1. First things first: relax
Seriously. Chill. Out. Before you even think of introducing yourself to someone, take a minute for yourself and relax. If you are nervous about talking to new people, that will affect your ability to communicate, and you’ll make a bad first impression. Take a timeout before striking up a conversation. Take a deep breath and think happy thoughts. Go in positive, and you’ll get positive results.
2. Get your timing right.
Before you approach someone, take a look around you. What’s the overall mood of the room? What are people doing? What, or who, are they gravitating towards? Who’s too busy dancing, or eyeing someone, to want to strike up conversation? Who’s alone in a corner and eagerly waiting to be talked to? Spend time “studying the room” and you’ll know the right time, and the right way, to initiate conversation. But don’t take too long, or you could fall flat on your face.
3. Don’t overthink it
It’s just a friendly conversation, not a marriage proposal! When meeting anyone for the first time, don’t think about all the possible things that could go wrong. Rejection is tough, but if you linger on rejection, you’ll never pluck up the courage to introduce yourself.
4. Be (or pretend to be) confident.
Confidence will get you a long way. But if you’re not confident, just behave as if you were. Remember, once you break the ice, the worst part is over. Just focus on that, and psych yourself up. If you’re having trouble believing, then use this useful mantra from Christopher Walken:
5. Say the Magic Word
Don’t underestimate the power of hello! It’s the most important word in your vocabulary when it comes to meeting new people. Connections don’t just magically happen, so you have to go out there and make them happen. Once you say it, the ball is in their court.
6. Get their name and use it!
Next step is to find out who you are talking to. People love to hear their own name, so make sure you learn theirs as soon as you can and use it a few times at the start of the conversation. This will help you remember it, but will also reinforce your connection with them. Just make sure you get it right, or they could have a nervous breakdown.
7. Find some common ground.
This one isn’t always easy, but all it takes is a little curiosity and some determination. Put your sleuthing skills into action and see if you can discover any potential conversation starters before you approach them. Are they wearing a Rolling Stones tee? Or reading a Harry Potter book? If they’re listening to death metal and you are a Coldplay fan, you can still be friends, you just need to look for something else to talk about. Finding just a little bit of common ground is the fastest and easiest way to become friends with someone.
And remember, the more you practice, the better you’ll get at this.