Don’t talk to strangers! That’s something we learn as kids, but forget to unlearn as adults. But why is it important to talk to strangers? (Here’s why and how!)
Talking to strangers can have surprising benefits.
One of our writers learned about the world of investments from someone he met at a party. (He’s gone to explore that world with a fair return and it started with a conversation from a stranger)
You will be surprised at how much you learn just by speaking with more people.
So what can you do?
1. Nobody Cares About You
You wouldn’t be reading this article if it didn’t benefit you.
That’s the same way with speaking with people. Nobody wants to hear about you and your stories. All they really want to do, is be heard.
2. Listen and Be Genuinely Interested
Once you’ve come to terms that people aren’t really that interested in you, what do you do?
Open up a conversation with the simplest of things, like, “Hi, have you eaten?”
Then pay attention to the answer! You might get a sensing that the person didn’t have time to eat. From the answer, take a genuine interest to find out more.
For example, find out why the person didn’t have time to eat and be interested. You will find the person naturally open up to you.
3. Ask Intelligent Questions
Before you know it, you’ll find yourself engaged in a conversation well past food. This is where you establish your credibility and your ability to discuss deeper topics.
And how can you ensure you can keep up?
Read – spend about 15 to 30 minutes reading the news everyday
Glance through the headlines and read the first paragraphs. News articles are structured such that most of the news value is written in the first paragraph.
4. Never Lead with an Agenda
People will see through this right away.
To build lasting relationships that are mutually beneficial, requires effort and patience.
It simply cannot be done if you’re out to make a quick buck or gain a favour.
5. Embrace Failure
The inability to speak sometimes stem from a fear of failure.
Instead of letting the fear paralyse you from taking action, go into it head on. The cliche that every failure is a lesson is true (only if you let it be).
Not everyone will want to talk to you, but if you understand why, more and more people will open up to you in ways that will astound you.
If you have trouble speaking with strangers, you will need to get used to it. And this means practice. Make a conscious effort to put to use our pointers as much as possible.
Where to start?
Start with taxi drivers! – They meet many people a day and have a lot of experience with people engagement. Even if you don’t agree with some of the opinions, keep an open mind.
Know that you’re not there to change a person but to improve your ability to communicate.
Make Communicating a Habit
To make this a permanent part of your life, you must make communicating a habit.
There will be times when you feel like you just feel too shy and give up. These are the times that define you, so keep going.
With consistent effort, you will find yourself having more friends and naturally building long lasting relationships.