10 Ways to be more sociable
There are many moments in life, where we walk through a door at a party, office or some type of social gathering and actually wish that the Earth could swallow us whole. Everybody has their particular fears in life but for some social fears stand out more so than others. Yes to the world of introverts there is nothing worse than arriving at some social do, thinking that you have grown a fair bit in your social skills, walking the floor and ‘working’ the room, trying your best to seem ‘with-it’ and normal only to hear yourself being pointed out as ‘the quiet one’ when being introduced.
Now this doesn’t seem fair in a world that transacts on the loudest voice, the most vivacious personality and swankiest dressed in the room. So how does one even hope to compete? Well you no longer have to feel like the oddball or worse the overlooked wallflower on the side-lines, who by all means has a fantastic personality even if it is yet to be discovered.
1. People won’t know how amazing you can be unless you show them and tell them
You may be the most layered and fantastic personality in the world, well-travelled, accomplished, deep into the arts or a kung-fu master by night and a corporate executive by day, but the fact remains, that nobody out there is going to know this by themselves. Powers of intuition and a sense of mystery aside if you are communicating the magnificence of your being (in an unpretentious way) to the people in your social circles then you really have nobody to blame but yourself when things don’t go according to plan.
2. Everyone has something to contribute – what is your unique selling point
If we could look straight into each other’s souls just by looking into each other’s eyes we would all be amazed by the rich tapestries of everybody’s lives! With all of us out there, walking the Earth’s surface, it is without a doubt that within each of us lies a special ingredient, a talent or some sort of skill that is fundamentally and uniquely our own. Do you know yourself? Are you able to identify your own special skills and talents and bring those up in conversation? Take a little time for introspection and find out more about yourself and find ways to highlight that about yourself, really if you don’t nobody will. Take a look at this thought-provoking TED Talk that handles the subject of hiding who you are.
Morgana Bailey: The Danger of Hiding Who You Are
3. Go where your heart is
If you’ve been feeling as if you keep ending up at the wrong party or you’re at the wrong office, at odds with all the personality types that you would never in a month of Sunday’s socialize with, don’t stop and second guess yourself. Your first instinct is probably correct. It may be time to give old ties to places, people and social set-ups that don’t mean much, a boot. Go where your heart is. If you love trawling the Sunday flea-markets and catching up at quaint coffee shops, don’t pretend that a roaring Saturday night at the disco is the place where you will make long and meaningful connections. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t experiment and expand your social nets and horizons by stepping out of your comfort zone, but that you should definitely be more discerning and truthful to yourself about where you find your social ‘tribe’ as it were.
4. Take the most unexpected route from A to B
If you are plodding along the same familiar route to and from work every single day of your life, guess what? You have left little if any room for any fresh air and new life to filter through the rooms of your existence. If you always do what you’ve what you’ve always did, you will always get what you’ve always got. What if just for today, you travelled differently, saw different sights, stopped to talk to people that you don’t ordinarily get to speak to. This doesn’t apply just taking a particular route somewhere either. Take the unexpected route around other areas of your life, go to different places, eat somewhere that you have never eaten before instead of the same old pasta from the corner café that you always seem to default to. It may not look like it at first, but placing yourself in new and exciting settings will eventually yield new opportunities to talk to strangers and just to flex your social muscle in ways that you never expected before.
5. Make eye contact and follow it up with a smile
You enter a room at a crowded party, the music is going at full blast and there isn’t a chance in hell that your voice is going to be heard above the pulsation of noise around you. In moments like this, the best that you can do is to make eye contact with people in the room around you and smile. So whilst full-blown communication may not be possible right now, at very least what you can do is give the impression that you are open and receptive to a conversation later on. Speaking of which, when you get the opportunity, follow up on the next point.
6. Say hello
Sounds somewhat obvious, isn’t it? Well it is interesting how so many exciting conversations and meaningful connections are never had or made simply because we lack the courage to say hello. Think about it… What have you got to lose? When you walk into a room, the simplest and most common courtesy and expectation is that you greet people. If you are too busy hoping to not get noticed whilst secretly wishing that someone, anyone will step up and put you out of your social misery, you are missing the opportunity to just simply connect with someone. Form the word, open your mouth, practice, just greet the next person that you meet, and then the next and the next and the next. Go ahead- in the words of the world famous Nike- just do it.
Julian Treasure: How to speak so that people want to listen
7. Unplug from your devices
Nowadays with the advent of social media and the globalized view of the world there isn’t much that you can do without being slapped in the face with updates, pings, instant messages and direct messages whichever way you look. The irony is, that the very devices and tools that are meant to make us more socially connected are actually unplugging us from being adept at ‘face-time’, real human interaction and connectedness. Instead of using your mobile phone or tablet as a placebo for real human interaction or a screen to prevent awkward lulls and silences, imagine what would happen if you just put down your devices for a change? Instead of using your mobile as a social crutch to disappear into every time things get a little tricky socially, challenge yourself to pick up a thread of conversation and interact with other human beings. After a while, what is tricky may in fact become normal. The more you, the more you become and let’s face it communication is an art. It is up to you to fine tune it.
8. Dress up, be unusual
Let’s face it, when you look good, you feel great. Putting your best foot forward can only do wonders for your soul and your social interaction. There also comes a time when aside from looking good you also need to market yourself as a brand, Play up your best features.
9. Know your audience
So you’ve decided to visit an art gallery for the first time in your life, you know the dress code, you know give or take that there will be appetizers served at the exhibition opening and you know the names of the most prominent figures that are going to be in attendance. Somewhere from inside a little voice whispers, but do you know anything about art? Yes the entire point of going to the art gallery for the first time would be to learn something new, but it would not hurt to know a little bit on the subject especially if it’s going to help you in conversation with a few new people. When you have the benefit of knowing who you’re going to speak to, why not take the initiative of knowing your onions beforehand?
10. The devil is in the detail
The mind is a beautiful resource; it is a memory bank of knowledge, facts and memories that can be whipped out at any given moment. Use your powers of observation, part of great conversation and being more sociable is to see more. People are always presently surprised when you bring out some long-forgotten detail or positive memory and highlight this in a conversation. Let’s face it, we all have a slightly narcissistic thread running through us that loves to be acknowledged and what better tool to engage with someone than commenting on something close to their hearts.
All told conversation is the social lubricant of today, it is the engine that drives effective communication forward. More so than just for business and corporate reasons, being sociable is the glue that binds human relationships, there really isn’t a situation that you can think of that doesn’t rely on verbal interchange between people, choose your moments if you must, but by all means connect with others- it is the joy of life.