We’ve all had an uncomfortable date (or can imagine it): long, awkward pause, feeling nervous, and not knowing what to say. This is because most of us have cut our teeth on data analysis and writing reports and polishing our ever-longer CVs rather than trimming the jargon from our rhetoric and learning to speak about our feelings.
Achieving emotional connection during a first date is less about having years of experience and more about delivering a clear and concise message talking about ONE thing you’re truly passionate about.
Happily, Ben Affleck, and the NGO he founded, can teach us all a few concrete tricks.
Here are 4 unexpected ways to achieve emotional connection during your first date:
1. Be concise (1:47).
Ben sums up his organisation’s activities and his multimillion-dollar fund in six words. Can you talk about what you do and your company’s mission using fewer than ten words? You can practise being concise by writing down your organisation’s/project’s activities on a sheet of paper, then cutting down words and revising your description until it’s a ten-word sentence in your own voice.
2. Use vocal emphasis to stress one proper noun (1:56-2:07).
Affleck uses the tonal depth of his voice – the one that made him a world-famous actor – to draw attention to the fact that his organisation works with locals in DR Congo. He doesn’t just call them locals, or indigenous people, or “the population on the ground;” he calls them Congolese, inspiring feelings of pride and respect for something larger than poverty or war: national unity. What population is key to the work you’re passionate about? And which adjectives would you use to describe them?
3. Talk about your heart breaking a little bit (2:47-3:02).
Your date will respond to feelings, not facts. And when Affleck talks about being an old man looking back on his life, he paints a picture with which nearly all of us can quick identify – the idea of getting old and wanting to have something that you did, that you were proud of having done. Think about how you can connect your hobbies/passions to a concept to which we can universally relate.
4. Tell your date why your dreams answer all of our questions about the meaning of life (3:11-3:14).
Because we all wake up in the morning thinking, today I want to laugh and hug someone and feel joy and then we go to bed at night wondering, is this all there is? But if you can connect us to something bigger, and at the same time, to each other, then there is no possibility that you will not receive the standing ovation that, in itself, connects any audience with itself and the presenter.
Your date wants to have a transformative experience by spending time with you. To fall in love with your vision of the world – and the possibility that you can take him along with you on the way to making it come true.
Think about the one action your passion represents, and how that makes life better – how your work can change people’s lives, one day at a time.