Do you ever find yourself having a hard time making conversation with new people? If so, you are not alone. Communicating with strangers can be quite the daunting task, especially if you are a bit of an introvert and your self confidence is feeling a bit low. While breaking out of our little shells will always require a bit of legwork on our part, the good news is that the more we practice the easier it will get. Lucky for us, there are some very easy guidelines that we can follow to make conversing a little less scary:
Smile. Smiling is such an easy way to improve your conversation. It will put the other person at ease and let them know you are happy to be speaking with them. It will also give your self confidence a boost.
Avoid too much detail. Broad topics are great, but if you are speaking to a person that is not an expert on the subject, try to omit needless detail. It will leave them bored senseless.
Avoid strong stances on political and religious views. While it can be fun to engage in debates, it may be best to do so with people you already know quite well. Doing so with strangers can be quite the conversation killer…remember to be sensitive to other people’s views.
If you’d like to criticize, do it by asking questions. By asking questions, you are not directly criticizing the other person’s view, you are simply expressing doubt. By doing this, you are able to criticize without offending.
Pay attention to your body language. Be sensitive to the other person’s reactions, and remember to exude positive body language.
Give the person a chance to speak. One of the biggest mistakes a person can make is to dominate the conversation and always insist on getting in the last word. Pay attention to this and make sure you are giving the person a chance to join in the conversation.
Speak clearly and slowly. It can be so very awkward to ask a person to repeat themselves over and over again…not only does it interrupt the conversation, it also will likely result in the person simply pretending like they heard you. How many times is two many times to ask a person to repeat? I say 3 and then I’m done asking…it’s just too awkward!