An Introvert’s Guide to Starting a Conversation
For introverts, approaching people is out of their comfort zone. They do not like talking much, and approaching people is physically and mentally draining for them. Some would argue that they’d rather not interact with humans at all. However, interpersonal communication is an important part of life. At one point, every introvert has to break out of their shell and be less withdrawn.
The best way for an introvert to become more sociable is to learn how to effectively start a conversation. It is a good training for people who understand the importance of honing their social skills despite their introverted tendencies.
To appear more approachable and less anti-social, here are a few tips on how introverts can start a conversation:
Know when is the best time to talk
Effective communication is a matter of timing. You do not just ask questions to people and start a conversation if they are busy or when they are not in the mood to talk. Be emphatic and analyze signals that show if the other person is interested to talk to you or not.
Despite the fact that introversion is often characterized by shyness, you have to act confident when talking to people. Confidence invoke credibility and trust–things you should aim for when having interpersonal communication. An assertive person makes discussions lively and interesting, as well.
Throw away inhibitions
When talking to people you are not close with, you will always feel an internal struggle to question your social skills. You will start to ask yourself whether you are boring, if you look too awkward or stupid. This monologue only stops you from connecting effectively. Reassure yourself by asking “so what?” Throw away your inhibitions and believe that the other person is not judging you.
Smile, look friendly
A happy disposition makes a conversation less awkward. Smile and be approachable to encourage comfortable conversation. Forget about your blank introvert’s face for a while, and fake it like you’re used to smiling a lot. Poker face doesn’t exactly incite conversation, so lighten up!
In situations wherein you don’t know the person, it’s good to start the conversation with an introduction. Our parents warn us not to talk to strangers so to ward off any doubts from the person you are talking to, you have to begin your chat by introducing yourself. To tell your name and related details helps build connection, trust, and familiarity.
Begin with small talks
Small talks are the best way to start conversations. It might sound awkward but later on, these conversations will lead you to know more about the other person, which eventually lead familiarity and relationship. It’s essential to find a common ground and one way to do that is by engaging in small talks.
Ask open-ended questions
Communication is not a one way thing. To keep the ball rolling, always ask open-ended questions. This is the best way to encourage answers, more than the yes or no. Examples of open-ended questions are: “What is your favorite book,” “why did you take Journalism,” or “how was your day at work?”
Listen and give thoughtful remarks
If there is one thing that introverts are good at during conversations, it would be listening. Listening and giving thoughtful remarks help keep the other person calm and open. Listening well also prevents you from giving awkward, unrelated remarks that might kill the conversation.
Even introverts need to be in a healthy social environment despite their preferences to be alone. Knowing how to effectively begin a conversation with people is the initial step in making yourself less introverted.
You don’t necessarily have to change. It’s just better to enjoy the moments being alone at times, but at the same time feel comfortable being social when the need arises. The tips above can help you get a healthier social life, and take an upward curve towards self-improvement.
Can you share other ways to start an engaging conversation?
(Photo credits: Universal Pictures + Summit Entertainment)