inflexible. Your attention is fixed. Thus, you’re immediately at a disadvantage. Worse, you miss unexpected opportunities that present themselves. 

Instead: Be in the moment and flow with what comes up. Keep your attention in the back of your mind, and be okay if it unfolds a little differently.

 7.   Vocal Tonality. Your voice is your most powerful instrument of influence. People like to listen to people who are pleasant to listen to. I used to play one note, maybe two. Monotone. Stuck in the throat. With the volume on three. When we’re under stress our vocal chords tighten, we forget to breathe, and our sentences all run together.

Instead: Variety is the spice of life. Volume, Pitch, Speed, Tone. Listen to your recorded voice greeting. Should be 30 seconds long and sound bright, authentic and like someone you’d want to meet.

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