I have identified seven phases in an initial interaction. Depending on your goals, you might skip over or quickly go through one or more, but you should be aware of them and of what role they play in an interaction.
These are especially applicable when you goal is to “sell” something (a product or yourself) or to make a romantic connection.
We will refer to your counterpart in an interaction as your target.
Here is an overview and short explanation. I will go into more detail on other pages or posts.
Before you approach or speak with someone, he or she may notice you and gain a first impression. What you are doing, what you are wearing, how you are acting, or most importantly, interacting with others, can put you ahead – or behind!
Unless you are introduced to someone, you will want to approach him or her. How should you walk? What facial expression should you have on? This can determine whether your approach is welcome or will be resisted.
A very important phase. These are the first words you speak – and how you react to your target’s first response. Content can be important, but perhaps more important is how you deliver it (content, tone, body language, eye-contact). Your opening will make your target more – or less – receptive to your message.
The verbal interaction has now begun. Now you must interest your target in whatever you are “selling” – including yourself! People do not like being bored, so your target must have a reason to spend more and more of his/her time and attention on you. Once your target likes you enough, you can move to the next phase.
In this phase, you must encourage your target to trust you and what you are saying. Only then will your target confide in you and betray very important signals as to what he/she really wants or needs. There are many ways to achieve this. One way to for you to confide something yourself. When you show trust, you will receive it.
Your target likes you/your product, is interested and trusts you. Now you need to switch back to your “sales” mode. You cannot be afraid to apply some pressure – even if only to see how your target reacts. In this phase you are testing for reactions – and for what makes impact.
Now you make the final offer and you assume your target’s assent. Many techniques are available for this phase. Most important are any that communicates your internal conviction that what you are offering is exactly what your target wants.