For many people, the mere idea of social situations and conversations through them into anxiety. Just the thoughts of beginning a conversation with a stranger, or co-worker, can bring out latent inferior feelings and lack of confidence.
I have gathered 5 tips to help you feel more confident when connecting with other people. Try to incorporate them in a situation that feels comfortable for you, and soon you will see yourself having confidence in conversations with more and varied people.
- Smile. Did you know that you cannot physically smile and still think negative thoughts? Try it. You don’t have to grin like a cat, or freeze a smile on your face,but do turn the corners of your lips up and look approachable.
- Approach someone standing or setting alone. Instead of focusing on your own feelings of anxiety, you can make a polite comment (May I join you?) introduce yourself (I am Judy H. Wright from Montana)
- Ask an open ended question that requires more than just a yes or no answer (tell me about where you grew up or what do you enjoy doing in your spare time) Asking questions is a great way of saying “I am interested in you. I want to get to know you.”
- Listen to the answers and talk about what the other person is interested in. During a conversation, you will get lots of clues about what the other person thinks is important. If it is someone that you don’t know, take a cue from what they are wearing. ask them about a ring or bracelet they are wearing, did they make it, was it a gift or maybe even does the stone has a significant meaning for them?
- Make sure your body languages is open and approachable instead of closed, defensive and off putting. Verbal communication is sharing of information and people only remember or respond to about 20%. Body language, tone of voice and facial expression are much more important and account for 80% of understanding. Non verbal language is the communication of relationships.
Listening carefully, asking good questions, making eye contact and smiling are all necessary to start and continue conversations. Don’t worry if occasionally there is a silence, just relax and another subject will come up naturally.
You may not always be at ease in social situations, but the more you practice and try, the more confident you will be in your ability to carry on conversations with anyone.
So smile and ask me some questions.
In friendship and gratitude,
Judy H. Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship author and keynote speaker
PS: be sure to check out http://www.encourageselfconfidence.com for a more detailed look at building self confidence.