The man who appears to be the most poised and confident in a social setting always stands out. The rest of the people in the group assume him to be a natural leader.
Continually working on your personal development and actually being poised and confident in social settings is obviously what you want to do. What do you do, though, until you have that poise and confidence? What can you do right now when you acknowledge that you aren’t where you ultimately want to be?
Knowing exactly how you should act in different situations will automatically give you more poise and confidence. You’ll empower yourself with such a strong sense of comfort around other people that everyone can’t help but notice.
The crucial first step toward improving your leadership skills in public gatherings is to be aware of exactly how you currently present yourself. If you’re not presenting yourself the way you want, you must take corrective measures.
As you take your MANformation and transform into the man you really want to be, think about how you currently act and react in social situations. Then compare what you do to the characteristics and actions of the most powerful alpha male leaders.
The alpha male is always the first person to introduce himself and extend his hand for a handshake when meeting other people. That demonstrates supreme confidence. He is a leader and takes immediate action on that rapport-building, frame-setting measure. Make it your goal to always be the one to extend your hand first—and as far away from your body as possible so your handshake will be firm.
In group settings the alpha male never waits for other people to introduce themselves to him but takes the initiative, and he certainly doesn’t avoid the situation entirely. Passively waiting until the other person or someone you both know does the honors is no longer an option for you. Cautiously waiting around until what you consider is the “right time” is no longer acceptable. The right time is always now.
While being introduced to other people, the alpha male leader holds eye contact just slightly longer than the person he’s being introduced to. That’s another sign of confidence and strength. You never want to break eye contact first when establishing yourself as a leader, and you never want to quickly look downward after making eye contact with other people. Nor do you want to stare too long into the eyes of someone you’re meeting for the first time. Just make sure your eye contact is a split second longer than the other person’s.
The alpha male often shows confidence and comfort by firmly grabbing the upper arm of the other person with his nonshaking hand. That body language communicates warmth and personality and subconsciously establishes a relationship frame for the two people as to who the leader is.
In group settings the alpha male takes the initiative to introduce people who have never met. He assumes the role of a leader, never assuming they’ll eventually introduce themselves on their own. Make other people feel comfortable in social situations and break the ice for them. They’ll be grateful for your sense of awareness and concern for them.
When the alpha male leader walks to a certain place—like to a doorway—and gets there at the same time as another man, he confidently assumes that the other will yield. That point may challenge your beliefs about proper manners and decency, so let me give you a couple of real-world examples. Watch what happens when a lot of people are walking in both directions in an airport or shopping mall. Think about who yields the right-of-way to whom. The person who knows exactly where he is going, walks to get there in the more determined manner and has the more confident body language will always be given the right-of-way. That happens naturally without a lot of thought on either person’s part. Don’t rationalize that you’re just being “nice.” You’d never make it to the other side of an airport or shopping mall if leaders didn’t dictate traffic. Make sure you’re one of those leaders. Walk tall, confidently and proudly. Take charge. That’s also an awesome metaphor for how to conduct your life.
After giving a verbal, head or hand gesture, the alpha male leader will decide to let another person go first in the above situation. When it is appropriate to do so, he will put his firm hand on the other person’s back or upper shoulder and physically guide him—or her—to go first. Be a leader and dictate traffic. Never get caught in the awkward oh-no-you-go-first dance.
The alpha male leader takes responsibility for making decisions for the group during social situations. Someone must ultimately make the final decision on the restaurant or other meeting place. Someone will ultimately have to decide at what time the group will meet. A true leader willingly and gladly takes on those responsibilities—an index of leadership skill. Realize that not everyone is going to agree—and that’s fine with you. There will rarely be a unanimous choice no matter who makes the decision for the group. The overwhelming majority of people will appreciate your taking charge.
The alpha male leader sits at the head of the table during social gatherings. The leader of the group naturally gravitates to the head of the table. It just happens. You always want to be that person who demonstrates strength and confidence in this situation. When the alpha male leader isn’t the “top dog” at the social gathering, he will sit at the other head of the table.
The alpha male has impeccable table manners. Whether he was taught proper table manners as a child or took the initiative to learn them later in life, he demonstrates class and technique at the table. A quick Internet search to review your basic table manners before you go out on the town will do wonders for your confidence and comfort level. Consider old-fashioned, gentlemanly behavior like pulling out a woman’s chair, not sitting down until everyone else has and standing up when a woman returns to the table.
The alpha male makes quick decisions in all areas of his life—especially in social settings. There can’t be too many things more unattractive than a man who can’t make a simple decision in front of a group of people. Have you ever been in a group dinner and witnessed a man who just can’t decide what to eat? He holds up the entire table. He even asks the waiter or waitress to help him decide between fish, steak and chicken. If you’re going to err, do it on the side of ordering the wrong meal as opposed to looking indecisive. If you must, go online and look at the menu before you get to the restaurant.
The alpha male takes responsibility for the check getting paid at the end of the meal. It becomes very uncomfortable for everyone at the table when the check just sits there because no one wants to pick it up. Be a leader. Take the pressure and discomfort off of everyone else’s shoulders. I’m not suggesting you pay for the entire table. Be happy to be the person who divides the bill appropriately.
The alpha male has a special way of making other people feel good about themselves. He is genuinely more interested in other people’s lives than he is in being seen as interesting in other people’s eyes. He remembers names, recalls specific things about other people, smiles and makes warm eye contact. The more you feel comfortable and confident about yourself in social situations, the more you can gear your attention to other people as a true leader naturally does.
—Skip La Cour
Editor’s note: Six-time national-champion bodybuilder and success coach Skip La Cour is the creator of MANformation, a powerful personal-development and fitness program for men that is based on the qualities and actions of the world’s most powerful, influential and charismatic men. It is a structured series of alpha leadership strategies for transforming you into the man you really want to be. It doesn’t matter where you are in your life right now, what you have achieved so far or your age. The MANformation program will help you become a better version of you—step-by-step and one strategy at a time. To learn more about the MANformation personal-development program, visit www.MAN
formation.com. Sign up for the free weekly e-newsletter, and you’ll get a free alpha leadership e-book.