Here are some of the comments I hear from students everyday:
- “I’m so nervous when I meet someone new, I don’t know what to say.”
- “I don’t know how to start a conversation naturally.”
- “I can introduce myself, but I have no idea how to continue a conversation.”
- “I don’t know what questions to ask.”
Do these questions sound familiar to you? Have you asked them yourself? If so, don’t worry! You are not alone! These are very common feelings and frustrations and I hope to help you make these things a NON-issue after reading this post.
In the second post in this series, we will discuss how to start a conversation with confidence.
So how do we overcome these challenges?
“How do I start a conversation with confidence?”
I’ll list three easy steps.
- Introduce your NAME with power
- Smile and give a firm handshake
- Know that the other person is not listening for your grammar mistakes but rather looking to connect with you
All of these steps are important but I think people often overlook #3. Non-native English speakers often fear that the native English speaker or well-experienced English speaker will think less of them for making grammar mistakes or even worse, make fun of them.
This is FALSE!
Most people don’t care about minor grammar mistakes that you might make. They are more interested in the CONTENT of your ideas. As long as the mistake does not affect the understanding of your message, please DON’T STRESS about making mistakes.
“I know how to shake hands properly now, so what should I say when I meet someone?”
Of course there are a number of different situations you might be in when meeting someone for the first time, but in general, the best thing is to just introduce yourself with confidence. How? Simple. Just use the phrases we all learned in school.
Remember a simple greeting like “Hello” or “Good morning” and introduce your name with “My name is…” or “I’m…”
Tip: When you say your name, speak slowly, clearly, and with assertion.
So many times, I have met people and they speed right through their name and I can’t catch it. If you want to be a global individual, you will be meeting people from all around the world who may or may not be familiar with your language and culture. Slow down! Say your name very clearly! And finally say it with assertion! This is KEY to starting a conversation with confidence. If you are uncomfortable saying your name, practice at home or with a friend until you feel WONDERFUL about yourself and your name.
After the other person introduces their name, you can respond with “Nice to meet you” or “It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Here’s an example dialogue:
You: Hello. My name is Matthew Damon.
Other person: Hi. I’m Katherine Blanchett.
You: Nice to meet you.
Other person: It’s nice to meet you, too.
Sound simple? Well, I know it’s tougher in real life than it looks on paper or screen so just go out and give it a try. Practice, practice, practice! This doesn’t come natural for everyone so practice, fail, adjust, and practice again.
These are the basics for starting a conversation with confidence. In my next post in the “Power Conversation” series, we will take a look at how to maintain a conversation with “active listening”. Be sure to check back for the next post or enter your email address in the “Get Regular Updates” box below and you will automatically be notified when that post comes out!