Let’s face it. Not everyone is 100% outgoing, 100% of the time. People need downtime, to rest and relax, and for many, this involves being by yourself. If you’re naturally introverted though, you’ve got a small hurdle to face in being social, because your instincts aren’t simply motivating you to go out and meet new people, let alone have a proper conversation with a stranger. The challenge is that everyone loves to spend time with other people, and have a great group of close friends, but this can be difficult to maintain if you’re not naturally a social person.
But that’s where we come in. There are a number of different methods you can employ in any situation to allow you to get comfortable, approach people with ease, and all around just become more social, immediately. If you’re feeling a bit apprehensive about this all, check out this course on how to boost your self esteem and you’ll be feeling better in no time. What makes it great is that these techniques can be applied immediately, the only challenge with them all is that you actually need to give them a try for them to work, so get to it!
A Lasting First Impression
When you’re at a social event, it can often be awkward when you make eye contact with a person, or want to walk up to a stranger and say hello. A neat trick with your body language allows you to break the ice, and is simple to do. As you’re walking up to a stranger, when you get about 15 feet away and make eye contact, briefly raise your eyebrows upwards. This will makes you more comfortable and open, but be sure to practice first and make sure it looks natural. When you’re about six feet away start extending your arm for a firm and warm handshake. Don’t hesitate in any of this, just stick your arm out with confidence and you’ll be on a roll. If you want to learn to be a little bit more comfortable at business networking events, this course is for you.
Make New Friends
Initiative is what holds many people back from interacting with new people and making new friends. If you struggle with this, or it doesn’t come naturally to you, try making a goal to interact with a new person, every week. Just take it simple at first, and after you’ve introduced yourself ask a simple question like “where are you from,” or “what do you do.” The same goes if someone else is making a genuine effort to chat to you, give them proper responses, not just one word answers. If you’re struggling hitting this target, get yourself to one place a month where you’ll meet new people, it doesn’t matter if it’s a professional networking night, or just a group who meets because they share a common interest. Don’t change clubs too often, just pick one and stick with it. If you don’t think you have time for it, this course teaches you how to make time for networking, so that you can reap all the rewards in business.
Maintain Your Relationships
Make it a ritual to be more social. Especially when you’re not normally proactive and reaching out to people, having a ritual forces you into a routine where you must be social! This is a key part to building a strong support network, which is one of the keys to a long and happy life. This course covers the benefits of having a great network of friends. All you need to do is set up a weekly reminder in your schedule, and block out an hour of time on your calendar. This time is to catch up with all of your network, whether it’s a call or a text, an email or even a message on facebook to someone you just met, but want to keep in contact with. And the best part? You can go about the rest of your week happy that you’re not ignoring the important people in your life.
Be the One Inviting People Out
Focus on being generous with your invitations, and don’t sit around waiting for people to invite you out first. Don’t feel like you need to know someone for a long time before you can invite them out either, if you meet someone and connect, grab their details and meet up with them another time. The same goes if you happen to run into a friend when you are downtown, instead of just saying hi, invite them for a bite to eat, or a drink . If they’re busy, make it another time. If there is a group of people from work heading out, invite a couple more that maybe didn’t hear about the initial invitation. If you had planned to meet other friends that night, ask your colleagues if they’d like to join you. Of course, there will be many times that people will say no to your invitations, but the more you throw out there, the more possibilities you have for being social, so don’t be shy!
Get Your Friends to Help You Stay Social
One of the best ways to stay social is getting your friends to do the work for you. Most people share common interests, and if you shift your focus from thinking about each individual friend to thinking about “groups” of friends, your social circles can grow much faster. All you need to do is take the initiative, introducing new people you meet to your group of friends and before you know it they’ll all start forming into their own groups. It’s much easier to catch up with 10 people who all know each other for after work drinks at the local bar, than it is to schedule 10 separate meetings throughout the week to see them all – if they don’t know each other. They’ll even start making plans within the group, so you’re not going to have to organize everything!
Bring New People into the Fold
This is especially critical when you’re out with your long time friends, and there’s a new person in the group. Make a bit of an effort to get to know them, instead of waiting for them to reach out to you. If you’re all going to a concert in a couple of weeks, let them know. This is critical if there’s a new person in the office, you can practice your social skills and make new friends at the same time. Let them know simple things, like the nights the office football team practices, or what time everyone goes for lunch. They’ll appreciate the advice, and you’ll find they will be very easy to connect with because they’re also looking to make friends.
Start Conversations at Work
Find out where people hang out in your office, whether it’s in the break room or the bench out the back, and make a commitment to spend 5 minutes there, at least one day a week. Start small, and try to make chit-chat with your colleagues. If you do this on a Tuesday you’ll avoid all of the woeful people who are sorely missing the weekend, and after a while you’ll find that many of your co-workers are actually quite friendly. If there’s someone you enjoy chatting to, invite them out for lunch and improve your social skills even more.
Keep Your Contact Positive
You don’t want to come across as the person who talks to much, or says too little, so always remember to have a balance when you’re in a conversation. In line with this, when you do go to lunch with a colleague, try to focus on positive stories. People form impressions very fast, and if you spend the first 10 minutes complaining about your broken down car, they’re going to think you’re just a negative person. Instead, be positive and talk about the great new market, the new yoga class you just started, or a great new restaurant in town. This is especially critical when you’re just forming a relationship with someone, be positive and upbeat and it will make you seem more likable. If this doesn’t come naturally to you, you can also learn the skills you need to stay upbeat, and happy. This course is a great reflection of what you need to learn, so check it out and stop being so damn glum all the time!
Being more social is easy, but it does take a little effort on your part to stand out from everyone else. Remember that we’re all social animals, and with a little practice you’ll be able to hold conversations, and build friendships that last a lifetime. If you’re a little apprehensive about it all this recent post covers some great confidence boosters, and all that’s waiting is for you to get started!
What are you waiting for?