Navigating through a large crowd is not as easy as it would seem. Wired’s how-to wiki presents several tactics for moving fluidly through crowds. Apparently the main trick is to look down, watching the feet of the people around you.
To get on autopilot, pedestrian-style, look down at the feet of the people around you. The head and torso are lagging indicators and often give you bad information with regards to the speed and direction people are traveling. All that information is in the feet.
- Don’t look directly forward. Your gaze is generally perpendicular to your body, usually 90 degrees. Reduce that angle, making it tighter as your space becomes more crowded.
- Be aware of how crowded your “personal zone” is — use a 6-foot radius as a rule of thumb. Less than six people isn’t too crowded, so move as you would normally, but watch people’s feet as they enter your zone.
- If there are six people within your zone, that’s a crowd and you should be looking down at all times. Gaze at the floor about 6 feet ahead.
- If there are 10 or more people in your zone, look almost straight down, between 1 and 2 feet ahead. At this density, you will be in full defensive mode, moving forward overall but tacking and spurting, slowing down and speeding up as you go.
- Evade, don’t invade. Change direction often to slip behind people rather than rushing to cut them off.