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The Complete Guide on How to Be More Outgoing

By Social Life Expert David Morin and Behavioral Scientist Viktor Sander

The Complete Guide on How to Be More Outgoing

CHAPTER 1

Becoming Great at Making Conversation

What You'll learn In This Chapter

  • How to start a conversation with anyone
  • How to keep an interesting conversation going
  • How to avoid awkward silence
  • How to use storytelling to connect with new friends

HOW TO START A CONVERSATION WITH ANYONE

Looking at this scheme, there are several factors that affect how comfortable we feel in social situations. They all affect each other - and that's good news.

If you for example improve your conversational skills, that will also help you feel more confident, as you will trust yourself in knowing what to say next.

You could ALSO do specific exercises to feel more confident in social situations, and then it would become easier to come up with things to say. In this course we will focus on both conversations AND confidence. Let's start off with the conversation.


Before we get started, I'd want to let you know that you also can watch my free 6-part video course on how to get the friends you want. In that course, you will learn how to become confident in a a conversation and what to say next when you're talking to someone you just met. Watch the video course here.


I will give you six universal questions that you can use almost every time you start talking to someone. I’ve designed these questions specifically to be as effective as possible for getting a smooth, interesting conversation going.

By memorizing the questions, you will always have a conversation to fall back on. That will in itself make you feel more confident when talking to someone you just met.

IMPORTANT

  • In between the questions the conversation might take off in any direction - and that’s a good thing. But whenever it’s running dry, you can go back to the next universal question.
  • You shouldn’t fire these questions off as in an interview, but see them as something to come back to. In between them, you will answer the other person’s questions and tell things about yourself whenever it feels natural.
  • Questions used in examples like these might sound corny when you read them. That’s often simply because they are read in a different voice than they are intended for. Imagine them being spoken in a relaxed, casual way.

CONVERSATION QUESTIONS

When I start talking to someone, I obviously first present myself:

- Hi, I’m David. How are you doing?

Starting off from the first line, I'm keeping the conversation simple. The simpler you keep the initial conversation, the better it will flow, because it decreases the risk of pauses and awkward silence.

A common mistake people do is trying to come up with something clever to say already in the initial conversation. However, an interesting conversation is not created through smart comments; it’s created by talking about something you both enjoy discussing. And that is what these questions are designed to create. Let’s continue!

- How do you know people here?

This question can be used in most situations where you meet strangers. Let them explain how they know people and ask follow-up questions relevant to what they're saying. This question is designed to help gradually transition into a more personal conversation, as it obviously would feel weird to start talking about personal stuff the first thing you do.

- Where are you from?

This is a good question because it’s easy for the other person to answer and talk about. It’s useful even if the person is from the same town - you can talk about where in town and what it’s like living there. Perhaps you have something in common that you can both relate to about the area.

- Do you work/study?

I ask about either work or studies depending on how old the person is.

Some say that you shouldn’t talk about work with people you just met. And I agree that it’s boring to get stuck in job talk. But knowing what someone is studying or working with is important for getting to know him or her, and it’s often easy for them to expand on.

If they are unemployed, just ask what they would like to work with or study. When you’re done talking about work, it’s time for next question:

- Is it busy or will there be time for vacation/holiday?

When you’ve arrived at this question, you’re past the hard part. No matter what they reply, you can now ask my favourite question of all categories:

-Do you have any plans for your vacation/holiday?

Now you’re tapping into what they like to do the most. They think about positive things and it’s exciting for them to talk about. Even better, here’s where you might find mutual interests or similar places you’ve been to. Even if they don’t have any plans, it’s now natural to talk about how they spend their free time. It’s often possible to find similar interests here.

CONVERSATION EXAMPLES:

Scenario 1:

YOU - Do you have any plans for your vacation?

STRANGER - I don’t have any plans yet actually. Last year I went to Hawaii.

[You can now ask about how Hawaii was and talk about other vacation places you’ve perhaps both been to]

Scenario 2:

YOU - Do you have any plans for your vacation?

STRANGER - I’ll probably just stay at home.

YOU - I see, yeah so did I my last vacation and that was pretty nice. Do you do anything special on your free time?

STRANGER - I’m mainly reading / working on my house / working on this and that project / hanging out with my friends.

[You can now ask more about whatever the person is doing and look for mutual interests here]

Scenario 3:

YOU - Do you have any plans for your vacation?

STRANGER - No, actually I don’t....

YOU - I see... Yeah, same here. I use to end up mainly watching TV series when I’m having time off though. Do you watch anything?

[This example shows that even if they don't have any plans AND aren't good at making conversation, you can still look for similarities in how you spend your free time]

Scenario 4:

YOU - Do you have any plans for your vacation?

STRANGER - Yes, I’m planning a Euro-trip!

[You can now ask where in Europe the person is going, if he’s been there before, let him or her know where you’ve been on your vacation, relate to the countries the person’s been to and so on]

As soon as two people find similarities or mutual interests, conversation becomes interesting. The “small talk struggle” is over, because it’s easy to talk about something you’re both interested in or know about.

Why am I talking so much about finding similarities? Because A) Conversations become easier when you do and B) It's when two people find similarities they really start liking each other.

"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one."

-C.S. Lewis

MY CONVERSATION RECIPE

This is what my recipe looks like when I just start talking to someone:

  1. Ask very simple questions.
  2. Ask follow up questions and mention related things about yourself.
  3. Dare to break the rules. You can and should follow whatever direction the conversation takes, but whenever your mind goes blank, you can go back to these questions.
  4. Try to figure out what the person likes to do and if you share any similarities.

(¯`·._.·(¯`·._.· CHEAT SHEET ·._.·´¯)·._.·´¯)

- How are you doing?

- How do you know people here?

- Where are you from?

- Do you work/study?

- Is it busy or will there be time for vacation/holiday?

- Do you have any plans for your vacation/holiday?

You’ve now started a conversation and hopefully talked about your interests. Let’s see how to avoid awkward silence as you continue the conversation.

How to avoid awkward silence

Every time someone says something, we miss out on a lot of small details that can make or break a conversation. I will show how you can pick up on these pieces to keep a smooth conversation running.

1. Listen carefully to what the person is saying.

Say that someone is telling you

“We came back from Thailand a few weeks ago”

What pieces of information does that sentence actually contain?

2. Break down the sentence into the different pieces of information

(Don’t worry if this sounds technical, this will happen automatically for you as soon as you get the principle.)

He’s been in Thailand

He’s been there with others; “We”

He came back a few weeks ago

3. What questions could be based on these pieces of information?

How was Thailand?

Who was he traveling with?

How long was he there?

What did he think about it?

What did they do there?

Where in Thailand did he go?

How was the jet lag?

And so on... As you see, you can pull a lot of different threads out from each sentence.

4. Keep what the person is telling you in the back of your head.

Whenever the conversation runs dry, you can go back and ask questions about what you were previously talking about.

EXAMPLE:

The other person just said something you don’t know how to build on, and an awkward silence is about to occur:

STRANGER -[talk talk talk]....so that’s why I decided to go for a brown coat instead of a black one.

YOU - I see. Yeah the brown coat looks great I think.

STRANGER - Yeah, thanks!

If you don’t come up with anything here, simply go back to any previous thread in the conversation:

YOU - By the way, how long did you stay in Thailand?

Here you turned a potential awkward silence into a natural progression of the conversation.

One of the most common reasons for awkward silence is trying to only continue the current thread. Being aware that you can jump around freely like this in the conversation and go back to previous subjects will help you avoid awkward silence.

How to Use Storytelling to Connect with New Friends

We humans love stories. Scientists believe that we are hardwired to like them: In experiments, they discovered that our eyes dilate as soon as someone starts telling a story.

By simply saying “So, a few years ago I was on my way to…” or “Have I told you about that time I...?”, something powerful happens in peoples brains.

You can use storytelling to connect with people and be seen as more outgoing. People who are good at telling stories are often admired by others. Other studies show that stories also will make people feel closer to you by being able to relate to you.

And as time pass, you will have more and more stories in stock.

Recipe of how to successfully tell a good story

  1. It needs to relate to the situation.
    Memorize your good stories to over time build up a stock. Stories are timeless, a good story can and should be told several times as long as there's a new audience.
  2. Talking about how good you are puts people off.
    Therefore, avoid stories where you come off as being the hero. Instead, stories that show vulnerability prove to work better.
  3. Put people into the relevant context.
    Explain the setting so that everyone gets the story. More about this in the example below.
  4. Talk about things that others can relate to.
    Adjust your stories after the audience.
  5. Every story needs to end with a punch.
    It can be a small punch, but it has to be something. We’ll look more at this at the example below as well.

It’s important to realize that people with a lot of stories doesn’t necessarily live more interesting lives, they just present their life in an interesting way.

I have a friend who’s an awesome storyteller. When he starts telling a story, people give him their full attention. Sometimes when he shares his stories on Facebook they get well over 100 likes. While Facebook likes generally doesn’t say much, in this case they show that his stories work. The reason they work is that he follows the rules of storytelling.

Here’s a story that he told me recently:

So a few days ago I'm waking up to an important day with exams and meetings. I’m waking up stressed, because the alarm clock had apparently already went off.

I feel totally exhausted and prepare myself for the day, taking a shower and getting shaved. However, my tiredness just won’t let go and I’m actually throwing up a little on my way out from the bathroom.

I become afraid for what’s happening but I’m preparing breakfast and I’m getting dressed. I’m staring at the porridge but can’t eat and want to throw up again.

I’m taking my phone up to cancel my meetings and realize that it's 1:30 AM.

Notice how this wasn't meant to be the story of the year - it’s just a great example of a nice story to pull of in a suitable situation.

What I like about this story in particular is that it’s not an exceptional event; you've probably been through several similar things in your life. However, this guy succeeds in turning it into an interesting story.

Also, notice how you probably felt motivated to read that story more than anything else you’ve read in the guide so far - that’s how hardwired we are to like stories.

Pay attention to the following:

  • He doesn’t try to look like a hero. Instead, it tells the story of a struggle.
  • It ends with a punch. The punch is often the difference between an awkward silence and laughter.
  • Notice the pattern. Relatable -> The Context -> The Struggle -> The Punch

Whenever he’s telling these stories, he gets everyone’s full attention. Through these stories, he makes people feel good and makes them want to be around him. Storytelling is why people see him as an outgoing person.


Great! You've now learned what it takes to become great at making conversation, getting to know people and telling stories.

Still, social gatherings make most people nervous, even if they know what they are supposed to say. In Chapter 2 you will learn how to feel truly confident when you're around people you haven't met before.

It's time for Chapter 2: Building a Strong Self Confidence in Social Situations.

Or, you can watch my FREE video training here: Conversation Advice for Over-Thinkers.

GO TO CHAPTER 2 >

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