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How To Talk To Strangers With Confidence

how to talk to anyone

Experts estimate 85 percent of your success comes not from your skills or knowledge, but from your ability to connect with other people. Here are some tricks to talk to anyone anywhere.

PART ONE: INITIAL IMPRESSION

Within 10 seconds, everyone you meet forms an impression which largely determines whether they’ll like, trust, and respect you. Here are some tips to help you win their hearts and minds in the first few seconds:

  1. The Flooding Smile: Don’t flash an immediate smile when you greet someone. Instead, look at the other person’s face for a second. Then let a big, warm, responsive smile flood over your face and flow into your eyes. It will engulf the recipient like a warm wave. The split-second delay convinces people your flooding smile is genuine and only for them.
  2. Firm Handshake. The handshake is one of the most important nonverbal communication cues because it can set the mood for the entire conversation.  A firm handshake will give you instant credibility, while a weak handshake will make you appear fragile.
  3. Undivided attention: Give them undivided attention by making direct eye contact with the person. Focussing 100 percent towards the new person sends a powerful message “I think you are very, very special.”.
    Note: If possible, keep your eyes alive. Show happiness, sadness, surprise, excitement, confusion, or whatever emotion matches your words at a given time.
  4. Open Body language: While what you say is important, what your body is doing can tell a completely different story. Most people subconsciously use collapsed body language that communicates, “I’m small! Don’t pay attention to me!” Also, crossing your arms is a visual clue that shows you are turned off by what is going on around you. Here are some tips:
    a. Enter the room with confidence as if everyone likes you already.
    b. Use open body languages, such as relaxed arms at your sides, a slight smile and upright posture.

PART TWO: LIVELY CONVERSATIONS

Ask good questions
Being interested in the other person is essential. People love to talk about themselves. Search for questions that will help you understand what makes the other person tick, without getting too personal. “What do you do?” doesn’t further the relationship nearly as much as, “Why did you choose your profession?” In every conversation, focus on getting to know the other person. Here are some generic open-ended questions you may ask

Safe Questions to ask:

  1. What is your favorite TV series? Which series are you watching right now? Note: You can check their social media profiles to know their interests in advance 🙂 . People love to talk with people with similar interests.
  2. What is your favorite movie of all time? Do you cry while watching movies?
  3. If you could go on a trip right now, where would you go? Why would you pick that place?
  4. What’s your passion? What’s your dream job? When are you planning to follow it?
  5. What is the one thing you want to accomplish most in your life?
  6. What was your childhood like? What were you the most afraid of?  What is the weirdest thing you believed in as a child?
  7. When you were little, what did you want to be?
  8. Who are your best friends? How did you meet them? What do you love most about them?
  9. What’s the last book you read?
  10. Are you a fan of any professional sports teams?

Interesting Questions:

  1. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
  2. What is the best gift you have ever gotten?
  3. Who has been one of the most influential people in your life?
  4. What’s on your bucket list?
  5. If you could take your favorite celebrity out on a date, who would it be, and where would you take her/him?
  6. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
  7. What’s your funniest “drunk” story?
  8. If you could choose a superpower, what would it be and why?
  9. If you had $10 million in the bank, what would you be doing differently?
  10. If someone could tell you the truth about the future, what would you want to know?

Match the Mood:

Try to understand the mood of the person first. Start with their level and slowly uplift their mood.  Every mother knows this trick, she doesn’t shout “shut up” at her crying babies. She picks them up, cries sympathetically matching baby’s misery for few minutes and then gradually transitions it into happy sounds.

Be a Word Detective:

Listen to your conversation partner’s every word for clues to his or her preferred topic. The evidence is bound to slip out. Like Sherlock Holmes, you have the clue to the subject that’s hot for the other person. Find out what triggers the other person and shift the conversation slowly in his/her favorite topics.

Find connections:

People love discovering they have something in common with others. This shows they belong to the same tribe. Sometimes, those connections are obvious (same company, same alma mater or same conference). Sometimes, they’re teased out through conversation. If two people start talking about “Game of Thrones,” then it’s game over. They’re best friends. If you uncover something in common, call it out. The more shared connections you have with someone, the more likely you’ll hit it off.
Note: You can check their social media profiles to find out their favorite topics and start talking about your common interests.

Affirmative movements: You can show empathy with simple actions of agreement like nodding your head or smiling.  These actions let people know that you are on their side and that you can identify with their plight.  You can even use laughter when appropriate.

Parroting:

Never be left speechless again. Like a parrot, simply repeat the last few words your conversation partner says. That puts the ball right back in his or her court, and then all you need to do is listen.

Being witty in conversations:

A witty remark is a funny, sarcastic, or ironic comment that seems to immediately follow the event or remark that prompted it. Example: My dad, who’s an artist, once told me that he was happy I didn’t become an artist as there’s no employment security. I told a friend about this, and he replied: “Then he must be happy that you instead became an entrepreneur,” It’s funny, and this is an example of an “ironic remark” type of humor.
Another way is by purposefully “misreading” a situation, or acting as though you think a situation is different than what it obviously is. Example: a Few days back, I was at a birthday party and we were divided into three groups. We had games where we competed against each other and out of the three groups, my group had the worst results. I remarked “Well, at least we got third place,” and the table laughed. It’s funny because I purposely misread the situation by acting as though the third place was a good thing when really, third place was the last place.

The technique (The Premature We):

Create the sensation of intimacy with someone even if you’ve met just moments before. Scramble the signals in their psyche by skipping conversational levels one and two and cutting right to level three and four. Elicit intimate feelings by using the magic words we, us, and ours. At a party, you might say to someone standing behind you ate the buffet line, “Hey, this looks great. They really laid out a nice spread for us.” Or, “Uh-oh, we’re going to get fat if we let ourselves enjoy all of this.

PART THREE: STRENGTHEN YOUR RELATIONSHIP

Remember the name

Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language. Using a person’s name is crucial, especially when meeting those we don’t see very often. Respect and acceptance stem from simple acts such as remembering a person’s name and using it whenever appropriate.”

Amaze Them with What You Remember About Them


Right after you’ve talked to someone at a party, take out your pen. On the back of his or her business card write notes to remind you of the conversation: his favorite restaurant, sport, movie, or drink; whom she admires, where she grew up, a high school honor; or maybe a joke he told. In your next communication, toss off a reference to the favorite restaurant, sport, movie, drink, hometown and share the laugh over the great joke.

Create a Friendly “Private Joke” with Them

The technique (Instant History): When you meet a stranger you’d like to make less a stranger, search for some special moment you shared during your first encounter. Then find a few words that reprieve the laugh, the warm smile, the good feelings the two of you felt. Now, just like old friends, you have a history together, and Instant History. With anyone, you’d like to take part in your personal or professional future, look for special moments together. Then make them a refrain.

Give compliments:

William James, American psychologist, and philosopher said: “The deepest principle of human nature is a craving to be appreciated. Give people praise when they accomplish something. Make sure you give praise immediately after they do something. Be the first one to clap for or congratulate someone. Here are some creative ways to appreciate someone:

  1. Compliment people behind their back: A compliment one hears is never as exciting as the one he overhears. A priceless way to praise is not by telephone, not by telegraph, but by tell-a-friend. This way you escape possible suspicion you are an apple-polishing, bootlicking, egg-sucking, backscratching sycophant trying to win brownie points. You also leave recipients with the happy fantasy that you are telling the whole world about their greatness.
  2. Killer Compliment: Whenever you are talking with a stranger you’d like to take part of your professional or personal future, search for one attractive, specific, and unique quality he or she has. At the end of the conversation, look the individual right in the eye. Say his or her name and proceed to curl all ten toes with the Killer Compliment. Here are some rules:
    Rule #1: Deliver your Killer Compliment to the recipient in private
    Rule #2: Make your Killer Compliment credible
    Rule #3: Confer only one Killer Compliment per half-year on each recipient.

Add value:

Find ways to make yourself invaluable and people will appreciate you. Being of service to others, even in small ways, is a great way to connect. Maybe you have a tip on a job that will be coming open, or maybe you know someone who is looking for the services they offer. It could be something as small as lending them a book or telling them about a great TED talk or YouTube video on a topic they are interested in. Learn to embrace generosity and you will make yourself and others more successful.

If you want to learn more, we recommend the following books:
1. How to talk to anyone
2. Improve your social skills