If you feel like you’re the awkward person at social events or you struggle to enter into conversations because you’re shy, it can impact your social life and your career.
However, you can start improving your social skills by following these 9 strategies and soon, you’ll be able to enter into conversations with confidence.
1. Make eye contact.
“It is an idiotically simple thing, but it remains one of the most impactful life hacks around,” writes Quora user Brad Porter. “The most attractive quality in a person is confidence. But ‘be confident’ is not very good advice. Instead, find the best proxy for confidence, in terms of interactive behaviour. And that’s eye contact.”
2. Put your smartphone in your pocket.
And keep it there until your conversation or meeting is over. Basil Chiasson puts it simply: “Pay attention. Look at them. Stop what you’re doing. No interruptions.”
This is another simple yet effective habit that can be executed immediately and does not require any effort or skill.
Don’t underestimate the power of smiling.
Additionally, laugh and tell jokes, recommends Quora user Craig Fraser. People unconsciously mirror the body language of the person they’re talking to. If you want to be likeable, use positive body language and people will naturally return the favor.
4. Call people by name.
The next time someone greets you by name or uses your name mid-conversation, remember how great that feels.
If you have trouble putting names to faces, try different strategies, such as writing them down or using imagery or rhymes associated with the name. Quora user Howard Lee suggests repeating names verbally when you’re first introduced and then twice more in your head.
Listen more than you speak, says Quora user Mark Bridgeman: “You have two ears, only one mouth. That’s the ratio you should use them with.”
6. Give a firm handshake.
“Not too hard, certainly not limp and soft, and with no dominance play,” writes Tony Vincent.
Research shows that people decide whether or not they like you within seconds of meeting you. A firm handshake contributes largely to that first impression, as do strong posture and positive body language.
7. Don’t talk too much.
When someone tells a story, stop your urge to follow up with an example from your life. Instead, say, “Wow, that’s cool!”
8. When someone is interrupted in the midst of the story, ask that person to continue.
“Hey, can you please finish your story about your bicycle ride? The last thing you mentioned is that dog started following you and then someone interrupted. Can I hear the rest please?” People LOVE this. They feel uncomfortable when their stories are interrupted, and this hack will give them a feeling that they are appreciated and heard.
9. Don’t complain.
We all know those people (I like to call them “energetic vampires” because they suck your energy) that cannot stop whining and complaining about everything, from their latest project to political situation in Laos. Complaining is repellent for people. Whenever you start complaining, try to change the channel.
Suggestions are always better than complaints!