Starting a conversation with someone is like going to a networking event where everyone is on the same position to make an approach.
If you’re like me, those networking events make me feel nervous because my Gremlin Greta shows up to remind me how I’ll fail miserably during a dialogue or worse, I’ll have nothing intelligent to say!
Meet Gremlin Greta
Let’s start by understanding that some form of anxiety is good. When you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach where fear or doubt begins to take over, it’s letting you know you’re alive. Any normal human being will feel different forms of anxiety when they are doing something that is out of their comfort zone.
And as uncomfortable as it may feel in the moment, it’s a good thing because it’s directly linked to you showing up for yourself to grow, to become a better version of you.
So, before I go into specific tips on starting a conversation with a stranger, you’ll need to know about the benefits linked to meeting new people.
There was a study done by Elizabeth W. Dunn and Michael Norton published in the NY Times where one group of train commuters was asked to talk to a stranger who sat next to them and the other group of people was told to follow standard commuter norm, meaning keeping to themselves (look at their phone, read a book).
By the end of the train ride, commuters who talked to a stranger reported having more positive experiences than those who sat in solitude.
“According to a 2004 study published in Science, commuting is associated with fewer positive emotions than any other common daily activity. By avoiding contact, we’re all following a collective assumption that turns out to be false.”
“The benefits of connecting with others also turns out to be contagious. Dr. Epley and Ms. Schroeder found that when one person took the initiative to speak to another in a waiting room, both people reported having a more positive experience.”
Basically, everyone benefits and leaves the interaction or conversation feeling better, happier.
Inevitably, talking to strangers brings out the best part of ourselves because we tend to lead with our best smile, our best demeanour, our best intention.
This demonstrates that body language is influencing us and others more then we realize.
Next week, I’ll share a personal story on how this played out for me and 4 tips you can use immediately to engage with a stranger, even during a pandemic.
PS: If you haven’t checked out my eBook Desirable and Deserving, here is where you can find out more.