In the research I have done on Conor McGregor some time ago I came across a few interesting traits and moves that he plays to position himself as the most dominant man in the room.
Here are a few of them:
Court attention at all costs says the 48 Laws of Power. You won’t be dominant at anything being the social wallflower of the situation.
You don’t want to exaggerate and come across as a narcissist hogging attention to feed a little ego. That’s weak. But you do want to stand out in a positive way.
Great posture, above average grooming, taking up space, looking comfortable, nice fitting clothes, speaking up are all positive elements of standing out. Conor McGregor uses all of them.
Lead – And Follow Shrewdly
Dominance, authority positions and leadership are not the same thing, but there’s a certain overlap.
Here’s the thing though: nobody can lead or dominate all the times, and while “leading” is an abundantly discussed topic, “following” astutely is probably even more important and much less understood.
Holding your own when someone tries to dominate you or when you have no other choice to follow or yield territory is what differentiate the very top value men from the rest.
Usually, you do it by assessing quickly whether or not you can avoid following, avoid obeying or can successfully negotiate a better outcome.
When you can’t, the focus is minimizing the social impact of being a follower while keeping your composure. A few guidelines for doing so effectively:
- Beat Him To The Punch: do what you’re supposed to do before being asked to-;
- Lead Back: Lead in other smaller area. The waiter was rough telling you to move out of the way so he can serve the drinks? Move and then chaperone him with an hand on his arm while saying “this way please”
- Objectify Him: remain cold and detached, don’t say sorry, look at him in the eyes, never smile as if he were an object -McGregor does it in the video below-
- Thank Him: Might seem counteractive, but “thank you” is a powerful way of framing the interaction as if he’s done a pleasure for you. Cop made you walk all the way back because you crossed the crime scene? “Thank you for keeping our streets safe for us”
- Clooney standing up before being asked
- Clooney inviting Terry to sit while patting him on the back, as if he were leading him to sit
Dominance is mostly conveyed by nonverbal. Here are two examples from Conor McGregor video:
Nod Up, Not Down
Nodding down, what 98% of the people do, is a sign of submissiveness.
Do nod down when you want to show yourself as non-threatening -ie.: meeting a woman at night-. But don’t down in neutral situations where there’s no need for submissiveness and never in the presence of anyone trying to intimidate you.
Try to look at this interview at 2x speed only focusing on the interviewer and it will really hit home -it’s painful, I know, but you can do it :)-
Splayed Legs & Arms Swinging
Splayed legs and arms swinging are popular signs of confidence. Conon McGregor does it bit too theatrically maybe. James Bond has a less showy and more purposeful-looking walk. Skip at 23 seconds:
Ask For Investment
It does not have to be in a bad way, but dominance certainly entails getting people to change their stance for you or doing something for you. And science tell us that the more people do for you, the more they feel you deserve it.
If you never do, try asking more from the people around you. As a guy who was in the habit of “always doing things on his own” I can tell you it’s very likely you will find many who are glad of doing something more for you.
By the same token, you should avoid any unreasonable investment others demand of you.
For example some weeks ago at a bar a woman sitting with a man motioned me to go over at their table. What did she want? It looked like she wanted me to join them for a drink. I was curious, but at the same time beckoning someone you don’t know is a major request to make. Those kind of requests, you never comply to.
Girls: (gesturing to go over) Can you please take our pictures?”
You: (smirking) I wish I could but my hand shakes
Read here how to decline picture requests.
Imposing Your Will
Dominance entails the possibility of imposing one’s will over the environment and the people around, and it’s divided in three categories:
- Actual Power
Actual Power doesn’t mean you will impose on others no matter what but it does mean you could impose your will. An enlightened monarch is as dominant -if not more- than an unjust despot. But the enlightened one can equally impose his will, or he wouldn’t be a monarch.
- Behavioral Power
You might not overpower your opponent but you behave as if you can always have your say and you’re not afraid of getting your hands dirty. Even at the risk of losing out. It’s actually more impressive when a weaker party steps up to the plate.
- Mental Power
We human beings tend to act dominant when we’ve got people on our side and when we feel our opinions will be accepted. But real domination starts within yourself. And it means you’ve got the mental power of sticking to your values and standing for what you believe is right, no matter the environment around you.
The actual power of imposing one’s will can be the dark side which gives the noun “dominance” a bad reputation.
It’s then up to each one of us to dominate for good. Jesus for example was heroically dominant when he stepped in and uttered the famous words “let him who’s without sin cast the first stone“.
Center of Attention
You don’t (necessarily) seek attention, but people seek your attention because your opinion matters.
How To be Dominant: Summary
How to becoming more dominant is less a matter of physical signals as it’s a matter of the beliefs and confidence underpinning those signals.
Dominance can be used for having a positive and net value impact in the world, or it can be used to dominate people out of selfishness.
The latter is when you should step in and stand up. And the more you learn about Power Moves, the more you’ll be able to.
Try Hard Warning:
McGregor’s way of dominance is often a bit juvenile. Overplaying all these traits can easily make you come across as try hard and a bit childish.
A stronger, more powerful way of showing dominance is that of the Godfather, for example. See here quieter dominance style: The Godfather.