Talking to Strangers: Tips for Maximizing Your Experience
Do you have a “talking to strangers” strategy? I’m an introvert and had to get used to initiating conversations with people I did not know at all. It all started when I launched my online business in 2006 and began attending live events, conferences, and workshops where I felt very alone and overwhelmed among hundreds of people who were strangers to me. But by using the tips I will share with you here, I began to enjoy the process and to build my business as well.
7 Tips to Help You When Talking to Strangers
lf you feel like you are naturally shy but you want to talk to a stranger, it can be difficult to think about how you’re going to do it or what excuse to use. Even the thought of opening your mouth to say something to somebody you’re not familiar with can be very daunting, so here are some tips to help you make conversation with strangers.
- Smile and Say Hello
Sometimes it’s as simple as smiling and saying hello. To most people, this will send across the message that you want to make conversation and that you are open. If they choose to ignore this, it’s clear that they don’t want a conversation, so it’s time to move on. At a live event, workshop, or conference most people are there to learn and to connect with the other participants, so they tend to be more open to engaging in conversation throughout the event.
- Imagine They Are a Friend or Colleague
The more you think about the fact that you’ve never spoken to them before and you don’t know them at all, the scarier it will become when you think about making a conversation. Imagine they are a friend or colleague you haven’t met in person yet, and visualize the situation turning out positively.
- Forget About What Others Might Think
The main reason we choose not to do many things in life is because we are worried about what other people will think about it. The fear of embarrassment is one of the greatest fears that we experience in society, but once you get rid of this, you’ll be able to achieve a lot more. These days I have fun with people and find they may think me strange at first but soon are accepting and anxious to engage in conversation. This is joyous for both of us in the ling run.
- Find Something to Talk About
This could be something such as, “Excuse me, I really like your shoes, where did you get them from?” or “Have you been to this event before?” You don’t need to have anything particularly special to say, and it will be quite clear whether the other person is happy to continue the conversation or would rather get away. Once you get past the opening line, move into the topic that you truly would like to discuss. I approach this with the thought of “how may I serve you?” in my mind, and then work to discover the answer to that question during the short time I have to speak with them.
- Ask Open Questions
If you want to start a proper conversation with a stranger, you should ask an open question rather than a closed one. An open question is one which cannot be answered with either “yes” or “no”. This forces the stranger to either completely ignore you (most people won’t do this at a live event for fear of seeming rude) or give a longer answer, thus initiating further conversation.
- Know When to Stop Talking
Listening is a lost art that must become a part of your personality if you are going to succeed at talking to strangers and engaging them. Introduce yourself and then allow the other person to share something about themselves. Rather than talking and talking about yourself, ask questions about them but don’t be too intimidating. Know when to stop the conversation and walk away.
- Use the Strategies I’m Sharing Here to Connect with Potential Clients
I have now attended, spoken and presented at, or hosted more than one hundred live events. Each time I meet people who are ideal prospects and clients for me and I make the most of these opportunities. At the most recent one I was looking for people who wanted to become authors. I met eight or nine of them and in each case I offered them a course I teach on this topic as a gift. I also met three people who expressed interest in my online marketing incubator, which is my mentor program. Because we were all attending the same event and helping one another to move forward in our lives and businesses, it made perfect sense to discuss what I have to offer with them.
I honestly do not understand how someone who claims to be a coach, mentor, or service provider can spend several days with hundreds of people and not have at least a few new clients by the time the event comes to a close. Don’t let what you have to offer remain a secret, especially is some of the people would make ideal clients for you.
You may also be interested in another article I’ve written on this same topic of talking to strangers.
Connie Ragen Green is a bestselling author, marketing mentor, and online marketing strategist, working with people and corporations on six continents to help them increase their credibility, expand their visibility, and explode their profitability. If you’re interested in getting started with the journey to online entrepreneurship and taking your life to the next level, find out more by downloading your Online Entrepreneur Blueprint and get started today.