Speaking to strangers can seem awkward if you are shy or lack experience doing it. However, by following these suggestions, it can help you feel more comfortable, which will make it easier for you to connect to strangers.
First, don’t be afraid to express your personality when meeting someone new. People are more receptive to those that are willing to express their personality. Therefore, don’t be afraid to be yourself around others. If you are insightful, talk about an observation that is relevant to both you and your listener’s situation. As part of being yourself, don’t allow external factors to make you change who you are. For example, if you are athletic, don’t allow the attention from others to swell your ego. Instead, you should remain humble, as this will attract more people. Further, if people rave about your intelligence, don’t step on their admiration by being condescending towards them.
Along with being yourself, being approachable is important when meeting new people. Here are some behaviors you can be mindful of that will help others see you as more approachable.
- When you walk through the halls at college, your apartment or your workplace, keep your head up, smile and acknowledge those that walk by you. This doesn’t mean you have to strike up a conversation with everyone, but by taking the initiative to smile and say hi others will perceive you as being outgoing.
- You should also express good body language. When others speak to you give them your undivided attention by maintaining eye contact and standing up straight. If you are shifting your weight, looking around the room or hunching your shoulders, you give the other person the impression you are not interested in what they are saying.
- Don’t be afraid to show excitement when meeting new people. Remember, this is your opportunity to connect with someone new. Engage them by asking them questions such as what do they do for a living. The key here is for you to express interest in them. When you do so, they may be willing to let their guard down more and open up to you. This is when the real bonding between you and them takes place.
- Lastly, you should develop good listening skills. There may be many times that you meet someone new and you will get into the conversation with them on a topic that you may not have much knowledge or interest in. While this topic may not be important to you, it is to the person talking to you. With this in mind, ask them a few open-ended questions about this topic, and if you don’t know much about it, don’t be afraid to tell them so.
By looking for and practicing these behaviors, it can help you develop the skills necessary to speak to strangers in any environment. As you grow older, this is extremely important.
As you get into your career field, you will notice that networking is one of the most important things you can do. By networking with others in your field, it can help you turn acquaintances into friends, help you stay informed of new developments and even land you a great job. When you go to conventions or meetings in your field, you can use these skills on how to make good conversation and begin the bonding process. The same applies if you are in college, moved to a new city or joined a new social group. That is why it’s imperative to build these communication skills because they can help you develop meaningful friendships in all areas of your life.
To recap, by expressing your personality, becoming approachable and engaging others, you can take the steps necessary to turn strangers into friends.