According to research by Gillian Sandstrom across seven studies, people are reluctant to speak to strangers, although it can potentially make them happy. You have to go to a new event for work or a social party, but you don’t know anybody there. It can be a scary prospect meeting new people and having to talk to strangers. You might end up feeling super stressed, but you don’t have to subject yourself to any stress when you can put it into perspective. Here are some things you can do to help you network positively!
When you are in a group of people, you don’t know. You can sometimes feel like you want to run away as quickly as you can. You are used to having conversations with people you know. So the whole thing can feel a bit daunting. Also, you’re not entirely sure if you have something in common with a person until you talk to them.
It’s a bit of a catch 22 situation.
You can enjoy a far better experience than the one described above. Look for people who seem open to meeting someone new. So, eliminate all the people who have their arms folded. This gesture is a typical body language barrier that indicates they do not want to talk with anybody right then. You can look for people who are smiling and making eye contact with people.
Tip 2 – Remember To Respect Personal Space
When you talk to somebody, always remember to respect their personal space. You might have been nervous before you arrived, and the person you are speaking to might have felt the same. It can be different for everybody. So if you notice that the person you are communicating with breaks eye contact or turns away. You can take a small step back.
You can give them the space they need.
Also, remember this applies to you as well. So if you feel uncomfortable at any time, take a step back. Or speak up politely to avoid a parting cuddle if you don’t know the person at all. This person is not your best friend. It is a new acquaintance, so keep it professional at all times. Paying attention to personal space can ensure you both feel comfortable during your conversation.
Tip 3 – Use Open-Ended Questions
Have you ever been in a conversation with somebody, and it came to an abrupt stop? Well, you might have been asking the wrong questions. Remember to use open-ended questions so you can keep the conversation flowing. “How…” and “What…” questions are the best ones to ask. Your conversation partner will have to think about a response and will reply with a longer answer.
Using the right questions can open up the conversation.
Every time you ask an open-ended question, remember to listen to the answer. You can pick up further information from the response to ask additional questions and expand the topic. Before you know it, you will be having a long conversation full of interesting information. Your initial nervousness will be a distant thing from the past.
In Conclusion – When You Talk To Strangers
You don’t have to worry about talking to strangers if you use these three easy tips. These tips will help you break the ice and engage in conversation with somebody ready and open for a chat. Also, once you have done it, you will be raring to go to your next event. Like everything in life, practice makes perfect. Before you know it, you will talk to strangers, left, right and, centre. Enjoy!
Don’t forget to share your ideas about networking and meeting people for the first time. Leave a comment below.
Sally Leslie is a motivational coach and optimist. She helps freelancers and entrepreneurs create balance in their lives and work towards their personal and professional goals. Sally is also a B2B freelance writer for entrepreneurs, SMEs, and startups. A lover of plants, freedom, and football!