I always teach my clients that in order to be noticed, you have to be noticeable.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to wear a purple top hat or a micro mini dress.  What it does mean is that if you literally or figuratively wear beige and stand in the back against the wall, people just won’t be aware that you exist.

The first thing that needs to happen is you to catch the other’s attention. Then you need to capitalize on it.

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Here are 6 ways to catch your mate’s attention and try and keep it, both online and offline.

Online:

1. Make Your Profile Feel Friendly, Not Just Informative

If you want to appear more friendly and approachable in-person, what do you do? You smile. You make eye contact. Right?

So, you have to try and do the same thing online if you want to talk to someone great. A simple way to achieve that is by smiling and letting people see your eyes (no sunglasses!) in your main profile picture. Also, don’t forget the power of words!

Did you know that men on Zoosk who use the word “listener” in their profile get 43% more messages? And, men on Zoosk who use the word “friendly” get 12% more messages?

So, think of honest and descriptive words, which will make other people want to strike up a conversation with you, and add them to your profile. Doing these two simple things will not only help you get more messages, it will help you get more replies as well!

2. Send More than Just a Monosyllabic First Message

If you’re on an online dating app, you likely receive a lot of messages every day (especially if you’re a pretty woman). So, sending someone a first message that’s not generic is not only smart, it’s necessary if you want to get noticed.

Saying, “Hey”, “hi”, or “sup” will not get you very far. In fact, did you know that just saying, “Hey” in a first message on Zoosk gets you 35% fewer messages? And, just saying, “What’s up” in a first message on Zoosk gets you 10% fewer messages?

I highly recommend that you take a few seconds and scan someone’s profile, and then comment on something you see in their profile or pictures.

For example, if you notice they have a lot of pictures of cake, you could say something witty like, “That’s the third cake you’ve posted to Instagram! Are you shooting to win the Great Bake-Off?”

So, if you really like someone’s profile, put a little thought and effort into your first message, and I promise, you will get more replies!

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3. Be Specific with Your Compliments

Compliments are an easy way to flirt with someone, but all compliments are not created equal. Avoid generic, overused, or corny compliments.

Did you know that using the word “cute” in a first message on Zoosk gets 24% less replies? And, using the word “beautiful” gets 20% less replies? So, try to be more specific with your compliments.

Instead of telling someone how beautiful you think they are or using a corny pickup line, try complimenting them on a specific  personality trait or something they wrote.

For example, you could say something like, “I love that you’re a traveler. I think a sense of adventure is such a fun and exciting quality to have.” Or, “I love that blue dress you have on in your picture. It reminds me of the ocean, which I love!”

In Real Life

1. Wear Something that Will Get You Noticed

Whether it’s wearing bright colors at night so you stand out in a sea of black, a cute t-shirt with a funny saying on it, or a beautiful accessory that’s hard to ignore, the way you dress is a surefire way to get people to pay attention to you and come up to you.

They’re also easy invitations for compliments and conversation.

So, before you go out, take some time and think about what you’re going to wear. Don’t just pick something you feel comfortable in, pick something that will make you stand out in a crowd and people can easily compliment you on.

You can even have fun with it. My friends and I would sometimes go to Salvation Army and have an “ugliest shirt we can find” night. People would love it and come talk to us all the time!

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2. Be Present; Be in the Moment

Today, everyone always seems to be on their smartphone, even at bars and clubs. If you’re trying to meet someone in real life, it is crucial that you put your phone away, and be present, be in the moment!

If your head is buried in your phone, you not only miss out on visual cues when someone checks you out, you appear busy or preoccupied, which makes you unapproachable.

Pretend like you’re at the movies and turn your phone off! You will be a lot more successful at meeting someone this way. And not to mention, you’ll likely have a better time because you’re actually enjoying yourself in the moment.

3. Listen & Ask Emotional Questions

Great conversation leads to great chemistry.  And the key to having a great conversation is two-fold–listening and asking engaging questions.

Please listen when the person you’re interested in is talking. There are multiple cues you can learn when you listen carefully, and you have a much better chance of asking better questions when you’re listening carefully.

Also, to make a better impression when you’re having a conversation, avoid asking obvious questions like, “What do you do,” or “Where are you from?”  Those are dry, logical questions.

Instead ask, “What assignment did you kick ass on recently at work,” or “What’s one of your favorite memories from childhood?” We all have fun and great things that have happened to us, but most people never ask about them! You’re sure to stand out this way.

So go forth and be productive!  Buy a red shirt, memorize a few emotional questions and responses, and make your profile sound more conversational.  Adjusting these few things can have a huge, and sometimes, lifelong effect!

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Hunt Ethridge is a Hoboken-based dating consultant and a fashion writer. Currently, he is the Senior Dating Coach at New York Dating Coach (www.newyorkdatingcoach.com).