Q. I’m writing on behalf of my brother, because I know he’ll never ask for help himself.  He gets really nervous at the thought of approaching women.  Any suggestions for him?

A. What a supportive sister you are!
Anxiety is very common and can stop a guy from talking to a woman he’s attracted to-or flubbing the encounter if he does.  Here are five of the most effective ways to do it:

i) It starts non-verbally
The old story about eyes meeting across a crowded room is a classic for a reason.

Just about all communication begins non-verbally, and you can get a sense of whether a woman will be receptive to talking with you before walking over. Start by catching her eye and smiling; if she meets your gaze and smiles back, it’s likely an invitation to approach and get to know her better.

ii) Find on Site conversation-starters
If you see a woman you’d like to talk to, scan the area for something unusual that you can casually bring up to her. If a guy is acting ridiculously in the vicinity, for example, you could point to him and say, “Hey, you should really keep your boyfriend on a shorter leash!” You’ll likely get a laugh and have an inroad to further conversation.

iii) Make use of overheard comments
If you’re sitting within earshot of an interesting woman as she’s talking to friends, listen for key elements in the conversation. Use this information to your advantage. For example you could approach her and say something like, “Excuse me, I couldn’t help but overhear you talking about the World Cup … I’m a huge soccer fan!” If she responds positively, ask for her number. You’ll both know you already have something in common for your first date!

iv) Ask her opinion
Asking her opinion is a great way to get the conversation flowing to see if you’re compatible. An example might be, “Hey, I was just talking to a friend earlier today and he seems to think _______, but I don’t agree. What’s your take?”

v) Be genuine
Finally, the most important element of communication success is to be genuine. Be yourself! You want her to like you for you anyway, so bring out what’s cool about you as you’re talking and see if she responds. If she doesn’t, she’s probably not a good match anyway.

Jasbina is the founder and president of Intersections Match, the only personalized matchmaking and dating coaching firm serving singles of South Asian descent in the United States. She is also the host of Intersections Talk Radio. Jasbina@intersectionsmatch.com.

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