November 2nd, 2013
In the last episode we talked about how to overcome your fears by ploughing through the discomfort. Regardless of whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, you can succeed at striking up conversations with strangers.
Conversation skills can improve through practice, so in this episode I am going to show you how to persist in conversations.
When you start a conversation with an individual or group, chances are that you’ve summoned all your courage to reach this point. Great work, but what happens when despite your efforts the conversation falls flat?
You’ll probably feel really disheartened and maybe even discouraged to try it again. Don’t worry! This is where I show you how a little persistence in conversations goes a long way.
Keep it simple
A lot of energy and time is consumed by overthinking your opening, trying hard to formulate the perfect introduction. The fact is if you keep it simple you’ll find it easier to connect in conversation.
In the video, I didn’t use any special opening line. I simply went over and said hello. Choose an introduction that’s congruent with your emotion.
What if you’re feeling morose or your energy level is really low? Don’t struggle against it. Accept that you will falter and the conversation may hit dry spells. If you try to perform too much you’ll be piling on an incredible amount of unnecessary pressure that will foil you.
The solution is to just rekindle the connection you’re building a few times when needed. See, that’s persistence for you!
Persistence overcomes most hurdles
There were a few hurdles for me to overcome. The girl I spoke to said her English was very bad. Then the group broke off into two parts.
Most people would be put off by this. However as you see, gentle persistence moves the conversation forwards. The secret is to remain relaxed and comfortable. If the group split then so be it. If she isn’t fluent in your language then don’t sweat it. The conversation doesn’t have to be spectacular it just has to be comfortable and persistent enough to progress.
Note where the conversation transitions. She begins to ask me questions. Now it becomes a dialogue.
Putting it all together…
The more you invest in listening the more information you can gather to talk about.Sometimes people can be lethargic. It isn’t always because they don’t like you. In some cases they’ve been travelling or had a long day. Don’t try too hard to entertain them. In these cases it can be better to aim for comfort.
When someone shows vulnerability or makes an admission (e.g. their English isn’t good) it shows their deepening rapport with you. Make them feel relaxed and use mime as a substitute to communicate. Language barriers don’t have to stop you.
Finally if you are faced with new energy, like a friend joining the conversation, don’t panic and get yourself out of sync. Respond to it in your own time.
You’ve either made a good impression or not, so just relax. The girls left with some great places to visit and I got invited to tag along. Focus on being friendly and persistent and you never know what might happen!
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