How to be charming

There’s no formula for charm, but there are a few pointers you can follow. Television life coach Jeremy Milnes shares his tips for being an utterly charming date.

Use compliments
Compliments have to be genuine and sincere, and less is more. Use them fairly sparingly because if you overdo it they become insincere, especially if you’ve only known the person for ten minutes.
The best compliments are based on something your date has said or something they’re wearing, rather than something slightly abstract. Comparing someone to an angel, for example, means nothing. But complimenting them on the way they speak or something they’ve done will make a difference.
If you’re paid a compliment, accept it graciously. ‘What a lovely thing to say,’ is better than, ‘You don’t mean that for a moment’ – which might sound either like you’re lacking in self-confidence, or that you’re fishing for more compliments… depending on your tone of voice.

Smile
Never underestimate the importance of a well placed smile. You can meet someone who’s a little bit frosty and if you say something with a smile, their attitude just lifts.
And it’s good to joke and demonstrate your humour, as we’d much rather spend our time with sunshine people and people who make us feel good. But beware: if you’re making too many jokes, you’re not letting the other person into your world.

Body language
If there’s some chemistry between you, there are few basic must-dos. My favourite is the ‘sticky toffee’ eyes, when you hold their eye contact a little bit longer than you should, then when you look away it’s slightly prolonged too, and then you look again. That shows you’re interested. Slightly leaning in is good too.
Don’t be all over them but just slightly move into their personal space. It’s just saying, ‘I want to be a bit nearer to you’. The other thing is the touch. If your date says something you like, you can say, ‘That’s a fantastic story,’ and touch them gently on the arm. I think this is ok if the other signs have been good. It’s all about reading it; if you try it once and you feel the other person resist then you probably shouldn’t do it again. But if they giggle or reciprocate or lean in, then you know things are going pretty well.

Conversation
On a first or second date you should avoid the quicksand topics that could drag the whole thing down. So don’t talk about horrible illnesses or diseases, breaks-ups and exes, religion and politics, or death and bereavement. Choose upbeat flirtatious topics instead such as your date’s hobbies and interests, the things you have in common, food, films, holidays and clothes. If you say, ‘That’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to go! That must have been amazing,’ the subtext is, ‘What a great person you are to have done something so exciting.’ The language you use has to be sprinkled fairly generously with the right kind of adjectives that make that person feel like they’re special. That’s all part of the charm.

Questions
Questions open up a lot of doors but you don’t want your date to walk away and feel like they’ve been interrogated by MI5. You can show your interest in someone by asking questions but can also use them as leaders for you to become part of the conversation and to share your experiences and opinions and thoughts and ideas.

Remember things
I refer to certain things people might say as ‘iceberg statements’. It’s when you listen to what somebody says and you know that what they’re saying is the tip of the iceberg and there’s a lot more they want to tell you about it. So, if there’s one of these on your first date, remember to bring it up again on your second or third date. Say to them: ‘You know what you said about X, what did you mean by that as I’ve been thinking about it.’ It’s incredibly charming because the subtext is: ‘You went out with me and listened to what I had to say, and now you want to use it to find out more about me.’