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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?

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 March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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