Meeting strangers is something we do often. It’s part of life, and, most first time encounters are awkward. We meet new people in our professional lives and that creates anxiety. Even in social situations, it can be difficult. As you become more familiar with others, the apprehension subsides. It’s a process with a learning curve because everyone you meet is different. Personality type plays a big role in how we interact with others, carefully choosing words that are appropriate for the situation.
For some, like full-blown extroverts, meeting new people is a cinch — it comes quite naturally. For the majority, however, that’s simply not the case. You always want to make a good impression and be liked from the very first moment. It’s <em>how</em> to accomplish that goal you probably fret over most.
How Strangers Can Teach You to Personally Connect
Strangers are everywhere. No matter where you go, chances are excellent you’ll be surrounded by strangers. Even people you see all the time, but don’t interact with, are part of day-to-day life. You can learn from this common phenomenon by watching and listening. Taking a bit further, think about and compare those interactions to people you consider friends. At one point, you didn’t know one another, but now, you do. You’ve found you share an interest, hobby, or personality trait.
The most powerful way to create an instant connection with your friends, family, co-workers and everyone you will ever meet from this moment on is simple. Just shut up and listen. —Entrepreneur.com
When you were new to one another, think back to what led you to become friends. Perhaps you had children in the same classroom, shared office space, or, got your morning coffee from the same place. Whatever brought you in contact, you eventually interacted. So, when you meet someone new, be mindful of how he or she connects with you. Some are better than others, but, no matter their demeanor, you’ll still learn. Of course, those you’ll learn the most from are people who are instantly likable.
In business, connecting on a personal level is a must to foster a solid relationship. It’s the people you meet and help who will be some of your best brand ambassadors. If you want to connect with others nearly instantaneously, pay close attention to strangers you meet who have that very ability. What you’ll notice is there are commonalities, like the following:
- They genuinely smile. This simple facial expression that indicates joy, pleasure, or entertainment, is very powerful. It sets the tone and makes you approachable. In addition, it conveys you are an amicable person. The trick is to do so naturally — a forced or fake smile will do the opposite of a genuine one. If you are a person with a natural scowl, then just think of something that makes you happy.
- They greet you and use your name. You’ve probably gone through a conversation with someone new and never once heard your own name. People who naturally connect, greet you with enthusiasm, and, use your name. It’s something our brains are hardwired to enjoy because it identifies us as individuals. Do the same: greet with eagerness, smile, and use his or her name. Just a few mentions will do a lot to establish a rapport.
- They interject levity. Another common part of interaction is the dreaded bore — the person who drones on and on about this or that. It’s the exact opposite of people whose company we most enjoy — those who make us laugh. Little anecdotes, small observations, and even humorous situations really help to break the ice. Not only is a great way to be amicable, it also helps to foster a more casual conversation. Just be mindful to use appropriate language and not go overboard.
- They gesticulate smartly. People who connect instantly gesticulate, but do so in a savvy manner. They use their hands and arms to show enthusiasm and energy, which helps to hone your attention. Use the same technique when you are meeting someone, but do so without going too far.
- They truly listen. There’s practically nothing more frustrating than being barraged by words without being able to reply. People who naturally connect do so in-part, by letting others talk, and, by listening. When you meet someone for the first time, one of your goals should be to get them to talk about themselves.
Another commonality is they talk to everyone. No, not in a babbling or bombastic manner, but in an inclusive way. If you adopt this practice, small talk will flow naturally and you’ll be able to connect faster. Connecting and continuing the Communication is what builds the Relationship. If it is a Relationship worth building, continue the process and you will move to Trust which brings on a higher level of interaction and experience which can transform your life. Go out and meet new people … and see where your journey takes you!