In online dating, first impressions are crucial: usually people focus on having a good photo or writing a clever profile. But have you ever thought about what kind of first impression you make by telephone? This is a tricky mating stage that comes after exchanging emails online, but prior to meeting face-to-face. What I’m seeing as a matchmaker in this new dating decade of 2010, is that many first dates never happen because the guy or girl had a negative impression of you via phone. Note that I used the word “impression” because it’s not about who you really are: it’s about someone stereotyping you before they get to know you, based on little things you might say, or not say, that usually don’t reflect who you are deep down. But not to worry! After interviewing more than 1,000 single men and women for my new book, “Have Him At Hello,” I have 9 tips to help you shine on the phone:
1. Use a Land Line: Try to speak on a land line whenever possible. There’s nothing more irritating than spotty reception and always saying, “What? Sorry I couldn’t hear you….”
2. Be aware of your tone: Always use a cheerful voice, even if something he says annoys you, or if you’ve had a bad day. People are drawn to an upbeat vibe.
3. Give intentional responses: If he says something vague such as “How are you?”, remember that is not an inquiry about your health or your mood. In the early stages of getting-to-know-you, everything you say is used to project what type of person you are. “How are you” is actually a Rorschach test! Use that vague question to give an intentional response, to share something about yourself that you deliberately want him to know. For example:
He says, “How are you?”
You say, “I’m great! I just returned from an exhilarating run in Central Park with my best friend from college.”
What does that tell him about you? It says you are fitness oriented (you run), you’re the type of person who has sustainable relationships (you’ve maintained a friend for 20 years since college), and you’re an energetic, positive person (I’m great! The run was exhilarating!).”
Obviously don’t make anything up (i.e., don’t say you went running if you really didn’t!), but proactively think of something positive about yourself that you want him to know whenever you are asked a mundane question.
4. Turn the tables (casually): Follow up your intentional response with a related question that lets him talk about himself, such as “So, do YOU run, or what kind of exercise do YOU like? “ or, “How about YOU, do you have an old friend you spend time with?“