The ability to express your thoughts clearly and persuasively is a powerful tool that can help you throughout your life. Luckily, it’s possible to learn how to talk to anyone with confidence.
The power of a good conversationalist is their ability to project confidence, even when feeling uncertain. Here are five tips you can use to ace your next conversation.
1. Find Something in Common
There’s a reason people resort to talking about the weather in awkward social situations — it’s something everyone can observe and comment on. If you want to strike up a conversation with a stranger, consider commenting on something you have in common.
Using shared context as a conversation starter can open pathways to more meaningful topics. Comments about the song playing in the restaurant or the length of the line you’re waiting in to show that you’re friendly and open to conversation. Use these icebreakers to make you and the people around you feel more comfortable.
2. Ask People Questions About Themselves
Small talk can feel painful for anyone. But, it’s sometimes necessary in personal or professional settings where you don’t know many people. If you’re trying to survive small talk with a stranger, try asking them a few simple questions about themselves, such as:
- What do you do for work?
- Where are you from?
- Do you have any hobbies?
You can show you’re engaged with their answers by maintaining eye contact, asking follow-up questions or adding to the conversation.
Research has found that people who ask more questions are seen as more likable. By asking people about themselves, you can portray friendliness while also relieving pressure to carry the conversation alone.
3. Practice Strong Body Language
Part of feeling confident involves acting confident. Body language can influence how you feel and how others view you. For example, a closed-off posture could make you feel defensive and cause others to feelunwelcome. On the other hand, confident body language — open posture, eyecontact and smiling — could help you feel and look more confident in whatyou’re saying.
Good posture can also help you command a space. For example, holding your head high and rolling back your shoulders can help you breathe more easily, which can help you project a confident voice. Thinking about body language can help you convey your message to anyone.
4. Prepare for Rough Patches
Like many things in life, conversations don’t always go exactly as planned. Even the most experienced socialite runs into rough patches occasionally. Preparing a few strategies ahead of time can help you recover from awkward moments as smoothly as possible.
For example, when talking to someone you disagree with, you might use questions to redirect the conversation toward something more neutral.
5. Improve Your Self-Confidence
Strategies for conversation can help you become more comfortable talking to others, but self-reflection may help you, as well. If your social struggles stem from a specific experience or a mental health condition such as social anxiety, it’s important to work through the root issues holding you back.
Journaling, self-reflection and talking to a trained therapist can help you discover the source of your discomfort, so you can counteract it and become a more confident version of yourself.
Learn to Talk to Anyone
Though some people may appear naturally confident, chances are, they feel nervous sometimes, too. Learning confidence takes practice. It’s okay to make a few conversational faux pas as you’re learning.
By using these tips, you can start to improve your confidence when talking to others, no matter who they are.
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