Outlines how to be more social, with a 6-step strategy to move through increased stages of confidence and communication easily, plus tips to face your fears.
How to be more social: the 6 steps
In this article, we will show you six steps for how to be more sociable and outgoing in a very short space of time. Being more social, open and communicative can open doors. And it’s proven to make you happier. The best part: It’s easy as pie with the following steps for how to be more outgoing!
Step 1: overcome shyness
First, you have to overcome any shyness, otherwise it will get in your way everywhere… Because social fears can make you so nervous that you can no longer concentrate on the conversation. Your head is completely occupied with horror ideas of how you might embarrass yourself. This stops you from having relaxed, engaging conversations.
Perhaps you swallow words, break off sentences in the middle and can’t look other people in the eye? The result: You seem strange and insecure. But now to the positive news … There is a way out. Shyness is learned. And what is learned can be changed.
Don’t worry that people are judging you
First be aware that you are not alone. Not only you, but also many others struggle with social insecurities. You may have walked around for a long time believing that you were one of the few people who was nervous and insecure, but at some point you will realize that almost everyone feels this way to some degree and at some times. Social fears affect a large part of the population:
This knowledge that other people also feel it should let you relax and take some of the pressure off you. And it leads us to an important conclusion to keep in mind: Fear of evaluation is completely unnecessary in most cases. People don’t have time to rate you. They are busy trying to make a good impression themselves – just like you!
As soon as you understand this, other people’s opinions become significantly less important to you. And that is the most important point to overcome shyness.
Leave the house!
I know it’s cozy at home and you can watch Netflix … Outside, however, you feel insecure and tense. Especially with strangers. For this reason, many people spend their entire private life in their own four walls. It’s convenient, but this is NOT how you overcome your shyness! And become neither more social nor more communicative. Because the potential for development is outside your four walls… It lies in the new and the unknown.
When you leave your house and do things, unexpected events happen. You encounter new challenges and difficulties. You face this and you grow from it. This is the way!
Step 2: Take an interest in other people
Those who want to successfully approach people not only need courage, but also social skills. We learn this as a small child … In kindergarten or elementary school, social structures are formed for the first time and we develop our skills.
While some children learn these skills quickly and easily, other children find it more difficult. That can lead to an awkward cycle. Talkative and open children interact more with others and thus learn to be social faster. Reluctant children who are more cautious are less likely to find themselves in situations in which they develop their social skills.
This continues, and as a young adult, one person has fifty times as many conversations and spoken to a hundred times as many people as the other person … The skill difference is correspondingly large!
Such a deficit could not be made up if we were considering sports or music. Fortunately, communication is different. Because it’s not about the ability per se, but about the person behind it. That’s why you can quickly compensate for this difference with a few good tips …
Have unique conversations
This tip will help you get into conversation with people and establish a connection. It is simple: sincere interest! And it works so well because it’s damn rare today. Most people are so busy with themselves and their smartphone that they don’t get involved with other people.
In conversations they wait to express their own opinion and to defend it. They are not interested in your opinion, but try to convince you of theirs. This is what all of their conversations look like. This is why sincere interest is so powerful.
What you have to do for it:
- Listen carefully to your counterpart
- Try to understand them without judging the statements
- If you can follow, show understanding by nodding or saying “yes”
- If you find something interesting or don’t understand, ask
- Use open questions instead of yes-no questions. So “How exactly did that work?” Instead of “Did it work?”
- People will love talking to you if you pay attention and ask questions. Try it. The effect is amazing!
Step 3: allow yourself to be vulnerable
Because as an open, communicative person, you can’t avoid making yourself vulnerable.
- Whenever you step up to people, you risk a derogatory look.
- Whenever you say something, you risk saying something stupid.
- And whenever you open up, you run the risk of rejection.
This is making yourself vulnerable, and you should accept it. Otherwise it will hold you back. If you never show that you like someone because you’re afraid of being annoying and undesirable, you will rarely contactothers because you are stuck in wanting to avoid rejections.
Such behavior can lead to loneliness. And even if you spend time with people, you won’t feel a deep connection. That connection only happens when you make yourself vulnerable!
But what does “make yourself vulnerable” actually mean?
It means that you don’t hold anything back, you don’t hide anything and you take a little risk. That you are open and honest and that you stand by your feelings. And that you take off your mask. Instead of wanting to appear complete and perfect, you are authentic and honest. You overcome your fears and approach people.
Incidentally, this is exactly the reason why extroverted people have so many friends and keep getting to know more … They are not afraid to show someone that they like them.
Step 4: Keep the conversation going
Do your conversations end in awkward silence? Just don’t know what to say? Then we have the solution for you here. Because as big and overwhelming as this problem may seem to you, there are a few methods that can be used quickly.
First of all, you should find out why you run out of words in conversations. There are two reasons you might be doing this:
- You have no idea of what to say.
- Your demands on youself in the conversation are too high.
Most of the time it’s the second point, but we’ll cover both of them anyway.
So, on the first point: You have no ideas what to say? Then grab a pen and a piece of paper right away. And follow these 3 steps:
- Write down three things that inspire you! It doesn’t have to be cool or trendy, all that matters is your personal enthusiasm.
- Now write at a page about each of those three things. For example: What do you find exciting about it? How did you come up with it? What kind of experiences have you already had?
- Now read through what you have written down again and make yourself aware that you are holding three pages in your hand with content that inspires you! You already have a lot to tell.
Tip: What also helps if you have nothing to talk about is reading and traveling. Books with exciting topics are excellent for discussing and while traveling, stories happen every day that you can tell.
Now to the second point. Are there things that you could say, but you often find them not good enough and are therefore quiet? Then you stand in your own way.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say you’re talking to your ten year old niece. Then you automatically tell exciting stories and have fun. You don’t worry if your ideas are good enough. You’re the cool uncle or the cool aunt anyway.
Unfortunately you can feel very different at work or in a social situation. There you might talk to an important colleague during your lunch break and start thinking about everything you could say: “Is that good enough or would it be weird if I say that? Will he like it? Does that even interest him? “
You have the feeling that everyone else is talking super smart stuff, while what you want to say is not worth mentioning. And that’s why you’d better say nothing. You have to get rid of this limitation.
Realize that the others don’t care if only unique sentences come out of your mouth. Everything you say doesn’t have to be gold. When you let go and just say what’s on your mind, you are most charismatic. People love that.
It’s a thousand times better than thinking about what others like and saying that. This makes you bend. You act out and hide your personality. Nobody likes that! And sooner or later people will find out. Often they even notice it in the first conversation.
Tip: Stop evaluating everything that is said.
Stop judging what others say and stop judging what you say yourself. The conversation is not about saying something ingenious or creative, but about exchanging opinions, ideas and stories. If something occurs to you and you just say it, then it’s perfect for the conversation , simply because it’s your personal, honest contribution.
The secrets of how to do ‘small talk’
- Do not concentrate on yourself and how you appear to others, but concentrate on others.
- Dare to start right: The first embarrassing moment arises when nobody dares to start the conversation. And the longer you wait, the more nervous you get. Therefore, start the conversation in the first few seconds. So you don’t give the nervousness time to arise in the first place.
- Don’t be afraid to talk about the trivial: Small talk is always about trivial topics first. So don’t be afraid to say something because it might be uninteresting. The main thing is that you start the conversation.
- Don’t think about what to say next, just listen carefully to the conversation.
- If something triggers emotions in you, then show it! Lively facial expressions and a moving voice are valuable tools for this. (more on that later!) Even while the other is speaking, you can show that you are emotionally involved.
- Look at your counterpart and show your reaction: Really? Wow! … Exciting.
- See the whole thing as a game in which everyone has their turn and says something. It doesn’t have to be smart or funny. It’s about exchanging ideas.
- When it’s your turn, just say what’s on your mind without thinking. Don’t think about whether the statement is good or bad, and don’t waste so much energy interpreting other people’s reactions.
- Don’t judge what others say either. Otherwise you will be right back in the old pattern and feel insecure because you are comparing yourself with others.
- Don’t be afraid to jump back and forth between topics! Small talk is more exciting when you take turns talking about different things.
- If there is nothing more to say on a topic, then you simply come up with a topic that you were talking about before: “You said earlier that you were visiting your grandma. Do you get along well? “
Bonus: Questions to get and keep the conversation going
Networking events/industry conventions
- What made you decide to do X?
- What are the biggest challenges when it comes to your industry?
- If you had to do X again, what would you do differently?
- As you gained more experience in X, what became more important and why?
- What would make today/this event successful for you?
- What still surprises you about X?
- What are your biggest goals right now?
- How do you spend your time?
- Playful questions like: Which do you like more — pancakes or waffles?
- What do you hate most about dating? (This question is both interesting and can help you avoid doing the thing they hate)
- What’s your favorite restaurant in the city? Why?
- Which Spotify playlist is the soundtrack to your life?
- What’s your favorite thing on the menu? Why?
- What’s the craziest thing someone tried to order this week?
- Have you ever written somebody’s name wrong on purpose because you didn’t like them?
Step 5: Don’t be overwhelmed by constant talkers
There are people who take up the whole conversation and hardly leave any room for others. They chatter so much that you have the feeling you have to put them down with a stun gun before you can throw in a word yourself. Don’t be intimidated by people like that. Just because someone talks a lot doesn’t mean they have a lot of interesting things to say. Often the opposite is the case!
In a situation like this, you can interrupt the person speaking. You should actually do that! You just have to make sure that you do it kindly and confidently. Because without kindness you can hurt the other person because they may not even notice that they are not letting anyone have their say. And without self-confidence, the other person will ignore you and just keep talking.
You can use ‘transition phrases’ to interrupt, such as: “wow… that reminds me of…” or you can interrupt by asking the talker a question. That will detour the conversation and you can steer it to where you want it to go.
You will notice:
- Interrupting people is not that easy. But it gets easier with practice
- Most think they don’t do it because they’re so nice, but they can’t. They lack courage and self-confidence.
- In this case you first have to work on your demeanor and have the courage to interrupt.Then it will become easier and easier.
Body language to become more social and open
Words are only a small part of social communication. Much more happens through body language. It shows how you feel and how credible your statements are.
Imagine you have to give a presentation and someone asks you how you are … When your hands are shaking, your whole upper body is tense and you say, “Oh nonsense, I’m not worried. It will be very easy ” then nobody will believe you!
We trust body language more because it’s harder to fake. Body language is also important if you want to become more communicative and open.
Step 6. Talk to everyone
You are now highly motivated. You want to implement the tips and really get started. But at the crucial moment you think to yourself: “Oh, I don’t feel so confident right now and I don’t feel like talking either.” And you stay in your comfort zone. For most people this is normal.
Do yourself a favor: Forget your excuses and challenge yourself even if you don’t feel like it. Use every opportunity to overcome yourself and gain new experiences. Practice with a few words to the person at the newstand, or the waitstaff serving you food. This is how you learn. Every conversation and rejection expand your wealth of experience and strengthen your social skills.
Remember, you have a lot of experience to catch up on. The secret to success always remains the same: Don’t just read, ACT too.
Now all you have to do is start. Maybe start small… but start! You will be surprized how quickly you start to feel comfortable being social with people. Even if you have previously had the feeling that something is wrong with you and you are not made for social contact – don’t believe that rubbish! EVERYONE can become more communicative and self-confident.