Being More Social
We all know “that person”. The person who is always the life of the party. He can step into any social situation with ease. He seems to draw people to him as if he possesses some mysterious social gravity. It could be the way they talk, their body language or maybe just that one compliment that made the difference.
More to the point, we’d all like to be that person. Unfortunately, too many of us have convinced ourselves that these are innate gifts that you’re either born with or you’re not. Well, fret not! Even if you weren’t born to be a social butterfly, you could still learn how to wriggle out of your cocoon and take control of your social life.
How To Be More Outgoing
Take note that even the most successful people have failed many times, and you will too. It’s not about one encounter. It’s about many! You will get better as you learn. I will tell you now, you will fail. And fail badly. But if you get up and keep trying, you will soon be one heck of an outgoing person! But with these ten highly effective hacks below, you got the right arsenal to take on the world and attract the right people into your life!
1. Fake It ‘Till You Make It
It’s no secret that confidence is a major key to a successful social life. But if you don’t already have it, how do you develop it? Believe it or not, one proven method is to simply fake it until you make it. Even if you feel like a nervous, self-conscious wreck inside. But no one is going to know that unless you allow it to show through. You may not be able to control how you feel, but you’re always in control of how you behave and what you allow others to see.
With that in mind, approach each social situation with as much confidence as you can muster, whether it’s genuine or not. Slap a big, broad smile on your face, walk with surety and purpose and speak as if you firmly believe what you say is worth hearing. If you act confidently, others will perceive you as being confident and will respond accordingly. Over time, you’ll even find that you need to force it less and less as genuine self-assurance replaces that false confidence.
2. Keep Your Eye on the Prize
It’s been described as “the most powerful mode of establishing a communicative link between humans.” Studies have shown that even infants recognize and respond to it. There’s no doubt that eye contact is an essential aspect of social interactions. So understanding how to use it properly is imperative. Eye contact serves to create a bond between people, indicating a level of warmth and interest that encourages sharing and connection. Looking people in the eyes shows confidence and comfort. While failing to do so may cause you to come off as nervous, disinterested or even rude.
On the other hand, it’s also not good to stare someone down without ever glancing away. Studies have shown that the ideal pattern involves frequent eye contact for spans of three to ten seconds with brief breaks in between. These add up to a total of about 60 to 75 percent eye contact. There’s no need to measure it that precisely, of course, but the takeaway is clear: if you hope to appear confident and connect with people in social situations, frequent eye contact is a necessity.
3. Become Fluent in Body Language
The words you speak only communicate a fraction of the information that you convey in social interactions. In fact, in his landmark 1971 book, “Silent Messages,” professor Albert Mehrabian lays out the case that only seven percent of your communication is in the form of spoken words. The other 93 percent, Mehrabian posted, could be broken down into 55 percent body language and 38 percent tone of voice and manner of speech
While the exact breakdown has often been called into question, the point remains the same. Your speech and body language say far more about you than you might realize. You can leverage this fact to your benefit by adopting confident, welcoming body language and vocal mannerisms. Always stand and sit up straight and carry yourself with good posture. When speaking with people, turn to face them and keep your body language open by avoiding things like crossing your arms or putting your hands in your pockets. When you talk, speak slowly and deliberately, taking care to pronounce every word. This allows you to express yourself more clearly, but it also subtly communicates that you’re confident in what you’re saying and others should listen carefully.
4. Talk Less, Listen More
You enjoy talking about yourself, don’t you? Well, so does everyone else! One of the best ways to engage someone in a casual conversation is to prompt them to talk about themselves. You can do this by asking questions. In particular, you should try to ask open-end questions that people can’t respond with a simple “yes” or “no” answer. No matter what the topic of conversation may be, allowing people to share their thoughts, opinions and stories make them feel good and leave them with a much more favorable impression of you.
A word of caution, however. This strategy only works if you’re genuinely listening to what the other person has to say. People are very good at sensing when they’re being tuned out, and few things will ruin a person’s opinion of you more quickly than being ignored. Listen to the other person, take a moment to consider what they’ve said and respond accordingly. To supercharge this effect, rephrase what they’ve said and repeat it back to them. This is a common trait among good listeners, and it shows that you’ve taken a genuine interest in the conversation.
5. Ask a Favour
When it comes to getting people to like you, asking them for something probably doesn’t seem like an ideal strategy. But it does work, however, and science says there’s a good reason why. Studies have demonstrated that making a small request from someone causes them to like you more. The reason is fascinating. We tend to look for reasons to justify our actions after the fact, and if we do something nice for someone, we’re likely to make the subconscious assumption that we did it because we like them.
Similarly, asking someone for their opinion on a particular topic is also a useful trick. In addition to providing them with an opportunity to talk about themselves, as mentioned above, it also communicates that you respect them and value their feedback. We all like to feel as though our opinions matter, after all. Even better, this approach works as an active icebreaker when attempting to strike up a conversation with a stranger.
6. Offer an Adventure
The human brain is a wondrously complex thing, but it’s prone to lapses and biases on occasion. We know on such bias as misattribution of arousal, and you can use it to your advantage. Our bodies respond strongly to situations that are scary or exciting. They release adrenaline and other hormones that cause responses we’re all familiar with: a rush of energy, a burst of euphoria and a faster heartbeat. In short, it feels great.
The issue is that the brain doesn’t always do a good job of processing these sensations, and that’s good news for you. If you happen to be with someone when these sensations occur – say, a potential romantic partner or a new friend – they may attribute some of those positive feelings to you rather than the actual stimulus. Anything can cause this well-known effect. From a scary movie to a roller coaster to a rock concert, they all stimulate us. By accompanying someone to an event that is likely to trigger an adrenaline response, you can reap the reward of this little psychological lapse while also showing off your adventurous side.
7. Gum up Your Nerves
Speaking of psychological tricks, here’s one you can use at almost any time. When you face a social situation that makes you nervous, pop a piece of gum in your mouth. You can easily chew your troubles away! It may sound silly, but there’s a solid evolutionary reason behind it. When you’re faced with a situation your brain deems risky – whether it’s a big presentation at work, a party filled with people you don’t know or a date with the cute girl down the street – it triggers its fight-or-flight response. This results in the typical stress response that may include sweating, anxiety, tension, and even fear.
When you’re chewing something like gum, however, that response goes down. Eating and digestion require a surprising amount of energy. Your body innately recognizes that you would not be doing such an activity if you were in a genuinely dangerous situation. This throws a wrench in the fight-or-flight system, short-circuiting it before its full effects are felt. Chewing mimics the actions involved in eating food. It can serve the same purpose any time you’re about to enter a situation that makes you nervous.
8. Mirror, Mirror
We discussed earlier why rephrasing what a person has just said and repeating it back to them can be beneficial. But there’s an even more powerful concept that you can apply similarly. We call it mirroring, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. If you’re a careful observer, you may find that people who share a healthy relationship often take on similar behaviors and mannerisms. This is a well-known phenomenon, and it usually happens subconsciously over time.
You can use this effect yourself by subtly mimicking a person’s gestures, whether it’s standing with the same posture, making similar hand movements or sitting in the same way. Research has revealed that this is a powerful way of building rapport and making someone feel comfortable and at ease. Be wary, however. Mirroring too frequently or too overtly can quickly backfire. It makes you look odd and possibly even causing the person to feel like you are manipulating them.
9. The Secret of the Self-Image
Everyone cultivates a particular image of themselves in their minds or an idea of who they believe themselves to be. This self-image may or may not accurately reflect reality, but one thing is for sure: no one enjoys having their self-image ruined. With that in mind, a bit of careful observation can turn this fact in your favor. Begin by paying close attention to what people say, especially about themselves. If you’re observant enough, you’ll pick up clues as to who they believe themselves to be.
Once you think you’ve got a good idea of their self-image, work to reinforce it. For instance, if someone believes that they’re a real film buff, consider asking them questions about their favorite films or their opinion of a particular director. If part of their self-image is having a strong fashion sense, ask them for recommendations. This reaffirms their view of themselves. And as an added bonus, people love to feel as though they’re sharing their expertise with someone who is eager to receive it.
10. What’s in a Name?
We all need to feel important, as though we’re someone who is worth remembering. If you want to be a social badass, you should want to tap into that need and fulfill it in everyone you meet. One surefire way to do this is to make a point of remembering, and frequently using, a person’s name. From a very young age, we’re raised to identify very closely and very attentively with the name we’ve been given. The people who use that name most often are the people with whom we are closest, whether it’s parents or siblings or longtime friends.
When you call someone by their name, then, you’re sending a potent message. It’s not only a sign of respect, but it also communicates that the person is important to you. So much so that you felt compelled to remember them. Simply put, it tells them that they matter to you. It’s a very impactful habit that can benefit you in all sorts of social situations, and it has an added benefit as well. By using a person’s name several times during a conversation, you’re more likely to remember it the next time you meet. This is even more powerful for someone who has a difficult or unusual name; They may be less accustomed to people remembering their name and pronouncing it correctly. And they’ll be truly flattered if you can do it. Here’s how you can remember names more easily.
So that’s all there is to it. Go out there and be a social badass now.
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