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30 Tips You Can Use To Approach Anyone

30 Tips You Can Use To Approach Anyone

In order to meet new people we have to actually approach and speak to them, which can be really nerve-wracking. Thankfully, Ivan Chan of Self Stairway has 30 tips to share that can make it far easier to approach anyone:

It’s terrifying approaching someone for the first time.

Naturally, you want to make a good first impression with this person, but you have no idea how they will react to you. Will they like you? Will they reject you? Will they think you’re an idiot? The fear of looking like an idiot by saying or doing something stupid is uncomfortably real. Maybe you have had it happen in the past. The thought of having it happen again is making you nervous about approaching someone.

I used to be terrified of approaching people too. I would sheepishly stutter my way though an introduction. I would make futile attempts at small talk, only to flounder awkwardly. After enduring much frustration, I eventually stopped trying. I figured you couldn’t get hurt if you just watch from the sidelines and avoid putting any skin in the socializing game. That’s not a fun way to live.

After all, a wealthy life is not just defined by how much money you have. It is also defined by how rich your relationships are with your friends and loved ones. Every relationship starts with you approaching someone whom you’ve never met before or the other way around. But most people don’t have the courage.

I decided to work on my social skills. They don’t teach you how to approach people in school, so I learned from others whenever I could and experimented. I tried different ways to make a memorable introduction, to keep people engaged, and to leave people wanting to come back and talk again.

It took me years, but I eventually found a system that works–a system I’ll share with you today. So grab a cup of coffee and make yourself comfortable.

You’re about to learn how to approach a stranger with confidence, charisma, and even a little flair. These techniques will work regardless of whether you’re at a professional event or a hot singles’ party. Are you ready?

1. Tackle approach anxiety

Are you deathly afraid of approaching people? If so, then you may a bad case of approach anxiety. As with most fears, the way you conquer approach anxiety is to desensitize it.

2. Get in the right mindset

You’ve decided to approach. Are you feeling a little nervous right before? Take 10 deep breaths to calm your nerves and tell someone to shut up.

No, not a stranger. Tell yourself to shut up. Don’t listen to your lizard brain or your fears.

You have to get in the right mindset.

That is, you shouldn’t treat other people like a total stranger. If you want to have a fun conversation then act like you’ve known the other person your whole life. It will lead the interaction with the right vibe.

Also, think of your conversation as a chance to make the other person feel good about themselves.

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3. Channel your inner storyteller

Some more pre-game.

You need stories ready to make the conversation interesting. They don’t have to be dramatic or funny. But they should serve as fun conversational starters. That way, you’ll have something to fall back on when conversations turn into a lull.

4. Shake hands

You’re going in now. First off, shake their hand. Firmly, not with a dead fish grip.

Wait!

Make sure you don’t have sweaty palms. I used to have the worst case of sweaty palms in high school social dance classes. You can imagine how those felt for the other person.

5. Remove the voices from your head

You’re in. You initiated, but you’re starting to become nervous.

How many times have you started a conversation, feel weird, and try to exit as fast as possible? If your answer is zero then I bow down to your smoother-than-James-Bond socializing prowess.

The rest of us make excuses when we’re afraid. Tell your excuses where to go. Kick them out of here. You can pull through anything.

6. Think like an economist

Opportunities in life come and go. In my personal life, the biggest regrets I have are not from things I have done. Rather, my biggest regrets are from things I could have but did not do.

Will you regret it if you don’t muster up the courage to approach that certain someone?

7. Remove your serial killer look

Obviously, you’ll scare someone if you don’t. People are naturally wary about meeting a stranger at first. The way you ease their wariness is to have a relaxed smile that seems natural, not with a serial killer grin.

8. Remember that you’re not auditioning for a play

You don’t have to start a conversation in a witty way in order for it to be memorable. Don’t memorize lines. Just start with “Hi!” and you’re good to go. Of course, as you become more comfortable with strangers, you can add more flair to your bantering.

Remember: the more you think, the more difficult it becomes.

9. Never forget another name

Always, always, ALWAYS pay attention when the other person introduces their name. Obviously, most people take their name very personally. So remembering someone’s name correctly will no doubt leave them with a good impression of you.

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Dale Carnegie famously said that a person’s name, to that person, is the sweetest and most important sound in any language. Think of how you feel when someone remembers your name towards the end of a conversation. Feels pretty good, doesn’t it?

10. Give out genuine compliments

You can be personal by offering a sincere compliment. People like to feel liked.

Remember, sincerity is key. Fake compliments are pretty obvious and even insulting.

Quick tip, comment on something they put effort into. Complimenting them on something out of their control isn’t as warming as something you noticed they did.

11. Take compliments with class

So, you can dish out compliments, but can you take them? A conversation is a two-way exchange. Show your classy side when you’re on the receiving end of a compliment.

Don’t downplay them. Don’t deny them. Just say “thanks.”

12. Empathize and relate to build a connection

Having gone through university myself, I understand how stressful exams times can be. I often use this as a way to empathize with students who are currently going through exams.

Showing someone you know how they feel makes them more comfortable to talk with you.

13. Keep your ears open

I know this advice sounds obvious. But then how come so many people absolutely SUCK at listening? It’s sad but true. So if you train yourself to be a skilled listener, you’ll no doubt instantly standout among the crowd. Listen more often than you talk.

14. Make them feel good with great questions

So what happens if you’re at a conversational standstill and none of the techniques I’ve discussed so far is working? Ask awesome questions! People love talking about themselves, after all.

15. Take the lead

What does being a good ballroom dancer and being a good conversationalist have in common? You have to know when to lead and when to follow in both situations. So, lead!

16. Keep your mouth in check

It’s tempting to think that the world revolves around us. Not surprisingly, a lot of people talk about themselves non-stop because it feels good to them. However, being a good conversationalist means talking less and listening more. So don’t be a conversational narcissist.

Let others have a turn.

17. Avoid being a pretentious “one-upper”

I once worked with someone who always had to one-up whatever you say.

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He always wanted to have a bigger and better story to tell than everyone else. Talking to him gets annoying really quickly. Don’t be that guy.

18. Accept that you’re not a genius

If you don’t, then sooner or later people will realize you’re just a fool desperately trying to look smart. If you don’t know something, just admit it. Most people will be glad to explain. That way, you’ll actually learn something (and end up being smarter for real).

19. Remove your habit of judging

Take my blogging mentor, Jon Morrow, for example. Jon has spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). He can barely move his body from his neck down.

Based on appearance alone, some people might be surprised to learn that Jon is the Associate Editor of Copyblogger.com, a highly successful entrepreneur, and an all-around badass.

20. Know what topics get people to want to murder you

Nothing kills a conversation more quickly than an ill-advised tangent into an icky topic. You have been warned.

21. Get rid of your habitual filler words and phrases

By filler, I mean the “umm’s” and “ah’s” people utter when they’re trying to think of something to say. Then there’s the dreaded “like” filler, as in, this is, like, the most annoying filler, like, ever!

22. Leave interrogation to the police and interview questions for hiring managers

Remember how I said you should ask really good questions to direct a conversation? It’s a good strategy, but don’t overdo it. If you barrage someone with too many questions, they will feel like you’re interrogating them.

Mix up your questions with some non-questions. Better yet, expand on the conversation based on what you’ve heard from the speaker to show you’ve have been paying attention all this time.

23. Remind yourself that pauses are normal

I used to worry about what to say whenever there is a pause in a conversation. I’ve since learned pauses are OK.

Admittedly, it feels a lot less awkward being in silence with a close friend than an acquaintance you have just met, but don’t worry, there are ways you to end the silence quickly and restart the conversation.

24. Stop interrupting, it’s rude

Have you ever had someone blurt things out before you’re done talking? It’s annoying, right? So don’t do it yourself. Avoid interrupting others when they talk or you may kill the conversation.

25. Be conscious of your body language

Seriously, you should do as your Mother have told you a long time ago. Stand up straight. Don’t hunch forward. Bad posture is just so uncool and unsexy.

Great posture automatically makes you look more attractive, interesting, and self-confident.

26. What are you doing with your hands?

Yes, we’re back talking about hands again. This time we’ll talk about where to put your hands while you’re talking. Your body language says a lot of things about you.

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You may think your words are wowing your listener, but if your body language is conveying a different message altogether from your words, then you’ll be fighting an uphill battle for the entirety of that conversation.

27. Stop looking away, give them your focus

Smartphones have somehow managed to connect people like never before while simultaneously destroying face-to-face communication.

How often do you go into a public place (e.g. a train or a park) and find virtually everyone in sight to be thumbing away on their phones? In the age of rapid digital communication, it’s the simple look-them-in-the-eye conversation that is bound to be memorable.

28. Slow down and don’t lose them with your words

As Michael Caine once said, “The basic rule of human nature is that powerful people speak slowly and subservient people quickly–because if they don’t speak fast nobody will listen to them.” Are you powerful or subservient?

29. Test out different vocal inflections

This is, once again, another obvious-sounding advice, but how obvious is it really? I know many people who speak as if they are unsure of everything they say.

One way you can tell is they tend to raise their voice at the end of a phrase, the way you would with a question. Only instead, they do this with EVERY SINGLE STATEMENT they say. It’s as if they are asking you for permission to speak.

30. End your conversation on a high note!

All great things must end. And sadly, that includes your lively chat with the lovely person in front of you. But don’t go out with a whimper! Like all great things, you should go out with a bang (and leave them wanting more).

The Floor Is Yours

You’ve got all the know-how.

You’ve learned all the tricks.

You know what you need to do next?

It’s one thing to be an expert in the theory of knowing how to approach people. It’s a different thing completely to be an expert IN approaching people.

The only way you’ll get good at approaching people is if you, well, practice approaching people! That’s how I did it. That’s how everyone does it. That’s how you’re going to do it.

Just pick one or two things above and start practicing. I know it’s going to be hard at first. But in time, you’re going to get better. I’m sure of it.

So what are you waiting for?

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Ivan Chan is the creator of Wealthy Without Worry. In his latest quest, Ivan teaches professionals how to make smart money decisions that fit their lifestyles. Check out what he does here.

30 Tricks You Can Steal From Social Butterflies for Approaching Anyone | Self Stairway

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Siobhan Harmer

Siobhan is a passionate writer sharing about motivation and happiness tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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