As children, we used to hear from our parents to “be away from strangers”. As we grew up, as adults, it changed from avoiding strangers to talking to strangers daily. This overwhelming feeling to approach someone without making it awkward is difficult, right?
At least everyone feels anxious about talking to new people but data shows that most people tend to overestimate the awkwardness they feel while talking to strangers.
Nevertheless, talking to a stranger can be scary and nerve-wracking. But practice and a few tips could help people engage in conversations in an easy way.
Perks of having good communication skill-with strangers!
If you are willing to let go of that little bit of awkwardness and accept a bit of discomfort, the potential results are beneficial in normal life;
- Ability to feel a deeper connection with the people
- Learn to practice having conversations in a low-pressure environment.
- Can provide you an insight into how to read people
- Create a sense of understanding that perceive themselves and others in different situations.
- Learn about the diversity of different perspectives
- Learn to step outside your comfort zone
- Opportunity to expand one’s business and connections
- Opportunity to make new friends
Here are the tips which you can to approach a stranger without making it look creepy and awkward and start a conversation while making a great first impression
1. Smile and Make Eye Contact:
The first and most important step is putting a smile on your face as the first thing a stranger is going to see your face and appearance Eye contact builds an opportunity for trust and reliability. A genuine and subtle smile is the key to a nice, warm gesture that makes a person feel comfortable. This is perceived as a sign of friendliness and brushes away the awkwardness between two people to start a convo.
2. Use Open-Ended Questions:
When starting a new conversation, it is important to ask open-ended questions to allow a more in-depth response from the person. Avoid asking complicated questions or replying in an oversimplified yes or no manner. More clear-cut questions would result in friendly conversation. Keep the conversation simple ad brief and ask questions about thoughts, experiences, and opinions.
3. Find Common Ground:
Exploring share interests from the person based on common ground is great to establish a connection with a person. Observe for cues in the surroundings to find common interests. For example, while attending a conference ask the person about who is their favourite session and speaker, and what they like about the conference, Questions like this encourage the stranger to start a conversation based upon common interests and mutual likings.
4. Practice Active Listening:
Active listening is a cue to establish trust and friendliness. While talking to strangers show genuine interest in what the other person is saying while making eye contact and giving gestures such as nodding and affirming. This creates a sense of mutual respect for the person and makes the conversation engaging. Always try to as follow-up questions to the person, this makes them feel valued and welcomed.
5. Be Approachable and Authentic:
Be mindful of your body language and tone of voice and keep your expression simple and approachable. Don’t overdo it or over practice the first conversation instead be authentic and let the flow be natural and subtle and allow another person to open up themselves.
6. Try giving compliments:
Who does not like compliments? While talking to a stranger try to give them compliments, genuine ones; not fake or forced. Compliment them on your look, their accessories, their clothes. Keep the compliment simple and subtle,dont overdo it. For example, while starting a convo with a new colleague in your office start by saying, hey how are you, I like your shirt, where do you get it?
A subtle statement along with follow-ups creates a friendly environment.
7. Avoid talking about negative things:
Nobody wants to talk to a person who puts one down and makes them feel miserable about their day!
While speaking to a stranger for the first time, avoid negative topics or topics which are controversial as they can generate negative feelings toward you. Instead, try to talk about positive things and enjoy your ambiance.
8. Be interested:
The final takeaway for a good first conversation with a stranger is interest. If you are interested in starting a convo then show genuine interest,dont fake it. Dont just act interested be interested! This genuine feeling of interest will make feel positive and excited about the conversation and make you feel happy about it.