Effective communication-How to talk with strangers
Conversations are the most effective tools to build on any kind of relationships. In the personal space, talking leads to strengthening bonds, remember the first time you met your special someone and made sure you said the right things to create a good impression.
Our professional life is just as important. As a newbie in my first job, I was often amazed how colleagues would get target clients and the deals their way only by the gift of the gab. Needless to say, networking and socializing play important part in our workplace progressions.
However, being a talker is one thing but holding on your listener’s attention is another. More often than not, the inability to bring value to a conversation leads to banal encounters. I agree the personality of an individual definitely drives the pace of the conversation. An introvert might not feel very enthusiastic about talking as much as it would make anyone who connects through communicating.
This article is all about those socially awkward lads who have the right intentions but trail down due to their inability to keep the conversation going. Fortunately, there are some right tricks which can help anyone in such situations.
Whether you are jumping onto a conversation with a stranger or with someone who you have known for years, you can use these tricks to avoid the awkwardness:
Step 1: The ice breaker
One of the most common problems with a bunch of people who wish to contribute to a discussion is the inability to break the ice. One can blame it on the hesitation or the time consuming process of looking for just the right way to introduce oneself, the clueless speakers decide to take a step back.
Fortunately or unfortunately there is no formula to fit in a group discussion. There are however easy tips to pave in your voice smoothly.
- Look for even the slightest pause and jump in with your idea.
- Pick on a common point with an example that can be relatable to the lot.
- Introduce yourself through your job profile or educational background.
- Oppose a point of view if you disagree and put forth your idea effectively.
- If you are good with words, try quoting a famous personality or share an Urdu couplet to draw attention.
Step 2: Open ended questions
When we are conversing with new people, our aim is always to take it further. However when in the middle of the conversation, the novelty of the camaraderie can lead to putting out questions which need no deep analysis. A simple yes and no is suffice to answer them. These questions are called open ended questions.
It is always better to ask questions which can further the conversation. For example, rather than asking, do you love fruits? Why don’t you pose a question as :
Are you a fruit eating person or a juice person?
Then maybe the answer can take the discussion into the benefits of the choice or why one choice is easier than another. So on and so forth the discussion can take its course.
Step 3: Listen to hear rather than to respond
It is a human tendency to jump onto conclusions merely on the basis of incomplete information. When we want to participate in a group discussion, we should focus on hearing the other’s point of view with sincerity. More often than not, many speakers put out their idea and the listeners at the receiving end, form an opinion about the speaker. The speaker loses out on the audience because he is categorized as aggressive and impatient.
Solution is simple, be all ears and hear out everyone with sincerity. Wait for your turn. After all there is a reason why it is termed as a discussion and not a debate.
The nation wants to know!
Well! not always.
Step 4: Observe and deduce areas of interests
I was once in a gathering where I was around many new faces. Except for the host, I hardly knew anyone well. With a wine glass in one hand and cellphone in another I had nothing to contribute after the initial pleasantries. Just then I overhead a group of guests in one corner talking about cars. That was my cue, I threw Tesla into the discussion and spoke about the future of driverless car. One thing led to another and I never realized I had been talking and listening to the group for over an hour.
Moral of the story is, keep both your ears and eyes open.
Step 5: Be natural
I am sure this is the most common mistake that many of us commit. In lieu of being accepted in a group we present opinions and ideas that might not conform to our beliefs. This at no level means, one should put across controversial or emotionally hurtful statements. All I intend to say is, when you wish to be welcomed in a new group, you should focus on being natural. The more natural you are, more will be your ability to steer the conversations in areas where you can talk confidently.
Therefore before you zone out into your corner at that party remember the gift of gab is not that difficult to attain.