In my course "How to make friends and create social circles" I talk a lot about how we can meet strangers.
And, of course, part of that process includes actually starting conversations with them. And this is something we should get better at whether we're just looking to be more socially confident, build our social circles, or improve our dating life.
It also doesn't matter if we're young, old, male, female, introvert, or extrovert.
To help you along, I've decided to share one of the key videos from the course.
You can watch the video below, and if you prefer to read - just scroll further down and you'll see an article-style transcript of it.
Oh, and I use the term "Likables" in this video. It refers to people who are socially successful, and who tend to easily create connections with others.
One of the most challenging things for many people is to talk to strangers.
And while we can certainly become better friends with people we already know, a big part of making new friends and building social circles is meeting strangers.
We simply need a fresh supply of people if we want to succeed.
As a communication coach I’m constantly bombarded with questions about what to do to meet strangers.
What should I say?
How should I say it?
When should I say it?
To whom should I say it?
And so on.
And I have a frustratingly simple answer. Say whatever, however, whenever, to whoever. Just say something.
You see, the easiest way to both get comfortable talking to strangers and to increase the likelihood that strangers will talk to us - is to do what we call warm-ups.
A warm-up is any small engagement with a stranger of any sort.
It’s usually very short, only a few seconds long. And it doesn’t put much pressure on us since our goal isn’t to have a conversation or get to know someone.
A warm-up can be something as simple as a “hi.” Or an, “excuse me”, or “good afternoon” when passing someone at the market.
Or even just a wave, a smile, or a nod.
Literally anything where you do something to catch the attention of someone and show them that you exist.
For some people this seems too easy. And if you’re one of the people who already do this naturally every day no matter where you are, that’s great.
But whether you are or not, please pay attention to this tactic. Because there’s a difference between the people who are ok with exchanging these pleasantries when necessary in their daily life, and the way the “Likables” (socially popular people) use this.
While the Likables will still do these things randomly as they go through their day, they pay extra attention to doing it when they know that they’re going to be in situations where they might want to have an actual conversation with someone they don’t know.
You see, a couple of things happen when we do these warm-ups.
The first thing is that we get into the groove of talking out loud. Which will make it a lot easier to fully engage with a stranger than if we’re just in our head thinking to ourselves.
The second thing is that we build our social confidence when we see that basically everyone out there are nice, pleasant people who will respond with the same tone that you engaged them with.
When these two effects combine forces, and we do a dozen warm-ups or two on our way to wherever we might meet strangers, our subconscious relaxes a little and becomes more socially confident.
By the time you get to where you’re meeting people you’ve already interacted with so many on the way there, that it will seem like a far less uncomfortable task to follow up the next warm-up with a question that might lead to a full-on conversation.
A likable rarely goes to a social event without warming up before getting there. And that is true for even the most outgoing ones. They've practiced it their whole life, so now it just flows naturally for them.
This is so second nature to them that the vast majority never even think about the fact that they’re doing it. And those of us who aren’t that outgoing by nature can copy the same behavior and get the same effect.
Spend the next week - or however long you need for this to become easy - warming up.
Whenever you leave your house and you’re among people you don’t know, exchange little pleasantries. Give them smiles and nods, and whenever you feel like it, ask them a question or give them a compliment.
The more comfortable you become with this, the higher your social confidence will be.
And as an extra bonus, when you talk to more strangers, more strangers will talk to you. They’ll keep the conversation going from your warm-up, simply because they want to. And because you opened the door for them to do so.
Hi, I'm TJ Guttormsen.
Since 2009 I’ve coached clients ranging from Olympic gold medalists and billionaires, to people who simply want more out life.
I’ve done over 100 national media appearances, published books, and created online courses that have earned several “Highest Rated” titles from their 11 000+ members.
Today I coach clients from all over the world, and teach seminars for business and events from my home in Las Vegas.
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