If you want a seat on an overbooked plane, access to a closed part of a museum, or to be able to convince a bouncer to let you into a packed club, adopt the ""kindly brontosaurus pose."
You must stand quietly and lean forward slightly, hands loosely clasped in a faintly prayerful arrangement. You will be in the gate agent's peripheral vision—close enough that he can't escape your presence, not so close that you're crowding him—but you must keep your eyes fixed placidly on the agent's face at all times. Assemble your features in an understanding, even beatific expression. Do not speak unless asked a question. Whenever the gate agent says anything, whether to you or other would-be passengers, you must nod empathically.
Continue as above until the gate agent gives you your seat number. The Kindly Brontosaurus always gets a seat number.
Why does it work?
"The body language of the Kindly Brontosaurus is respectful and nonthreatening," [body language expert Dr. Lillian Glass says]. "There's a humility, so you allow the other person to feel empowered. Since you've made them feel like king of the jungle, they're more receptive to you."