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How to Start Talking to Strangers with Ease Even If You’re Shy

How to Start Talking to Strangers with Ease Even If You’re Shy

A day without communicating with others and meeting new people isn’t a day well spent.

But that’s not always the easiest thing to do if you’re shy by nature. You might be intimidated when in public because you get anxious, start thinking that others will judge you, fear being rejected, aren’t sure what to talk about, feel uncomfortable, or else.

Don’t worry. You can still take control of your bad communication skills and lack of self-esteem and turn them around. One of the best things about being human is that we have the ability to change, to improve, to built new qualities and learn any skill.

In this case, the goal is to start talking to strangers with ease. Let’s see how you can get there without too much stress and effort.

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Fix your relationship with yourself first

Shyness is a result of not being confident in yourself, and there are often deeper reasons behind this. It’s worth taking the time to dig deeper and see where all this started.

Maybe your parents were too judgmental and you could never satisfy them. Maybe you never found something you’re good at that could give you the chance to show you’re capable of much more. Or maybe you don’t try new things because you’ve failed in the past. Whatever the case is, getting back to these memories tells your mind you shouldn’t do anything right now. It’s time to let go.

Leave behind anything from the past, as it’s the foundation of your shy self. Instead, realise this: we all have potential inside of us, waiting to be unleashed. But it takes some work and practice to start getting things done and let others notice that.

So, set some goals and take a step daily. Decide to give a new hobby a try. Learn something new. Take up a sport. Find out life hacks that will help you do things faster and better. Whatever it is that you do, it will give you the confidence that you can accomplish much more. And you’ll start building self-esteem and begin taking risks more often, even in social life.

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Being action-oriented also means you’ll stop overthinking your weaknesses, will leave behind the doubts and insecurity. All that makes you stronger, more experienced, and more confident around other people. Once you go through this transformation – which doesn’t need to take long – you can show the world you’re not afraid to be in public, meet new people and show them how interesting of a person you are.

Leave the comfort zone

Your comfort zone is the bubble you live in, that feels safe and familiar, and which is hard to leave. It includes all the habits you’ve developed over the years and which you stick to, all the people from your past you’re used to being around, all the qualities you’ve always had, and the things you’ve always been doing.

But comfort is the enemy of progress, and that affects your social life quite negatively. Once you’re out of this comfort zone, you break free from the mediocrity and can start exploring, learning, socializing, and improving.

That can happen by doing things that don’t feel comfortable. And because we’re talking about getting better at approaching strangers, some things you can try on a daily basis are talking to one new person, asking a question, looking people on the street in the eyes, speaking up when you have something to say, spending more time around new people, etc.

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Do one of these daily for a start. It might feel awkward and unpleasant, but that’s how you’re changing for the better. Repeat it the next day.

Soon, you’ll notice some changes in your behaviour. You won’t feel anxious in public, won’t feel weird when people look at you and won’t be afraid to look them in the eyes, you’ll always know what to say when asked a question, and will even have longer conversations with new people.

Slowly master the art of being a conversationalist

Once you’ve gone through the first 2 phases, you’ll be ready to try different things, find what works best for you, gain experience, and have fun at the same time.

For example, you can begin disagreeing with people and thus showing character. Eventually, you’ll find the balance between saying your honest opinion, but presenting it in a way that won’t make the other person feel bad. You’ll become more assertive too. You’ll show respect to anyone you’re talking to but won’t allow being deceived or controlled in any way.

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Then, you’ll get creative with body language and your diction. The determination can be felt through the words you use, your tone and your posture. Once approaching the new person isn’t an issue anymore, you’ll experiment with all these too.

As for the topics, you’ll discuss with strangers, in the beginning, they will be more common ones that don’t require any knowledge or even opinion. But then you can bring up questions that concern you and be genuinely interested in what the another person has to say about this. This way, every new conversation will be a learning experience for you. As a result, you’ll become an interesting conversation partner and someone who’ll challenge others in exciting ways. You’ll learn how to open up to people once you’ve talked for a while, but also how to make them feel comfortable and start sharing.

After some time, expect to have the chance to actually form a friendship with anyone you have something in common with. You decide who you’ll spend time with for longer, but your circle of friends will definitely get bigger now that you’re more self-assured and know how to approach people with ease.

Your daily life will turn into a quest to meet new individuals, get to know them, brush up on your social skills, and have a good time.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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