How to Approach Someone to Start a Conversation

  • Speak photo
    Photo by tcees

    1. Decide to like people

    Unless people give you a reason not to, assume that anyone you meet is likable and worth talking to. Popular people genuinely love meeting people. They enjoy getting to know new people and their default setting is: “I love meeting people”.

Very often shy people assume others do not want to talk to them or that they will be criticized when they share their thoughts and feelings. In other words shy people often paint such a negative picture of others that it becomes almost impossible to approach anyone.

Notice what is happening here. The reserved person is starting from a “I don’t like people in case they don’t like me” point of view. This negative outlook creates a barrier that stops anyone from starting a conversation – you or the other person.

Popular people start off with a very different outlook – “I like you unless you give me a reason not to like you!”

2. Know that your happiness does not depend on how someone else responds

Your happiness is entirely under your control. It does not depend on whether someone else is responsive to you. You might think you will feel terrible if people aren’t keen to get to know you. That is based on a false assumption – you assume happiness is about what happens outside of you but it’s not. Whether you are happy or not is a question of how you think and feel and has nothing to do with the reactions of others unless you decide to live with that false belief.

If you approach someone and you get a negative response it can only mean one of two possibilities. First, you need to improve your approach, and, second, that person is not interested in getting to know you right now in this moment. And that could be for many reasons that have nothing to do with who you are.

Decide that you are happy whether or not someone else is rude, having a bad day or too tired or hungry to spend time getting to know you. See that happiness starts with your own attitude and that it’s not dependent on the reaction of someone you have never met before.

3. Know the response you want and adjust your approach until you get it

This follows on from the points above. Always be objective about how you are doing. Never take failure personally, never take setbacks in a social setting as evidence that you are not worth talking to.

Imagine you are a neutral observer. What does this person see? What would he suggest to help you improve your approach? Notice what you are doing well and use that as the basis for on-going improvement.

If you want people to smile and laugh and it’s not happening its time to change your approach. Objectively review what you have been doing and then find a role model if you still do not know a better way to get a positive reaction. Find someone who always has people smiling and laughing. Then view his approach as a step by step process to copy.

You can always observe popular people and notice what they are doing differently to you. Copy what works and you will do much better when meeting people. Use an effective approach and you’ll be effective!

4. Forget about 100% success

When I first started getting much better at meeting people I had very high standards for how well I should do. And having a positive high expectations outlook is great. That is, as long as you know you will never hit perfection.

There is this fantasy in self-help that you can discover the one key approach that works every time in every situation with no effort whatsoever on you part. If you get that you’ll enjoy 100% success while living in a state of bliss that never leaves you! If this was true we would find evidence of it in the real world. Maybe if we looked at the lives of the most brilliant people to ever walk this earth we could learn this magical secret. Unfortunately the lives of the great leaders, creative and geniuses of the past show us that not even they enjoyed 100% success.

That’s why I’m saying to you to forget about 100% success. Aim to always improve and to enjoy seeing how good you can get but forget about hitting 100%.This attitude of always improving without demanding perfection means you are under much less pressure when you approach and meet people. Less pressure means less tension and when you relax you’ll do much better.

Finally, if your goal is to do your best and to improve you know you will succeed in learning something. See how a change in attitude means you can’t go wrong approaching people? You either do great or you learn something that helps you become great.