“Should I go to the party and if I go, will anybody talk to me?”, “How should I start the conversation?”
Are you scared of meeting new people and feel like locking yourself in a room? Then this article is intended for you. In today’s world, if you think you can achieve everything on your own, without making contacts with people, you are absolutely wrong. You need to get out of your comfort zone and start socializing with people. Networking is simply talking to people, making connections and developing rapport with them. Socializing is important for getting your work done from people. It improves your personality and will also benefit you a lot in your career.
But Networking may not be an easy skill to master for everyone. Nobody is born with the capability of networking; you have to learn it and practice it in everyday life.
Here are some tips if you’re struggling to make new friends:
- Start small: If you are shy to talk to someone you see for the first time, it is natural. There’s nothing wrong with you. You can begin socializing by taking small initiatives like talking to people you see every day but haven’t talked even once. Keep a goal of saying ‘Hi’ to at least 2 new persons each day. A series of such successful conversations will make you more confident in the process. Make it a habit to pass a smile whenever you see someone known. It is the key to success!
- Ask questions: The best way to ‘break the ice’ is to begin conversations with simple questions. Ask people about themselves. It always works! How are you? How is your college? Ask about hobbies, favourite music, favourite movie actor, and many such things. One useful tip: address people by their name. “People love hearing their own name” says Dale Carnegie in his best-selling book How to Win Friends and Influence People. Refer to someone as Mr./Ms. Name, if elder to you or else refer to the person by his/her first name.
- Be a good listener: Today’s world is all about ‘me, myself and I’. It is not about you. Great listeners are the ones whom people love because they listen patiently to whatever the other person says. If you are shy to talk, become a sincere listener and thus without taking much effort, you can impress people and change your social life!
- Be yourself: While you do have to make an effort to be more social than normal, you shouldn’t be artificial. Do not try to be someone you are not! Don’t be scared of being judged. You can still get along with people when you are yourself, in fact, people may like you more.
- Enrich your mind: Friendships can be made when people are attracted to you. People remember you when you make them laugh, entertain them or intellectually challenge them. In short, you ought to be interesting! You should have working knowledge about diverse topics like Deepika Padukone winning Filmfare to Sachin Tendulkar retiring to the coming Lok Sabha polls to the latest Hyundai car launch! This can be done by reading as widely as you can and interacting with people from different fields.
- Be generous: Social networking works on the basic principle of ‘give and take’. Whenever somebody helps you, do show gratitude to that person, so that next time he/she won’t hesitate to help you. It is said ‘think twice before you say anything’ but a useful advice is – never think before saying ‘thank you’.
- Do not judge people: The two pillars of social success are respect and trust. Remember that everybody cannot be like you or cannot be the way you want them to be. Try to think as the other person by stepping into his shoes before judging him and talking ill of him. Always praise a person behind his back and tell his negatives in front of him.
- Quality but not quantity: Networking is not about having 100s of people on your contact list or having 1000s of online friends – a few number of ‘deep’ relations will also do the trick. You should believe in maintaining relationships forever. As there’s no way to manage ten kids without help, the same goes with networking. Spend extra time on the people you actually know and try to stay in touch with them!
Hope you will find these tips useful in your life. If you have some interesting anecdotes on how you overcame your shyness, do share in comments.