- Blinking too often
Blinking is a natural movement that is a biological function of the human body. Fish never blink. But humans blink millions of times every day. However, blinking has acquired a social symbolism that conveys uncertainty. So if you have this nervous habit while talking with others, you are telling them you are nervous. This gives the other person the upper hand, since they can read your emotions.
- Saying You know? …or Uh! …every third word
Here is another habit, but we might add the prefix dirty. People use You know? Because they intuitively believe that this makes a connection with the other person. In fact, the less the other person appears to be listening the more the speaker might use this phrase. Also, the less the other person appears to respect the speaker, the more the speak will lean on it as well. This is a self-destructive approach, since it undermines the speaker’s credibility, the more they use such phrases in their speaking patterns.
- Lack of eye contact
Many people rarely look the person they are speaking to in the eyes. It is often a subconscious habit that is intended to send the signal of deference to the other person’s importance. However, this has acquired the same social symbolism as blinking. You are either weak or lying if you cannot bring yourself to look in the eyes of the person you are speaking to. At least, you are guilty of something.
- Too much eye contact
The person who glares into your eyes the whole time you are speaking together, makes you understandably unnerved. Try to give the other person a break from your exaggerated interest, by looking away occasionally.
Some people have a particular way of fidgeting they are fond of. It might be relaxing to you, but it most likely will drive the other person mad. It distracts the other person’s thoughts, weakening their reasoning processes. If this is your goal, then go for it!
- Talking too much
When a person gets very nervous they may talk too much to create a diversion. Nothing drives people madder than a person who won’t shut up. Force yourself to create sections of silence in your speech. Tell yourself that you will just sit there and enjoy with the other person the weather or the women walking by or whatever you can find to make yourself shut your trap a little while.
- Talking too little
There are people who do not talk enough. They are a wall flower in a conversation. This gives the impression that you have no professional power and certainly have achieved nothing interesting to bring to the table. Prepare for these situations by thinking of generic things you can say in any conversation. Make sure they are interesting and relevant or at least general enough to fit in many situational contexts.
- Not asking enough questions
There are those who will talk and never ask questions of the other person. Asking questions conveys the social symbol of interest. It tells the other person they are valuable, because you are interested in them.
- Lack of small talk
Small talk is not so scary. Just say something about a topic that is rather meaningless and there you have it: a sports game, the weather, service at the coffee shop, etc…
- Beating around the bush too much
A habit that drives other people bananas is never getting to the point. We accuse older people of this failure, but too many people of all ages are unfocused in their thoughts. Practice focusing in on one topic and one statement that you want to express. Get it out FIRST and then add supporting elements to persuade or explain or whatever your purpose is.