Cool in the Clutch
Sponsored by

How to Be the Coolest Guy in the Room

Sponsored by
Cool guys at the bar
Syda Productions/Shutterstock

Being cool isn't rocket science... but it is a science. Whether it's winning over the workplace, the basketball court, or the bar, it’s all about learning how other people tick. Get that knowledge with these tips and own any room you walk into. Except that Escape the Room-room. That puzzle is hard!

At work

Throw some candy on your desk
Having a tiny dish or mug with some sweets in it is a quick icebreaker, especially if you’re new, and especially if you stick a post it on it labeled “treat yo'self”.  It’s a decent conversation starter, unless you’re offering saltwater taffy and are content with effectively gluing someone’s mouth shut.
Need proof? A study showed that waiters who included candy or mints with the check got more tips. If a little sugary incentive can go a long way in terms of getting people to part with their hard-earned cash, imagine the effect it’ll have on Bruce in marketing.

Remember important names at the big networking event
Addressing someone by their name makes a positive and lasting impression on a person, especially during an initial meeting at say, an important networking event. It’s perfectly okay to ask questions like “your name was Mr. MoneyBags, right?”  Even if you get it wrong, it still shows that you cared enough to know, and you can always apologize.

Giving a big presentation? Project, don’t yell.
It’s called voice projection and using this technique while giving a presentation will ensure that the room is yours... or at the very least the people in the back won't scream "WHAT" in the middle of slide eight (it's a key slide). Project by taking a deep breath and using more air to carry the sound. Take time to fill your lungs instead of using shallow breaths.

Psych out
Jasminko Ibrakovic/Shutterstock

In the game room

Take your opponent out of their flow
If your sporting opponent is feeling the flow like he just nabbed star power on Rainbow Road, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to take his head out of the game. It's a seemingly innocent move that even Olympians are phased by: ask about your opponent's technique, or even compliment a move. Acting cool in the face of competition can psyche your opponent out and make it easier to win. This even works on teammates in a more friendly way. In Super Bowl XXIII, Joe Montana famously looked into the stands and told his whole offense, "Hey, isn't that John Candy?" right before The Drive that sealed the win. Hence the nickname "Joe Cool."

Meet the parents
Iakov Filimonov/Shutterstock

At your significant other's parents' house

Pay attention to their eye color
Those parents are definitely trying to guess whether you’re one of those people who collect other people’s baby teeth in a jar on the bedside table. When going in for the handshake, make direct eye contact; focusing on their eye-color will give you a few more seconds to establish the connection. You’ll come off as a likable, trustworthy, and confident person.

To boost confidence, assume a power pose
Why do you think the Queen’s Guard stands like that all day? Power pose. (That’s probably not why.) Studies show that taking up more space affects testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and helps you actually feel confident. They'll know you're no pushover and respect your commanding presence.

Mimic postures or expressions to show you’re in agreement
Mimicking allows you to form a better connection and greater understanding with the person you’re talking to; it will usually go unnoticed, but subconsciously make an impact on the other party. It’s especially helpful if you’re trying to sort out an argument, and make all sides feel accepted and understood. Like Oprah. Be more Oprahatic.

Use silence as an effective conversational tool
A moment of well-timed silence can steer a conversation in the direction you want it to go. Whether you’re on a first date getting to know someone, interviewing a potential employee, or trying to get her grandfather to reveal where he buried the priceless family heirlooms he saved during the fall of the Shah, the silence will compel them to continue talking.

Head honcho
Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

At the bar

Chatting someone up? Make yourself seem more valuable to pique their interest.
Look, when a person likes you, that’s it. You’ll know. But there’s really no harm in making yourself seem so in-demand that you can only meet at certain days or times... even if you’re really only eating pizza rolls in your sweat pants and watching Miami Vice with your cat for the rest of the week. It's called the scarcity principle and lots of pick up artist nerds love to use it as a cornerstone of their creepy ethos. That said, there's some truth to it -- just don't be a top-hatted jerk about it.

Trying to get in with a group at the bar? Identify the head honcho.
So proclaimed the daughters of House Spice “If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends.” You don’t have to be anyone’s lover, but if you want to make nice with a group of cool kids at the bar, you gotta get with the head cool kid. How? Identify the person everyone looks at when something funny happens, seeking reaction-based confirmation that yes, that '90s Will Ferrell reference was funny. That person is your target. Start a conversation, and if that person likes you, you're in the group.

Watch ya feet
ARENA Creative/Shutterstock

Want to talk to someone at the club? Watch the feet to know if you’re welcome.
Avoid a potentially embarrassing situation by being vigilant of the simple truth a pair of feet can reveal. Posture and facial expression are mannerisms seasoned in the art of courtesy and performance, but the legs and feet are good indicators of a person’s actual feelings on being approached, as feet usually point in the direction a person wants to go. If someone turns their torso towards you with their feet still firmly facing their original direction, they’re hoping this interaction won’t take long. Save yourself the trouble and know when to walk away. On the flip side, it’s an indicator of whether your charms are working.

House party
<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">John W. Iwanski/Flickr</a>

At home

Get everyone to come to your party -- just convince them everyone else is going
"Who else is going?" The eternal question about every party ever. We're not saying lie... but, yes, totally lie and just rattle off names of everyone else you invited. It's the concept of "social proof", in which people follow the crowd because they assume everyone else is making a good choice. This theory also explains the anguish of frosted tips that the ‘90s wrought upon the world.

Need a hand? A simple impersonal touch will increase the chances of your roommate doing you a favor.
If you’re going to ask a friend for help moving into your new apartment or setting up for a backyard barbecue, a light touch will incentivize someone to help you. According to an article originally published in The Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, the use of impersonal touch was found to be one of the most important factors in not only seeking compliance from someone of the same gender as you, but in getting help to complete a particularly difficult task.

Power tool

Win over your neighbors by asking them to do you a small favor
Yes, even if they hate you. Especially if they hate you. This is called the Ben Franklin effect, who wrote in his autobiography that “He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged." Franklin had a colleague who was never particularly nice to him, so he decided to rectify the issue and asked to borrow the guy’s book. They became bros after that.

Asking to borrow a power tool from your curmudgeon of a neighbor might in the future allow you to get away with the big stuff -- like throwing an all night rager and not having Mr. Next Door call the cops to break it up.