Finally ready to take the pain out of social interactions and making conversation?
1. Actively make connections and build bridges during a conversation. The best way to do this is to actually PAY ATTENTION. Listen intently from your heart to what someone is saying and BE AUTHENTIC.
2. Do not compare yourself to others - do not attack yourself. Appreciate your talents and the things that make you “you.” Appreciating your talents, skills, and uniqueness sometimes takes practice. Set aside time each day to acknowledge and emphasize what you love most about yourself. If you are having trouble with this, take notice of what close friends, good family, or others who support you like most about you. Do not be afraid to ask!
3. Pay close attention to your thoughts when you feel anxious or afraid. Being in tune with these negative feelings is the first step to healing the old wounds that have caused them. Handle yourself with care when you face challenging emotions. This will lead to growth and higher self-esteem.
4. Notice when it’s time to let another take the stage. Talking too much and not enough listening are commonalities in social interactions that hold us back from connecting completely, respectfully, and genuinely. During a conversation, try to focus more on others and the things that interest them. Release need to talk about me, me, me! Focus on what’s best in others; validate their gifts and strengths. Focusing on others during a social interaction helps relieve pressure and anxiety from ourselves. When we feel social anxiety or hung up on what to say next, this is because we are focused too much on ourselves, not enough on the other person. With our attention focused so heavily on ourselves, we are NOT listening and therefore missing important information that would serve as great talking points. The best way to improve conversation? BECOME A BETTER LISTENER.
5. Talk to strangers. Being comfortable talking to strangers sets us up for success personally and professionally. Imagine having a conversation without feeling like your stomach is going to evaporate through your ears. If you're afraid to do this, simply start small. Talk to strangers beginning in somewhat less threatening environments. Talk to strangers at restaurants & bars. Talk to strangers at the grocery store. Talk to strangers at the mall. Start easy, start small, and build your social confidence & skills. Since we tend to rely on our phones quite often, use your phone to your advantage! You can use Facebook, LinkedIn, and Shapr to build your network and connect with others who have similar interests. For example, since my career is in the tech industry, my phone is often a fun talking point in a professional environment or meeting those who also like to talk tech. I might say something like "I've picked up the Google Pixel 2 XL recently, I'm pleasantly surprised with its features!" The other person might say "Oh, I didn't know Google had a phone?" or "I've always had an iPhone, what's it like?" Using this cool new electronic as a conversation catalyst even landed me an interview & media feature.
At the end of the day, be authentic, connect common interests, and have fun! Letting yourself be fully present in the moment will open up infinite possibilities in conversation and social interactions.