8 years ago I was a complete nobody. I had hardly any friends. I struggled to talk to new people, couldn’t talk to strangers and certainly couldn’t talk to the opposite sex. My Social Confidence was at all time lows. Once I learned how to improve social confidence, and meet new people a whole new world opened up for me. I hope, and know it can do the same for you!
This Article can be read here, downloaded in .pdf or via Slideshare
Today, there are a lot of people out there that don’t seem to have the charisma or ability to meet the people they want to meet. Sometimes it comes down to Social Confidence. As our readers are quiet smart and value self development, I thought we would write a little bit about the subject here. Especially for those that care about their communities and want to share a good read.
Good Social Confidence can easily lead to:
- Improved work relationships,
- Through meeting new people increased opportunity for sales or networking
- A dramatic increase in the chances of finding that special person
- New ideas, concepts, friends and a whole lot more fun.
So who wouldn’t want more of it!
Let’s not talk to much about it, but what about the opposite. I see a lack of Social Confidence regularly and you probably see it too.
Right now, do you believe that the community around you is regularly improving or losing Social Confidence?
Personally, it never ceases to amaze me how common a lack of social skills is. I’ve seen this in most of the countries I’ve visited so far (70+ Countries). Every single week I meet people who struggle to make eye contact, can’t hold down a solid conversation and let’s not get started with Smartphones replacing real life conversation.
Social skills are not something you learn over night or from a smart phone app. People traditionally learned through lots of experience and good guidance but since the creation of TV less and less real life interactions are taking place. Social skills are on the which is the main reason I chose to develop skills in Training & Coaching. This industry is booming, as more and more smart people turn to educated experts for advice.
However I could be wrong.What do you think? Are these skills going down?
Here is a six step process that helped me grow my social confidence and drastically improved my social skills to the point where I was on TEDx twice.
How to improve social confidence.
lets get into it!
1. Talk to strangers, daily.
Talk to everybody! Talk to the security guard, the shop attendants, the delivery people, people anywhere you can. Even if its just hi. This habit of becoming more social and a natural hello to any person is also going to help the common occurrence of “wondering what to say next”. Something that commonly happens when trying to meet the opposite sex. The more you talk to people in your day to day life, the more comfortable you’ll become in these types of situations.
It is a systemic desensitization approach to social anxiety and its effectiveness is evidenced by psychological research. For the majority of people, taking baby steps has proven to be the best way of overcoming social anxiety.
Another reason for doing this, is that you will meet all sorts of people from different walks of life. Doing this regularly is a fantastic way of building a diverse, interesting and larger social circle.
2. Learn to listen effectively.
Seek first to understand. Imagine if every thing that came out of your mouth was twice as wise. How valuable would that be?
That can actually be achieved a process I call
“shut your mouth & listen first”.
First listen with your ears, second listen with your mind. And if you really want to connect, listen with your heart. That’s what some people call, “third level listening”.
Remember, it’s not just verbal, it’s also language patterns, tonality, context based, and we haven’t even got to body language yet. Effective listening can really assist you in connecting with people without even having to think about what to say.
3. Everyone’s favourite topic is the same anyway
Everyone has their own story and their favourite stories. I love talking about myself. You do to. What is your story you like to share?
Think about that for a moment.
What’s your favourite story you love to share?
Perhaps you can prove me wrong, sometimes it happens. Pretty much everyone I ever spoke to across 70+countries I traveled had the same favourite subject. You know what it is, right? It was themselves. They want to talk about themselves.
It’s human nature. Perfectly natural. We like talking about ourselves. Therefore, whenever you want to talk to someone new, just ask them about themselves and fully listen to what they say. Be curious, find out about them. If you listen deep enough and ask the right questions you can learn something from everyone.
4. Don’t worry about what people think of you
Despite what we’re neurologically programmed to do, we actually overdo it. We are supposed to be at least a little concerned about what other people think. That is part of Social or Cultural Intelligence. Part of being in a tribe is behaving to tribe norms. However we often overdo it.
Most of the time, people are paying so much attention to themselves or what’s going on in their life (or phone) that they don’t pay much attention to you. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just, you’re not that important to them. They have their own concerns. In fact if someone thinks negatively of you, it is more often a reflection of something in their life and not yours. If someone is rude, neglecting or judging, it’s merely some drama in their own life coming out.
When you meet this behaviour, have patience with the person. Remember: the person and the behaviour can be seen as separate things. Focus on your own happiness. Happiness inside will be reflected on the outside.
The psychological and physical benefits of laughing are often underestimated. If you ever get the opportunity, try checking out Laughing Yoga. I hear it’s a blast. Laughing is one of the best ways to ease stress, anxiety, tension, fear, trauma and the hiccups.
As much as everyone loves a comedian, you don’t have to go that far. Laughing has a way of building connections between people so being light hearted and easy to laugh with is desirable.
Laughing in the context of fear, or lack of confidence is a simple way of reducing hesitation. Laughing at myself, laughing at my own fear of doing something is a gentle way of reframing or rethinking about the fear.
6. Want to really gain confidence?
Go to events where you don’t know anyone, regularly.
This would be one of the best habits for people trying to gain confidence in the steps mentioned above. How to apply tips 1-5 at a new event?
One of the hardest things for me to do after ending my first serious relationship (7 years), was going out by myself afterwards. For me, it wasn’t a choice, I didn’t have friends. However even later after I made some friends, I still practiced and pushed myself to go out alone (+ I was really looking for a girlfriend, not drinking buddies). I’ll never forget moving to a new city, and getting an apartment down town (Spring Hill, Brisbane). I didn’t get the internet put on, so that I would have to walk down to different Internet Cafe’s instead of staying home. After a couple of trips, and not meeting people, I started to detour around places and occasionally go into a bar or cafe. Unfortunately I didn’t know about tips 1-5 so I wasn’t that good, but I was making progress.
This tip is great for Meetup.com, festivals, house parties. A side benefit will be that it will force you to meet new people.
How do you attack a big challenge like Confidence?
The same way you eat an Elephant.
One piece at a time.
If you can read all of this article, then learning regular ways for how to improve social confidence is something you can certainly do.
Since you’re an avid reader and got all the way to the end, I like to say a big thank you for your time. Please, feel free to follow, ask for more, or reply with a comment.
After all, you don’t want to be latched onto the one person all night.Worse yet, you don’t want to end out like this man.