Ways To Boost Your Confidence And Talk To Anyone
It is not just introverts who struggle to talk to people, in fact, a surprising amount of the population would admit to feeling shy, awkward, or uncomfortable when it comes to striking up or holding down conversations with others. For others it can be even more daunting, sweaty palms, feelings of panic, and flushed cheeks, all of which make it hard to maintain a conversation. You don’t know what to say, how to start the conversation or keep it going, ultimately, you are worried you are going to make a fool of yourself and have feelings of self-doubt.
Self-doubt is perfectly common, especially in stressful situations. The way you feel about yourself will directly impact how you react to others. You might hold yourself back as a result. If you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed your conversation is likely to be stifled and labored. Whereas if you feel comfortable, at ease and confident then the conversation is likely to flow more freely.
The good news is, that it does not have to be that way. There are some steps you can take to help you feel more confident and get you talking to just about anyone. Below is a list of some great ways you can help yourself to overcome your conversational difficulties.
Accept that you are nervous
Being nervous is not a bad thing. It is something everyone will deal with, even the most confident of people still feel nervous. The difference is that a confident person will work through that nervousness and talk to people anyway. The best thing you can do when you feel nervous is to recognize it and accept that it is there and act anyway. After all, if you were feeling hungry you would accept it.
You are the only one who sees yourself that way
As was touched upon before, the way you see yourself will reflect the way you act. However, it is important to remember that the way you see yourself is not the way that everyone else sees you. Remember, that the people you have a conversation with are unlikely to pass the same judgment on yourself as you do. Chances are they will see you in a much more positive light so don’t let your internal critique stand in your way.
If you find yourself judging yourself harshly or thinking poorly of yourself then it is also important that you start treating yourself with some self-compassion. Everyone deserves a bit of care and kindness and having a bit of self-compassion can help you to feel more confident.
Practice practice practice
When you were younger and you couldn’t do something, what were you told to do? Practice. Practice makes perfect, and all that. Well, the same applies to conversations. There is no reason you cannot practice talking. You can talk to yourself in the mirror, use chat lines for free, or why not join a new club, group, or class to get yourself meeting and talking to new people in a relaxed and informal space. The more you do something the easy it will be and the more confident you will become.
Something as simple and practical as speaking slower can make a huge difference in a conversation and in turn your confidence levels. When you speak fast then those around you can sense your nervousness. Whereas a slower speech will give you more time to think and gather your thoughts and helps to give off the impression of confidence, which in turn will lead to you feeling more confident.
When it comes to having a conversation it can be really helpful to build the right impression from the outset. It can help to make everyone feel relaxed and to start building positive relationships that are built upon trust. Here are some ways you can help to get things started positively.
- Warm and genuine greetings. Simple things like a comforting and genuine smile can make a huge difference at the start of a conversation. People are more likely to connect with you and warn you quicker as it will help to put them at ease.
- When it is appropriate, shake hands confidently and always make eye contact. Avoiding eye contact can highlight your nervousness and act as a barrier to building trust between you.
- Don’t forget, to take your time, don’t speak too fast, and allow others to respond to any questions you might ask. If you ask them how they are, listen intently and let them respond to you. You can use body language such as smiling and nodding to show that you are listening to what they have to say.
Don’t be afraid of small talk
Some people may snigger at small talk referring to it as boring and pointless but it actually serves a great purpose. Small talk is a brilliant way to put everyone at ease, disarm them and get a conversation flowing without getting too deep from the outset. It also helps to build trust and report in a conversation. Asking someone questions about themselves, even if they might seem trivial, means that you are enquiring about them, that you are interested and are not just talking about yourself.
When it comes to small talk, ask open-ended questions that require more than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. Questions such as ‘what do you like about your job?’ or ‘why is X your favorite hobby?’.
Try to enjoy it
Enjoying a conversation when you are naturally shy may not sound like the easiest feat but if you allow yourself to relax into it then you might find that actually talking with someone and finding out about them or whatever topic you are discussing is enjoyable. Try not to take yourself or the situation too seriously, even when it is a high-stakes conversation. Remember, you are all just people at the end of the day, and having a conversation is one of the most natural things in the world, so take the pressure off yourself a little.
Categories: Outside Contributors