When you spot an interesting person from across the room, does your heart race, your palms start to sweat, and suddenly you feel tongue-tied?
Many people feel anxious when it comes to conversations, especially when talking to strangers. But worry not because in this article, we will share some strategies on how to talk to anyone without nerves. So the next time you see an intriguing person, you can approach them with confidence.
Why feeling nervous around strangers is natural
When we’re around strangers, our brains go into overdrive as it tries to figure out what is happening.
This response is known as the fight or flight response, and it’s responsible for the physical reactions we experience when we feel anxious or stressed.
This response is natural and happens to everyone. The difference between those who feel uncomfortable around strangers and those who don’t is that people with social anxiety disorder feel awkward in social situations. This can make it difficult to have conversations with strangers, especially if you don’t know what to say.
Change your mindset and reframe your perspective
When you feel nervous, it’s tough to think straight and the last thing you want to do is talk yourself out of it.
However, think of it this way: anticipation is worse than reality. In other words, you’re going to worry about how the conversation is going to go, what you’re going to say, and how the other person is going to react. But in most cases, that’s not what happens.
Acknowledge that you’re stressed and practice integrative awareness. This means that you’re taking notice of your body and mind, and the way they interact with each other. When you’re stressed, your sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight response) kicks in and can hijack your thoughts and emotions.
But by being aware of this, you can start to take back control. You can observe your thoughts without getting wrapped up in them, which will help you stay calm and clear-headed during conversations.
Listen and be genuinely interested
When you’re talking to someone, be genuine.
If you’re not keen on what they have to say, it will show—and that’s not going to make for a very successful conversation.
Instead, try to focus on the other person and listen to what they’re saying. Smile and give them your full attention. That way, they will feel appreciated and respected—and be more likely to open up and share more with you.
But it’s not all one-sided. You also need to contribute to the conversation by sharing stories and personal experiences. That way, it doesn’t feel like you’re just interrogating the other person. It’s a back-and-forth exchange that will make both of you feel more relaxed.
Connect with body language
Do you ever notice that your body language plays an important role in how others perceive you?
You can use body language to show that you are approachable and open to conversation. Here are a few tips:
A smile not only tells others that you’re friendly and inviting, but it also makes them feel more at ease. A warm, genuine smile shows that you’re receptive and encourages the other person to talk to you.
- Adjust your posture
Slouching or having your arms crossed across your chest will make people think that you don’t want to be bothered. Instead, lean forward, keep your back straight, and keep yourself open with your arms at your sides to show people that you are open and willing to listen.
- Pay attention to the other person’s body language
Being aware of people’s facial expressions and body postures can give you subtle cues about what they may be thinking or feeling. This can help guide the conversation while also showing them respect by understanding their point of view.
Practicing conversation with a friend
Starting with a friend is a great way to get comfortable with conversations and practice the tips we have mentioned so far.
Find a friend you trust and take turns sharing stories about your respective days. Ask questions about how they feel, and try to listen for the specific emotions they are sharing—are they excited or feeling down? This can give you an idea of how best to continue the conversation.
With friends, feel free to experiment and play around with diverse conversation starters, as they’re more likely to be understanding than strangers. And remember—when talking to anyone, always project positivity into your conversations!
So there you go, a few simple techniques to converse with anyone. If you don’t remember anything you’ve just read, here are some takeaway tips for you: first, be genuine. People can tell if you’re not being yourself, and it will make the conversation much harder. Second, be respectful. Just as you don’t want to be talked down to, be sure to avoid doing the same to others. Finally, be interested. People love to talk about themselves, so ask questions and be engaged in the conversation. With these tips, you should be able to have successful conversations with anyone, without feeling nervous.