Sometimes you need to fly solo when going somewhere. A waiting room, the store, an obscure artist’sband concert–all of these situations are awkward when you don’t know anyone. I like to describe myself as a shy extrovert and these situations are often uncomfortable, but can be easily overcome. I am here to share with you the strategies I use to start a conversation, anywhere that I am.
Fix Your Face.
Besides being one my favorite things to say to my boyfriend, body language is key in starting a conversation with anyone. A simple change in body language can make an enormous difference. Uncrossing your arms, lifting your head, meeting a gaze and a friendly smile open the doors to conversation. Even if the individual does not respond, do not feel defeated, simply continue your friendly body language.
Say Hello and Be Genuine.
Whenever I walk into a room, where it is obvious I just walked in (think waiting room) and I meet someone’s gaze, I always smile and say, “Hello, how are you?” This is simple but can make a great impression, especially for the receptionist who doesn’t expect you to ask her. When you are saying hello to someone it is important to:
- Look them in the face
- Say Hello clearly (no mumbling!)
- Follow up with a response
- This one is especially important if they have said hello to you first. Simply responding, asking how they are, or expanding on why you are fine or not is always memorable. Even if the person really wasn’t looking for an answer, it is always polite to respond. It also shows surrounding people how open you are. I have had many conversations start from people responding to my hello to another person.
Shy? Find Another Shy Person.
In bars, I am especially introverted. Whenever I am out and feeling out of place, I always scan the room for a person just like me. You might think ,” Two introverts don’t make an extrovert.” Well, sometimes they do. I have used lines such as:
- “I don’t really know anybody so I am just going to sit here!”
- Why It Works: First, it is letting them know that you are not with anyone and looking for someone to talk to. Second, it opens the door for them to respond with a follow-up question because odds are, you surprised them!
- “Hi, how are you? Have you been here before? I’ve never have!”
- Two things will happen. They will either respond and say that they have never been here either or they will say they have and tell you something about the place.
Find a Couch or A Table
Conferences are made to network and interact with people. Many people are in the same position as you and are trying to network and get to know people. Whenever I am at a conference,I grab my generic conference snacks and aim to sit in a conversation area with couches or chairs. More times than not, someone who is tired of standing will also sit down.
Do you have a strategy for starting a conversation? Do you have a question about starting a conversation? Leave a comment and follow below!