No matter what career you are in, or what kind of person you are, social skills are one of the most valuable attributes you can have in life. If you want to find a romantic partner, land a new job, or console an unhappy loved one, good communication will get you a long way. And some people are natural communicators, adept at small talk and able to spin a yarn that has everyone gathering round and always at the forefront of any social occasion.
But not everyone is so confident. Others are more introverted and find it difficult to muster the courage to meet new people and make their voices heard. If you have social anxiety, you may find it negatively impacts your life in certain ways. Perhaps you;ve struggled to get your point across in a business meeting or you worry you don’t make a good first impression to new people.
If you struggle to make small talk, then don’t let it get you down. These four tips will help you figure out what to say and fake it until you make it.
People love talking about themselves. If you dread chatting to strangers then start by asking them questions and listening to them. Taking the focus away from yourself will give you precious time to calm your nerves and think about what to say. You will appear a generous and considerate person and this will go a long way towards making a great first impression.
Talk about what you know
Do you find yourself struggling to think of things to say? If in doubt, talk about what makes you passionate. Perhaps you are an avid sports fan, a tech expert with a specialism in endpoint detection and response (https://www.sapphire.net/mss/endpoint-detection-response/), or a successfully published author. There’s no doubt you have plenty of things to say about your chosen field so try talking about yourself. Just remember the rule about listening and try not to make yourself the sole focus of the conversation.
Calm your nerves
Even if you have plenty of things to talk about, sometimes your social anxiety can get in the way. The moment the spotlight is on you, you clam up, sweat pours down your face and an uncomfortable silence begins. If nerves sometimes get the better of you, it’s a good idea to relax yourself before meeting people. Listen to some calming music, take deep breaths, or go for a run to settle your anxiety.
Get out of your comfort zone
The best way to get better at anything is to practice, practice, practice. So if your social skills need some fine-tuning, don;t just hide away from the world. Get out there and meet new people. Chat to the person next to you in the shopping queue or approach a stranger in a bar. Talk to that new colleague at work or sign up to social events with plenty of attendees. Throwing yourself into the deep end will be difficult at first but over time you will get accustomed to the situation and will get better and better at making small talk.