Hey, it’s Graham here, and I want to talk about starting conversations with strangers. And there’s a little trick here that I’ve worked out that I want to share with you which I think is kind of important. So the reason why starting conversations with strangers is important is that it’s in conversations and our social skills that our confidence is most important and is most obvious to other people.
Now, there’s no magic silver bullet to starting conversations with strangers. The reason for that is that it doesn’t really matter what you say to people when you first meet them. Everything that’s really important is in the attitude that you have. If you’re nervous and insecure or edgy when you meet somebody, particularly a woman, they’re going to sense that and they’re going to feel like, “I’m bit uncomfortable about talking to this person.” You’re not going to come across as very confident.
So the secret to starting conversations with strangers is to practice. Now, one of the steps in my free confidence building e-course has you do exactly this, to practice starting conversations with strangers. And it’s a lot easier than you might think. See, during the day, we normally interact with a lot of people who are in some kind of service industry who are there to do something for us. It doesn’t involve a whole lot of thinking, like scanning our groceries, bus drivers, waitresses. There are all sorts of service industries with people where we come into contact with strangers that we could start conversations with.
But there’s a trick to this. Most people begin a conversation with a stranger by asking how they are, and everybody gets so used to this that we start to just fob it off, particularly if the person is just somebody at the checkout in the supermarket, say. They figure, “We don’t really care how they are.” And they get used to just answering, “Oh, good,” or, “Yeah, okay,” or, “Yeah, how are you going?”
So what you need to do is do something a little different, and I’ve discovered that this totally works. Rather than asking how they are when you first meet them, wait until they’re halfway through whatever it is that they need to do for you – whether it’s selling you a ticket on the bus or scanning your groceries or asking for your order at the restaurant – and then say to them, “So how are you doing today?” When you ask a person genuinely how they’re doing and it becomes somewhat unexpected, you’ll find that they really respond.
I was telling a psychologist friend of mine this and she said, “Yeah, the reason why that works is because you’re breaking their flow.” So when you ask the supermarket checkout operator “How are you going today?” while they’re in the middle of scanning your groceries, they’ll pick up that you’re not just another guy who doesn’t really care, and you’ll find that they actually respond genuinely and they start talking and then it’s so easy to get into a conversation. I find nowadays when I go through the supermarket checkout, generally I’m grabbing my groceries and I’m ready to leave, and the supermarket checkout operator is still talking to me while the next customer is waiting in line.
Now, there’s a second side effect to all this. When you start using this particular trick to improve your communication skills, you’ll find that strangers everywhere start responding to you more positively. In fact, you can’t help but notice that the whole world starts feeling like a more friendly place where strangers are actually interested in engaging with you rather than just wanting to fob you off because you’re just another person that doesn’t really care.
So get out there and start using this trick. It’s one of the skills that you’ll learn in my free confidence building e-course, but it’s one that you can really start straight away and get into. The more that you practice starting these conversations with strangers, the more you’ll get at comfortable and at ease with it and the more you’ll find other people warming to you and starting to open up to you more and more.Then this effect will flow over from the service industry people who you’re interacting with regularly into your friends, into other strangers, people who you meet at parties. People everywhere will start appearing more friendly simply because you’re becoming a better communicator. You’re more relaxed and you’re more interested in how people are really going.
So try this out while you’re out there in your daily life and practice starting conversations with strangers to build your confidence.