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Manliness Trait: Treat The Speaker As The Most Important Person In The Room

17 July 2008 4 Comments

Imagine yourself at a seminar or company wide happy hour and you are engaged in a conversation with someone you just met. The person sips their beverage, fiddles the straw and/or napkin and tries to listen to what you have to say. They are doing their best to pay attention, but something just doesn’t feel right to you. Are they even listening?

You glance away for a moment and then back at them only to see them staring off into the distance at someone else. You attempt to make eye contact again, but it is feeling uncomfortable. They waive to the person they were looking at, shout a “hey” across the room, and are clearly not engaged with you.

You finish speaking and wait for their response. The person tries to pull a few sentences together that has something to do with what you were saying, but it’s clear they were either completely blowing you off or were simply waiting for you to shut up so they could tell you their opinion. It’s clear at this point; they were not listening and simply didn’t care to be in the conversation. They certainly didn’t make you feel like the most important person in the room.

Why treat them like they are the most important person in the room?

Having POWER is manliness. We lost our power in the previous conversation. Maybe we never got the chance, but if we did and did not capitalize on it, then we failed. If we got the chance to listen to what they had to say and didn’t make them feel as if they were on par with the leader of the free world, then we missed an opportunity at gaining extreme power.

Masculine men know that being interested instead of trying to be interesting is the source of gaining the power we never dreamed to have had. Combine this genuine interest with some very simple techniques to make that person feel extraordinary, and you have a good chance to move mountains.

Once you experience this level of power over other people (in a good way) you will never want to live without it. This power is a very strong elixir – especially to women. They can sense it much better than men and when the person they are speaking to (you!) makes them feel incredibly unbelievable about themselves, you better be prepared for it!

Having CONTROL is manliness. We also lost our control in the previous conversation. My guess is we never had it to begin with. Having control would have meant the other person (man or woman) would have never even thought to be looking somewhere else. They would have been completely inclined and obliged to listen to your every word and make certain they did not sound like a fool when it was their turn to speak.

Regardless if you are in a one-on-one conversation or in a small group of people or in a conference room full of colleagues, the person speaking has control. Giving up control to them for their “moment”, and more importantly, communicating to them non-verbally that you respect them to the hilt, allows you free reign when it is your turn. Making what they say seem the most important thing at that moment, reinforces you as a person they not only want to meet, but HAVE to get to know. Now that is control.

Having RESPECT is manliness. For men, respect so very important to us, it is borders on insane. Oftentimes, we demand respect, but have not earned it. Another Manliness Trait says that we should respect everyone until they give us a reason not to, but the other person may not buy into our manliness ideals. Therefore we have to earn their respect.

Propping that person up on a pedestal is the equivalent of telling them they are godlike. Making them believe, at that moment, there is nothing else you would rather be doing, shows endearing and everlasting respect. They have no choice but to return the compliment.

How do we make them feel like they are the most important person in the room?

Make eye contact and don’t let go. John Paul DeJoria, founder and CEO of Paul Mitchell hair products, uses this like a master.  He is the best I have ever seen.  It may be uncomfortable at first, but then you know you are doing it right. When the person is speaking, don’t lose eye contact – ever. Feel free to look away when neither one of you is speaking, but only for a second to break the uncomfortable ness the other person will be experiencing by your ultimate confidence.

The other person may be a little overwhelmed by the attention they are getting as they will not be used to it, but don’t worry. That feeling of being overwhelmed will soon change to complete attractiveness. This is how incredible, long-term relationships get started. And if you don’t want it to be a long-term relationship, then you don’t have to make it that way. Remember, you have gained incredible power and control over this situation.

Also, when you are speaking to them, if they decide to look away, stop speaking immediately! This will get their attention and remind them of important they are to your conversation. Again, this will be uncomfortable at first, but you want to let them know politely that you want their full attention. Keep the eye contact.

Acknowledge their efforts with positive reinforcement. When in a small group or one-on-one, this is much easier. You simply nod and smile at opportune moments to let them know how engaged you have become in their story. Every once in a while, throw in a genuine laugh when they are trying to make a funny. I know, this is difficult when you are speaking to someone without a sense of humor. A little hint is to put in your mind something very fresh and very funny. Hold that funny for just the right moment and have fun with it. The real trick is to make sure it is genuine. If you can’t pull this one off, then leave it out!!!

In a large group where there is a speaker on stage, the way to let them know how amazing they are is to wait for them to look your way. When they do, you must put on a huge smile and make sure they know you are listening. Do this a few times and they will know you think they are meaningful. Again, be careful not to get too creepy with this one. If pulled off correctly, it works magic.

Promote their ideas to others.  When others approach and want to enter the conversation, this is your chance to show them how important they really are.  Tell the new folks how cool some of their ideas are and invite them into the conversation.  Don’t worry about getting lost in the mix, you have shown incredible manliness by having confidence in them.  Give them the opportunity to now lead the conversation or take a back seat – in either case, you have already made your mark and the impression will be cast in stone.


The most important aspect of this Manliness Trait is the fact this shows incredible leadership. You never know who you are speaking to and what type of influence they could have in your life. The other person just might end up being your future spouse. They might end up being your future boss. You simply don’t know.

But having this skill in your manliness toolchest is just one way to ensure you will get the most you can out of the experience. It also ensures you will never have to explain why you were not paying attention. The act of propping people up and giving them the kind of encouragement that attracts them to you, is an act of leadership that emotes power, control, and respect that is found in any leader.

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  • Hayden Tompkins said:

    This is EXACTLY why Bill Clinton does so well. It is a key component of charisma. Great post!

    Hayden Tompkinss last blog post..Have You Even Tried?

  • Kevin (author) said:

    That is so funny. I was debating put him in the post and decided against it. I loved him as a politician, but he lacked some qualities that I decided against it.

  • agoodhusband.net » Lucky Manival #13 said:

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  • Kyle said:

    About the eye contact, I’ve heard various things. Strong eye contact is important, but you don’t want it to look like you are creepy at the same time. Even though I am really paying attention to what the other person is saying and I hold strong eye contact, I don’t have a very expressive face so my eyes don’t tend to move much when I’m listening. All I do is make a few nods and smile, which I guess indirectly moves my eyes a bit. I just don’t want to seem creepy or that I’m looking too deep into their eyes. Someone once told me when talking to someone to look into their eyes for 7 seconds at a time, then look away for a second, then repeat. I’ve found this works fairly well. I just tend to get pretty uncomfortable when listening to a person and making too strong eye contact, like as if I’m creeping the other person out. Funny enough though, when I’m speaking to someone who demonstrates strong eye contact towards me, I always think they’re interested but not too interested as in being creepy. So I guess really I have nothing to worry about!

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