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Pop the personal space bubble.

One reason Americans find mingling so difficult is that we socialize while encased in imaginary suits of armor—or at least with “Do not touch” signs hanging around our necks. A brisk handshake is as good as it gets. Yet body language is paramount when meeting new people, accounting for a vast majority of communication between you. Brief and disarming physical contact is a wonderful way to get past those barriers and make a connection: a handshake that lingers a moment longer than usual; or a hand on the shoulder or forearm to emphasize a point.