In today’s article you’re going to learn everything you need to know about how to talk to strangers.
You have certainly been warned not to talk to strangers, but socializing with people you don’t know can be quite beneficial. While it may seem difficult to think of something to say, there are several ways to strike up a conversation with anyone you meet.
We’ll start with some tips on how to use positive body language and then move on to things you can bring up to break the ice and get your interviewer talking!
How To Talk To Strangers:
Look at the person’s facial expressions to assess whether they are friendly and open. Before you approach a stranger to strike up a conversation, observe if they smile or make eye contact with others.
If they are already talking to someone, check to see if they are using hand movements and paying attention to what the other person is saying. If the person seems at ease in social situations, they are usually easy to talk to and will not mind if you start a discussion with them.
If someone has their arms crossed or is avoiding other people, they are probably not in the mood to talk.
Approach strangers only if you feel comfortable with them. Trust your instincts and avoid the person if you feel uncomfortable or in danger.
2. Make direct eye contact and a friendly smile.
Even a polite facial expression can make you feel like you are interacting with others. If people believe they can trust you, they are more likely to start a discussion with you.
Throw them a quick glance and try to make eye contact, even if it’s only for a second. It’s natural to be afraid, but try offering a nice smile and see how the other person responds. If she reciprocates the smile, it’s a good sign that she’s willing to stop and talk for a longer period of time.
Smiling also helps keep the discussion light and fun by setting the right tone.
3. Maintain open, engaged body language and maintain eye contact.
To appear more friendly, change your posture. Maintain an open and friendly posture without crossing your arms.
To signal that you are interested in the conversation, face the person you want to talk to and lean slightly toward them. If it helps you feel more at ease, imagine this person as a good friend.
Practice your body language in front of a mirror to see what you still need to improve.
4. Be considerate of their personal space.
Getting too close to someone can make them feel uncomfortable. Make sure you are not violating anyone’s bodily boundaries.
Pay attention to the person’s body language to see if he or she turns away from you or frequently breaks eye contact—both of these behaviors can indicate nervousness. If the person seems uncomfortable, take a step back and respond politely.
Others may be apprehensive or afraid to talk to you. You can make the other person feel more at ease by showing your kindness.
When it comes to personal space, it’s a two-way street, so speak up if someone makes you feel uncomfortable.
5. Give each other a warm greeting.
A simple greeting can be enough to start an exhaustive discussion. Try to say something brief to everyone you encounter as you walk through a crowd.
We understand that meeting new people can be intimidating, but you can start by saying “Hi,” “Hello,” or “Nice to meet you” to break the ice and show that you are willing to talk. Even if you don’t have much time for a long conversation, greeting someone is a polite gesture that will help you seem more sociable.
While some people may be put off by this gesture, others may reciprocate the greeting and want to continue the conversation.
If approaching strangers alone makes you uncomfortable, enlist the help of a friend or someone you know.
6. Introduce yourself.
A quick and pleasant introduction will help break the ice (1). You don’t have to tell them everything about yourself because you don’t know them.
Don’t hesitate to give as much personal information as you want, even if it’s just your first name. If the topic is appropriate, you can also reveal your job title if you are in a business context.
When greeting someone, keep the social context in mind. You can always disclose additional information about yourself if your conversation with the person gets more specific.
7. Learn and use their name.
To improve your relationship, mention their names throughout the conversation. People appreciate hearing their own names, so ask for their name right away.
Mention their name several times during the conversation when it seems normal. The other person will feel that they are truly connected to you, which will motivate them to reciprocate with nice behavior.
Saying the name several times will help you remember it, making you less likely to forget it if you run into them again.
8. Mention something that is in your immediate area.
Pick something fascinating located in your environment to use in your conversation. If you have no idea who that person is, look around the room and mention anything you see.
You’ve most likely already started a small chat about the weather, but you can also talk about the party host, the kitchen, or other attendees. If you’re just talking to a stranger, you can bring up local business or traffic.
9. Include a variety of topics.
Start a conversation about pop culture or current events. If you are meeting for the first time, highlighting current events or shared experiences is usually a good start.
If you’re nervous, bring up simple topics such as a TV show or movie you watched, a book you read, or a meme you saw online. If you feel more comfortable with the person, you can try bringing up deeper topics, such as family, work, and dating, to see if the person is willing to open up more.
Change the topic if the person doesn’t seem interested in it.
10. Give them a compliment.
A natural and nice way to break the ice is through compliments. You can compliment the person on what they are wearing, how they are handling a problem, or anything else. Once the ice is broken, continue the conversation to learn more about the person.
It is best not to comment too much on someone’s physical appearance, as this can make the person feel uncomfortable.
11. Pose open-ended inquiries.
Learn more about the other person so you can understand them better. People like to talk about themselves, so find out what they are interested in, what they want to accomplish in life, and what experiences they have had.
To keep the discussion going, ask open-ended questions that the interviewee needs to answer in more detail.
12. Tell a little about yourself.
When you open up, you encourage the other person to do the same (2). Take the opportunity to talk about your life or interests if the person doesn’t have much to say at the beginning of the conversation.
You can talk about your profession, hobbies, projects you’ve completed, or how you met the party host. As you talk more, the other person may feel more comfortable telling you about themselves.
It’s a good idea to keep some personal information private. Only bring up topics that you are comfortable talking about.
13. Talk about your common interests.
To continue the dialogue, find some common ground. If the other person becomes animated when you mention your favorite activity, sports team, or other interest, delve further into the topic.
Talk about why you like it and get the other person’s opinion. If the interviewee has a different point of view, don’t judge or condemn them, but be open and attentive to what they say.
14. Pay attention to what is being said.
Maintain eye contact with the person so they feel heard and nod in agreement with what they are saying. If you don’t want to lose attention, don’t check your phone or focus on other things.
To indicate that you are attentive, say a few short statements such as “mmhmm” or “yes.”
Pay attention to your facial expressions and avoid frowning your forehead or showing signals of dislike, as this may discourage the other person.
15. End the discussion after 5-10 minutes.
Watch for signals from the other person that the conversation is nearing its end. The average informal discussion lasts only a few minutes before someone wants to move on.
If you talk for more than 5–10 minutes, the other person may want to continue. Otherwise, watch to see if she is fidgeting, checking her phone, or looking at her watch.
Tell her that you had a good conversation with her and that you need to move on. If you had a good conversation with her, see if she wants to keep in touch after the conversation ends.
I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article about how to talk to strangers. I sincerely hope its contents have been a good help to you.