How to Confidently Start ConversationsApr 07, 2018
Being comfortable starting conversations is a skill that can win you new clients and relationships, and today I’m sharing the best ways to confidently walk into your next event.
Being an introvert or shy at social settings can hold you back but there are simple techniques to follow to overcome this and embody leadership.
With confidence to start conversations, you help others get to know and trust you. You’ll also improve your self-esteem and feel proud of how you carry yourself, which is a nice lil side effect.
Listen to the audio version of this article here:
Choose Your Tone
Before you enter your next meeting or event, go in with the right mindset. What I like to do, and I know it will help you, is set an intention. Say a prayer if you’d like, and ask, “How can I be a blessing to everyone I meet here?” Ask the angels around you to help you be of service. It shifts any fear that you have to a more fearless approach. Your energy shifts because you’re not there for you. You’re there for others.
“Hi, my name is…”
One of the best ways to start a conversation is so simple and seems to be obvious, but let’s not overlook it! I like to extend my hand, make eye contact, and say, “Hi. I’m Becca. What’s your name?”
By doing this, I come across as being confident, warm, and inviting. I’ve hopefully put somebody else at ease, and with their response, I like to repeat somebody’s name. Even with difficult to pronounce or unusual names, I always like to make sure I get it right. I think it’s important to people that you want to know their name, you want to know how to pronounce it. And by repeating it, it’s a great way to remember it.
Bring a Gift
You can start any conversation with a compliment. They’re a natural introduction to meeting somebody, and when you’re walking into a situation, asking, “How can I be a blessing to everyone I meet?” you bless them by noticing and acknowledging something about them that you can point out, maybe ask a question about.
Keep your questions simple and open-ended. These are usually questions that are “what’ questions – What, How, Which, Where, or When. Open-ended questions usually begin with one of those words. It’s these types of questions that keep a flow in the conversation, rather than yes or no, closed-ended questions.
Keep in mind that most people love and are very comfortable talking about themselves. Actively listen. Ask questions about what the person you’re speaking with is saying. It’s always safe to nod, or say, “Oh…” or “Hmm.”
You could also use other short phrases, such as, “What did you do then? That’s amazing. Oh wow, I had no idea.” These are some common go-tos, just know you can respond, engage, listen, and make somebody feel really good about what they’re sharing because you care about what they’re sharing.
Let’s talk about how we want to carry ourselves physically when we want to embody confidence, we want to be more at ease. Put a smile on your face, and you’ll feel better. It doesn’t have to be the other way around.
Pull your shoulders back.
Open your chest.
Take deep breaths.
Make eye contact.
Act interested when someone is speaking to you.
Nod when it’s appropriate.
Acknowledge what they’re saying. Everyone wants to be acknowledged.
Shake a Good Hand
I’m amazed at how many women do not know how to shake someone’s hand properly. It is something not everyone is taught, so I’m going to tell you right now. When you shake someone’s hand, you make eye contact, you step forward, and you have a slightly firm, not too strong, but a grip on someone’s hand. Ask your friends, ask people, “How is this handshake?” so that you’re confident when you shake someone’s hand, you’re sending a message that you are a competent human being.
Don’t Go There
When you’re having conversations at any event or one-on-one with somebody, there are some topics and some things to avoid. You really don’t want to speak about someone’s weight, or objectifying somebody, or speaking about something they might be uncomfortable with.
Relationship status, politics, religion, these are just some things to consider avoiding. They’re also much bigger topics, rather than the simple, open-ended questions that are really great to stick with.
Gossip will never, ever be good, even if someone else has initiated it. You might smile, to be polite, but please don’t engage in gossip.
Back Off, Please
Now, this is a tip I am really just giddy about sharing with the world. Keep a reasonable bubble of personal space. Why do people get closer and closer when you’re speaking with them? And it’s not really like they’re trying to whisper to you. It’s just a thing that they’re doing. It’s very awkward, and uncomfortable, and I’ve gotten to backing up, like literally not just inching backwards like I used to, but really owning my space, without words, but stepping into my space, creating my own bubble, and not really allowing that to happen anymore. I’m not quite sure what happens to make it okay with another person doing that, but if this is you, or if you know somebody that does this, please let’s all keep a reasonable bubble of personal space.
So much about language and communication is nonverbal. Truly listen. Don’t go off into your own thoughts or fears, thinking of what you’re going to say next. Although it’s helpful to have some sort of response or question that you’re considering, if you’re backing away in your mind, people feel it.
Keep in mind that pauses are wonderful. It allows you to take a breath, switch topics, gives you a moment to observe your surroundings, or even excuse yourself. You just don’t want to let the pauses hang too long, and awkwardness sets in.
Some other great questions are, “Where do you see yourself …” or, “How do you feel about this,or that?” Really use those as openers for questions that seem appropriate at the time.
Conversations really means to listen. Be a blessing to others, and be genuine. Pay attention to what they’re saying, to their body language, and also to yours.
I hope this article gave you a ton of great strategies to start using right away. I had you as an introvert in mind, you as the woman who really wants to succeed, go way further than you are right now, and do it hopefully a little quicker and a little easier than you ever thought possible.
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