Networking! Power Point Presentations! Talking to strangers! Do these words send shivers down your spine? Do you truly believe that some evil force invented group projects to punish you and if you’re completely honest, all you want to do is to take your heels? Do you feel like everybody in the room is staring at you, seeing right through you and judging you negatively? Relax! Breathe! That’s your brain lying to you. We’ve all been there and I promise, millions of others have been there too and they all somehow survived.
Most people in the room are just as consumed by the same thoughts of insecurity as you and really don’t think about you as much as you think they do. It takes some practice and lots of discipline but if you internalise this, you can convert your self-consciousness into self-awareness and focus on the moment instead of being consumed by your own self-doubts! There is a solution for you too and eventually, one day you can embrace your fear of talking to others and even take advantage of it.
If you’re insecure about how you appear to others, you can always practice in a familiar setting, with your best friend, your partner, or a family member. Good luck! Consider this article your first step: Be open, be honest, be you! In many cultures approaching strangers can be considered as an intrusion in their personal space, pulling them out of their comfort zones. You can simply control this situation by deconstructing it!
People being approached will ask themselves three questions: Who is this? What does he want? How much of my time is he going to steal? The logical way to counter this is to answer all three questions before they can block you out.
“Hi, my name is Alex”
“Do you mind if I talk to you?”
“I noticed how you just used this hand cream, can you recommend it?”
PRO TIP: Don’t sneak up on people! Before engaging them in a conversation, always try to make eye contact and smile! A basic rule of communication is that every personal communication should start with the eye contact and a smile. Experience shows that it is the number one factor for a strong first impression.
Keep in mind to give before you ask. Offering somebody free information about your intentions is one of the most powerful things you can do.
“Have you heard of FitLine? I’m a reseller and a huge fan of the products and I might have the right thing for you if you’re willing to hear met out.”
PRO TIP: Ever heard of TMI (too much information)? Do not overshare too many personal things!
No, not the grumpy, pyjama, pre-PowerCocktail you. The nice you! When approaching a stranger you’ll notice that they will mirror your body language. That’s why you should be self-aware of your body posture and about putting on your best smile and just be you. Talk to people how you want to be talked to and you will naturally connect with them.
PRO TIP: Sincere compliments can open doors you didn’t even know existed.