How to plan the perfect date

To me, as a branding expert, a date is like an event and it has a beginning, a middle, and an end.

  1. Set it up ahead of time with a nice ask and a plan. ‘Netflix and chill’ is great once you’re together, but a solid first date will set the tone for the entire experience. It can be spontaneous (like I just won tickets for a concert tonight!) but not crazy.
  2. If you’re a dude, be a gentleman. Even modern ladies like it if you try. Don’t be weird about it but offer to pick her up and drive. Many women will decline (they want to meet in a safe place, with their own car) but it’s nice to ask and a no just means she’s careful.
  3. Keep the date light. Horror movies, dramatic plays, interpretive readings – those are great later. You want something that is both entertaining, but not overwhelmingly distracting. Food and drink seem to fit the bill for many people.
  4. Know when and how to end it. A great date could go all night, but the longer it goes, the more chances for the tone to change. Leave on a high note, keep everyone wanting more.
  5. Follow up. One perfect date with a dude that you don’t hear from for two weeks is no longer a perfect date. If you want the person to like you, stay engaged. If you can’t, say something.

And finally, goodnight kisses. Some people are all in at the get-go, some say no way no matter what. It is not a deal breaker. But my suggestion to men and women is to try the kiss. I’m not saying throw yourself on someone but if after a couple hours you’re not even interested in a sweet goodnight kiss, it’s probably a pass.

I would love to chat more and you can reach me here or visit me on Facebook and send a private message.

Thanks for this question. It really helps me to understand where you are at and how I can help.

Coach JJ

Online Dating for Mature Singles

Dating has changed! We are in such a different place with technology and digital lives than we were even 10 years ago. Lots of us feel like digital natives (millennials who were born with all of this technology and grew up with it.)

Even if you are not a millennial – thank goodness, youth is wasted on the young! – you probably are well versed and immersed in technology. The internet of things and blah, blah, blah here we are mostly meeting and communicating with technology. Even older people are texting their significant other in the garage to come in for dinner. It’s here, it’s us, and yet there is an ugly side to it. We are immersed and struggling. It breaks down barriers yet creates distance. It makes us bold yet untrue to our best selves. It makes us feel overwhelmed, excited, excluded and important all at once.

So for dating, yeah it has changed.

Whole relationships are formed online.

My biggest worries are that it allows people to think, feel, and do 3 things:

  1. Move too fast
  2. Want too much
  3. Give too much

I say move too fast because instant and easy contact is not good for romance. It is true, distance makes the heart grow fonder. We are mysterious creatures and our ability to stay interested has decreased with our waning lack of attention. We are all a little ADD and it comes across in our attempts to forge relationships. I’m not a doctor and I am not a therapist, but all this instant access is taking a toll on our brains.

The second concern is that it makes us want too much. I received a list from a client with outlining her “perfect mate.” It was 50 bullet points. This guy was so perfect I told her that when we find him, make sure he has a brother because I will leave my great partner for him. It was as if Batman, Brad Pitt, and Einstein plus some poets and billionaires were melted into one man. It was a little ridiculous. The internet makes us think we can have it all, in an instant, with the click of a button. I blame Amazon. So as thinking, feeling humans, we need to understand where we are in this internet world and make conscious decisions.

So how is it different? We are different.

I would love to chat more and you can reach me here or visit me on Facebook and send a private message.

I help clients by using my digital marketing expertise to help guide their online presence – from photos to words, to the overall presentation to actual in-person events.

Coach JJ

How to project the right image when you are shy and uncomfortable opening up

The question came in like this: How can you help someone project the right image when they are shy and uncomfortable opening up to strangers?

For me, shy people are way easier to coach! They listen more intently and they often take the advice to heart. They have struggled with personal communications and they don’t want to go through the pain of rejection again.

Extroverts can be unruly. They are often good with people and super charming, so they think they’ve got it down. Unfortunately, they might not be looking at their own personal image or presentation so they may be missing issues that are sending potential dates the wrong way.

I know a very shy male who landed a super hot younger woman because he was kind and patient. I know an outgoing alpha-male who falls short in love because he cannot look at himself and how his words and actions are scaring off the thoughtful women that he craves.

Now, if a client panics and is seriously disabled when it comes to speaking with people, there might not be a big shift in their outcomes because dating, especially for men, takes courage and boldness. If you are always terrified, then this will never feel good.

I think the best way to overcome the fear is to discuss it, organize it, plan for it and then follow the steps.

I believe, however, that it is like stage fright and once a client is comfortable and has the stories in place, they can enjoy the process.

One note for shy men, unfortunately, women are still mostly expecting you to make the first serious move. Some will be bold but few want to do all the work. Plan for that.

I would love to chat more and you can reach me here or visit me on Facebook and send a private message.

I help clients by using my digital marketing expertise to help guide their online presence – from photos to words, to the overall presentation to actual in-person events.

Thanks for this question. It really helps me to understand where you are at and how I can help.

Coach JJ

Marketing tips to better promote yourself as a good dating prospect

I write about this very topic often because my entire practice is based on the idea that marketing tactics can improve dating.

Here are some basics that I tell everyone, but we certainly want to refine the tools for your individual needs.

Take better photos.

Absolutely no bathroom selfies after the age of 17. Seriously, you are an adult, have some class. I don’t care how young at heart you feel, we are just done with bathroom selfies.

Actually, you get only 2 selfies. The rest have to be real pictures.

Oh wait, you don’t have any real pictures? OK, then get off the dating site and go get a life and come back when you have at least one friend or family member who is willing to snap a photo of you. Or, if you live alone on an island, you can pay me to fly there and take some pictures.

Seriously, sarcasm aside, you need real photos. A profile with 6 selfies says so many sad things about you that I won’t get into here but it is often a symptom of why a client’s dating has gone so wrong.

Don’t go to great lengths to hide your flaws, specifically waistlines and hairlines. Dudes who are bald need to own it. Photos with 6 baseball caps do not hide the fact that you are bald. However, it does highlight the fact that you are insecure about it which is way more unattractive. Bald guys are hot. Love your gorgeous head. Don’t hide your body either by posting shoulders up only photos. Again, own it. If you cannot take a picture of yourself in the full (dressed up and cute and trying to be stylish of course) then maybe don’t even try. It’s horrible that you don’t feel attractive and I cry for you because you are lacking in self-esteem, but I am not your therapist. I am your image coach and I am here to tell you that your weight is going to be the first thing someone notices when you meet them.

Weight is a real issue and I want to be super sensitive to people who are struggling. Some people are totally happy with their bodies, big or small. I truly want that for every person on this planet. You may have been rejected in the past and I don’t want that to keep happening. Be real with yourself and we can make this a better experience.

I like bigger guys. I am tall and I am not super skinny so I need to feel a man holding me. My best friend likes super skinny (like rocker skinny) dudes. I say, ooh la la and she says ooh gross to the same man as he walks by. Everyone likes something different. Let’s work with the positives and get away from the shame and blame game.

McDonald’s does not try to be a steakhouse. They are authentic. I approach dating in the same way.

Use words that count.

People want to be funny and clever in their posts, but your esoteric phrase or quote likely does not come across well. Your two-word bio is not funny or cute. It tells the world that you cannot spend the time to write something meaningful and that you either believe you are not worth the effort or that your potential mate is not worth the effort. Both are unattractive.

If you can’t write something, ask friends, go online for suggestions, or hire a coach. I can help clients by using my digital marketing expertise to help guide their online presence – from photos to words, to the overall presentation to actual in-person events.

Thanks for this question. It really helps me to understand where you are at and how I can help.

Coach JJ

Dating Advice: Wealth and Dating

I received this question on my latest AMA (ask me anything) and not surprisingly, as concerns about money or financial status come up often when people start dating.

What do the wealthier men and women look for in their potential significant other? Is there something you see that is a trend, no matter where your client is from?

While we can’t really start labeling people as wealthy/not wealthy because it means so many different things to so many people, I think I know what people are asking and I will try to sort it out generally.

Yes, money matters in dating.

It is not all that matters, but it will come up in some manner and, as a single person, you need to have clear understandings about yourself, your needs, and your personal brand when it comes to mixing money and love.

Like in all branding and marketing, at some point we have to talk about money. (Bear with me, I know it is gross to mingle love and money in a dating conversation, but I am making a point.) Price is one of the Four Ps of marketing and people have been studying pricing since well before we read real textbooks in a classroom and went to libraries to do research.

When I think of wealth, I think of luxury (people can be luxurious too) and luxury brands know that their customer base has one of two things:

  1. More money to spend on their product or
  2. The need/want to choose to spend more money on their product.

For me, when it comes to coffee, Starbucks is a luxury brand. I get a medium-sized fancy drink for $7 bucks and I swear I can get nearly the exact same thing at the gas station for a dollar. It is questionable as to whether or not I can afford this habit. To me that is luxury, however, there are lots of people who make way more money than I do who wouldn’t go anywhere near a $7 coffee.

So wealth depends on vantage point, experience, and your place within the market. From a marketing research standpoint it can get really convoluted and confusing, so let me just be blunt:

  • Men care about how much money they make.
  • Women care about how much money they make.

Both men and women care about money. They care about their money and they care about their partners money.

However, in my experience, they care about it differently and it affects their dating differently. Generally, the more money, resources and disposable income a single person has and the greater their mindset is titled toward luxury, the more options they have in dating.

We see stereotypes all the time: Rich older men, with hot young girlfriends. The men might not be particularly handsome or charming, but the gals they want are easily attracted by having and being around nice things. These are not bad men, they just are using their resources to get what they want.

I find that wealthy (well-off, financially secure, rich – whatever you call it) men do two things:

  1. They use their money to date the women of their choice, and,
  2. They worry that they will not find someone who cares about them beyond their wealth.

I think men have it easier. Their fears are easily identified and rectified.

Women of means use their resources to date anyone they want (if she has a million bucks in the bank who cares if her hot neighbor is working part-time at the gas station.)

She also feels very independent if she worked hard and earned this money and therefore, makes it clear to the world that she doesn’t need a man.

What I have helped selective male friends with is to rely less on showing what they have or can buy and rely more on showing who they are. This naturally moves the fun-time gals out of the picture and leaves the women who truly care to know them left splashing around in the dating pool.

For my gal-pals I help them see that their independence can build a wall and why they can technically do it all, if they want a man in their life, they need to be able to allow themselves to be taken care of in some ways too. Men do not melt when you tell them off and let them know how much you do not need them. Men melt when, despite all of your accomplishments and worldly success, you still need them.

Money can get in the way of all of that, but it can also be a vantage point where we work together to get super real on who you are in the dating world and who you authentically want to attract.

I would love to chat more and you can reach me here or visit me on Facebook and send a private message.

I help clients by using my digital marketing expertise to help guide their online presence – from photos to words, to the overall presentation to actual in-person events.

So glad to have received this question. It really helps me to understand where you are at and how I can help.

Coach JJ

Dating Advice: How to Wow A Guy

Be who you say you are!

Your personal brand is what is driving men to ask you on dates, so be true to who you are and be true to what you present. Women need to show up looking like the pictures they posted online and they need to present themselves as described. It is important to be true to yourself when messaging and texting so that you can act like the gal you were when you were flirty, funny or sexy during the messaging stage.

Ben Skute, a writer for Fupping, shared my advice, along with several tips on how to wow a guy on the first date. In addition to being present, curious and fun, you need to make sure that you are living your online brand.

Do not set yourself up to fail by pretending to be overconfident, bold, wild or fun online and then clam up on the date. Know what you want ahead of time so you can steer the conversation and activities in that direction. If you know that sleeping over right away is not what you want, do not allude to it in the chatting phase and then shut things down when he goes in for the kiss at the end of the night.

Remember that the generally preferred outcome is a second date – so work backwards from your goal and create an experience that will get you to the next step. You do not have to interview your date to determine if he is The One. Your goal is to have fun and show him all of the things about you that your ideal mate will find irresistible.

Want more ideas on how to Date Better Tonight? Sign up for a 15-minute phone consultation using the Get Coached form and date better tonight!

Dating Advice: Branding for Daters

In Marketing, there is a myriad of tools and tactics at a professional’s disposal, to use as needed based on the situation, client, product or service. My hunch, and blame it on my MBA, is that these same tools and tactics can be overlaid or slightly modified to improve our dating lives.

When you launch a product or business, you have to plan on marketing that product to the appropriate target audience, because the goal is to build a brand that naturally resonates with customers.

Surprisingly that does not actually happen naturally.

It never happens overnight and it never happens in a vacuum. The most sublime, subtle, quite brands have expended tremendous energy, money, and creativity in cultivating their look and feel.

Why would you spend any less time cultivating your authentic self when looking for the love of your life?

I provide advice to anyone who wants to learn how our communications styles and skills are impacting our romantic lives in ways that we rarely notice. Your pictures, your social media posts, your texts tell a story – whether you are dating online or simply socializing with friends in the digital world.  And as callous and brash and cold as that sounds, we have to understand that we live in a visual, technology-driven world. Even though our relationship happens in real life, the first connections, introductions, and conversations will most likely start on a digital platform and that experience will form the basis of that relationship.

If you can master the art and science of cultivating your authentic self and your most sincere desires online, you will increase your shot at being lucky in love.

The theory is this: the strategies and tactics that I have used for 25 years (I’m older than I look) in marketing positions, can be tweaked slightly to address our personal communications and interactions.

There is a ton of information on personal branding and image available online. We seem to be doing a great job of managing our personal brands in our work lives. We update Linkedin, we Tweet, we write blog posts.

Something happens when it comes to finding a mate. We want the rules of nature to take over and our perfect partner to drop out of the sky and appear before us.

Good luck with that!

But this is not about marketing yourself up. This is not putting lipstick on a pig and calling it a peacock.

When clients call and ask me to write a press release that clearly states or claims something untrue or even simply unverifiable, I call bullshit. I counsel and chat and cajole until they understand that full frontal honesty is the best approach. We might put a fig leaf over that full frontal but authenticity is key.

So when you apply the principles of branding and marketing to dating, it is about authentically presenting your best self in a way that will likely attract your best partner.

I see it over and over again with my friends and clients.

They post that they are athletic. They post this because they want to meet an athletic mate or they think that athleticism will be attractive to their best mate. Then they bitch because all their dates want to do is meet at the gym. So maybe we use different words to describe their interests and needs.

People are not helpless in finding love. Below is a list of marketing tactics and how to use them to improve your dating life.

Images Rule

This is a big one in marketing and in dating. A lot of time and effort needs to go into selecting the photos that you use. The goal is to go for maximum impact, not necessarily the best photo or the most staged photo. I work with clients on photos first because often what people think their photo is saying is not what it is saying.

Use Emotion

Some people turn into robots when they feel awkward so the idea of being emotional with a stranger online seems ridiculous. To date better, you need to find things that you are emotional about and highlight them in your profile and communications. Use the word LOVE! Show your passionate side. Yes, sex sells, but don’t go that route. Try sprinkling your communications with emotion instead.

People date for obvious reasons: love, fun, companionship, sex. But there are other attributes that a partner may need to bring to a person’s life. A relationship goal (no matter how subconscious it may be) might include having a better social life, being more respected by family and friends or being compatible with married friends. You need to tap into those hidden desires to connect emotionally with potential partners.

Use The Right Words

If you want to be viewed as sexy, use the word sexy. Words like authentic, loyal and kind frame you in the suitors’ eyes. But some are overused – like isn’t everyone online “honest.” Try to frame your dating story with different words that help to tell your story.

Don’t just tell people you are nice, use words that explain what is unique about you. And use the right words to explain what you want. If a woman tells her dates that she loves funny, honest men and then tells her date that she likes how he makes her laugh and how genuine he is with her, then he will work harder to be funny and honest. He will associate himself with the good things that she said. Which is why we never talk about negatives on dates and we always frame our desires in the positive.

Address Flaws

This is a common sales trick that actually works! Highlighting your flaws and embracing them and knowing that you are worthy and valuable and lovable in spite of or even because of your flaws is very alluring. When you are thinking about your profile and the words that you will write do not try to sound too perfect. Be perfectly you. If you often forget people’s names then admit that and include something that you do well. This will lead to the next suggestion…

Defeat the Competition

Ideally, you have set things up so well that when you meet your soulmate, technically there won’t be any competition because they will only see you and no one else, but until then, you have to frame yourself against all of the potential daters out there. Addressing your flaws can help you work up to what gives you greater value. The key to this type of psychological marketing is that professionals do not simply stand on the rooftops and shout their flaws and unique selling propositions to anyone who passes. No, no, no. Successful marketing is based on research, data collection, and a keen understanding of the customer. In dating, if you want to score a high-value partner, then you need to know what attributes they value and be sure that you can compete in that category.

Provide Exclusivity

This is one of my favorites! If you will date anyone, anytime, then no one is really going to try very hard to date you. It may seem old-fashioned, but being easy (I do not mean in a sexual way, but in any way) makes you disposable. I have seen this in both men and women and it simply backfires. There is such a thing as being too nice and too available at the beginning of a relationship. If you are busy and have several dates per month, your suitors (the real ones that are really interested) will step up to claim their prize. Now, this can backfire horribly if you get anywhere close to bragging, threatening, or withholding, so it better be real and be authentically you.

This is where you might want to include some Social Proof as well. When you are casually dating, it is ok to talk positively about your dates. If you are genuinely sharing your fun stories, it can make you more datable.

Inaction Consequences, Impulse Buys & Loss Aversion

More marketing terms, but basically, FOMO (fear of missing out) is real! That’s why ads are constantly screaming ‘Limited Time Only’ or ‘Ending Soon.’ While it is hard to put a timeline on love, it is beneficial to create a sense of urgency for the people who are pursuing you. If you say that you won’t wait around for a person, then you better be able to stick to that. Consumers want to find pleasure and avoid pain. Those are everyone’s guiding principles. You can move your dating life forward faster if dating you provides pleasure for your partner and the thought of losing you provides pain. It is motivation on both ends. And we see this in the happiest couples: They love being together and they freely admit that their lives would be horrible without the other.

We are also impulsive creatures. We think that we are quite sophisticated, but all that candy in the check out lane is there for a reason: It sells! People cannot pass up a good deal. If you give someone a chance to chat now, they will likely take it on impulse. And while marketing is often about Scarcity, this concept in dating can work too. Potential partners need to know that you won’t be hanging out for months hoping to get their attention. That’s why I tell clients to shut off their dating apps once in a while. Take a break. Let people miss you a little bit.

The Power of Yes!

Marketers are always trying to get small yesses. Yes, you can have my email. Yes, you can send me your newsletter. Yes, I will follow you on social media. They know that a string of small yesses will more likely lead to a big yes! Say ‘yes’ as often as possible. Even if you’re going to shift the conversation, start with a Yes!

If your dates askes, ‘Can we have dinner on Thursday at 5:30 pm’ but you know you are not available, say: ‘Yes, I would love to have dinner with you. However, I have a late work meeting, can we meet at 8 pm.’

Your date will be thrilled that they got the yes.

Sources:
https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/282071
https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/251823
https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/psychology-marketers-revealing-principles-human-behavior

Dating Advice: 100 Bad Dates

100 bad dates? That doesn’t sound encouraging, does it? If you’ll read a bit more, you will understand why I start with that phrase and how it grew to organically form the basis of my dating image advice.

I am a media and public relations expert by trade and for years my friends and I (guys and girls) have applied my marketing, branding, media and communications experience to our dating lives. We have lots of stories! We call them Cock Tales. It has been a rollercoaster of marriages, divorces, affairs, break-ups, heartbreak, love, laughter, fun, great sex, horrible sex, silly sex, and lots and lots of first dates. My advice has always been based on my business experience in working for public relations firms, for corporate communications teams, and in consulting with over 100 small business clients. (more…)