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Want To Chat With Anyone Without Feeling Weird? You Should Stop Over-Thinking First

Want To Chat With Anyone Without Feeling Weird? You Should Stop Over-Thinking First

Awkward moments always happen.

Imagine you are in a party with a bunch of people that you barely know. You try to start a conversation to break the silence.

You: Hi. How are you?
She: Doing well. You?
You: Great…

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Then the awkward silence appears.

It is embarrassing, like an actor forgetting his lines on stage. Most of the time, you probably have some words in mind but you’re just afraid of saying them because you’re over-thinking. Will she get the joke? Will she feel bored? Will she think that I act like a fool?

Over-thinking never helps

Whenever we meet someone new, we always try to leave a good impression. That’s why we think so much while talking to those people we don’t know well. Since we have little information about them, the only way that we might be able to impress them is trying to recall the funniest joke, find the most unique story, and search for the most interesting topic that people would echo.

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But the anxiety doesn’t stop here. After saying the perfect lines, we doubt if people like it or not, and wonder how they think about us. We’re desperate to get cues from their every gesture and every word they say. If they don’t actually like what we have previously said, the anxiety builds up and we have to search for some other lines again. The loop never ends, until either one walks away.

There is nothing wrong about seeking acceptance in social interactions but over-thinking always makes you behave in a stiff and unnatural manner. The weirdness of acting stiffly while talking to strangers can only be cured when you stop over-thinking.

Distract yourself from the gesture of the person

Instead of paying full attention to the facial expressions or body languages of the person, you can shift your attention to something else.

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It is normal that we would try to find out whether people are impressed by what we say. We look at their facial expressions to see if they agree with what we say; we look at their body languages to know if they are interested in the topic we share. But staring at them with these questions in mind would sometimes make people feel uncomfortable and also make yourself more nervous.

You can simply shift your attention to something else, such as the their outfits and the surrounding environment. This might not only make you less nervous and over-think less but also provides materials for conversations. You might appreciate the beautiful outfits they are wearing or ask about the songs the band is playing. This allows you to relax yourself and act as if you are talking to a friend of yours.

Abandon the thought that you need to put on a certain persona

There are certain personas that would make you an impressive person in front of a bunch of strangers but pretending to be who you aren’t only makes the situation more awkward.

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It is not hard to imagine that in a party, the most charismatic people are the ones who share endless interesting stories and tell innumerable jokes. However, if you are not that kind of people, don’t pretend to be. You can’t act like an extrovert when you’re an introvert. This only makes you feel uncomfortable with the whole situation and you will only get more and more anxious.

Embrace your uniqueness in every moment. People who want a business partner are looking for someone with honesty; those who want a true friend are looking for someone with sincerity; the ones who want a lifelong lover are looking for someone with uniqueness. You can’t please everyone so abandon the thought of being some kind of person, and be who you really are.

Exercise before you champion the skill

It will take practice. Don’t be afraid of moving one step forward at first. It is likely that you will be rejected on certain occasions but it doesn’t mean you’re going to fail next time. No one is naturally born with social skills. Everyone takes time to learn.

Someday you will find that yourself being able to talk to strangers with any difficulties. And the awkwardness will soon disappear.

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Sheba Leung

Translator. Sport lover. Traveler.

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

1. Connecting them with each other

Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

2. Connect with their emotions

Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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3. Keep going back to the beginning

Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

4. Link to your audience’s motivation

After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

5. Entertain them

While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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6. Appeal to loyalty

Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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