Sunday, 15 April 2018

Talk 2 U

Get The Look:
Hoodie - Zara // Skirt - Zara // Necklace - Asos // Coat - Zara // Shoes - Vans Sk8-Hi

Is wearing all black from head-to-toe fashionable or a cop out? I don’t know but I obviously wasn’t stepping out of my comfort zone with this look. I have been in other ways though! Read on to find out…

If you’re more on the reserved or introverted side, like me, you’ve probably had moments in social settings where you felt out of place or you had trouble talking to people. I’ve been trying to get out of my comfort zone more and be more social. This year, I started saying yes to more social events and situations and even attending things that my friends weren’t going to (something great actually came out of this, which I will probably talk about in another blog post) and I’ve picked up a few tips on how to connect with people better so I thought I’d share. I personally don’t like the word networking all that much, mostly because I associate it with people in suits, stiflingly dull conversation and the sharp edges of business cards haha. However, I think it’s really important to know how to connect with people and build relationships and as much as I feel I’m an independent individual, no man is an island and we all need a tribe. You may think only people who are naturally talkative would be able to build these connections but introverts are just as capable. The important thing is to keep a growth mindset. Here are my tips:

 1. Go to more social events!

To become comfortable with connecting with people you need to push yourself to meet up with people or go to social events even when you’d rather be at home in pyjamas watching Netflix. The more events you go to, you’ll find it gets easier to make conversation and you might actually find yourself wanting to go to more.

2. Start the conversation first

So this might sound daunting but try it. When you start a conversation first, you immediately come across as someone who is friendly and open to connecting with people. I once attended an app launch/blogger event with a friend of mine and I saw a girl who had arrived late sitting by herself. I went up and started a conversation with her and although I could tell she was reserved as well, she looked happy that I struck up conversation. I met her again a couple of weeks later and she remembered me and gave me a hug. Not only does starting a conversation show that you are friendly but it can be a relief for others who are maybe too nervous to start one.

3. Bring A Friend
When I have a friend with me, I’m always more comfortable in social situations. Have conversations with your friend and someone new. Be careful however, to not completely use your friend as a crutch and end up talking to them through the whole event. You should be trying to connect with new people instead of completely staying in the comfort blanket of your friend’s conversation.

4. Ask Questions
If you’re interested in connecting with people, you should also be interested in getting to know them. The best way to do this is to ask questions. If you think about it, everyone lives a completely different life to you. They’ve seen things, done things and gone through things you haven’t. You’d be surprised what you could learn from someone or about someone just through one conversation. Don’t go for the generic “so what do you do?” question either. Try something like “what do you do for fun?”, “what are you really looking forward to this week?”, “what’s the last really exciting thing you did?” or “what are you passionate about?”. People love talking about themselves so get them talking. Also complimenting people always helps. When people feel good about themselves, they’re more likely to be open and comfortable.

5. Set An Intention

I’ve never actually done this but I read somewhere that setting an intention is a good way to “network” (ughh this word again). Why not try setting goals before you step into an event? For example: you will talk to X amount of people, you will exchange details with Y amount of people or your goal could even be smaller like “I will start at least one conversation with someone”.

6. Smile
So I have been diagnosed with chronic RBF (resting b*tch face), which means I can come across as serious or mean when in reality I might be thinking about what I’m going to eat for dinner. In order to avoid this, I make a conscious effort to smile more when I’m around people so I don’t come across this way because it may be a deterrent to forming connections. Have you ever been told you have RBF? It’s a pain but try being more conscious of your facial expressions in social settings lol.

 7. Stay In Contact

 So you’ve struck up conversation, you’ve got someone talking but is that enough? Maybe, if you’re likely to bump into the person again then yes it’s enough but if it’s not likely, you’re going to want to build on that connection. You can do this by asking for their social media details – either Instagram or twitter, whichever you’re most active on- this way you can get more of an understanding of their personality and you can dm them to catch up sometime. Another way to keep in contact is by suggesting a meet-up. Ask them to go for coffee or brunch sometime or even to an event and if they say yes, exchange numbers so you can decide on a place/time later. Voila, you have a way to build on that initial connection!

Trying to be someone other than your true self is a recipe for disaster. If you’re trying to be someone you’re not in order to build connections, those connections will not last once they find out you’re not really who you pretend to be so the most important thing (although the saying is a cliché) is to be yourself. Some people may not like you and that’s completely fine but others will. Another thing is, don’t beat yourself up about every interaction that you have. I used to do this (still do sometimes, I’m working on it) and I’d feel really down because I was super awkward (still am LOL) and not as talkative as other people but if you’re putting yourself out there, you shouldn’t feel less than because you have a more reserved personality. You don’t have to be the loudest in the room to make an impact.

Photos by Ahanna Anaba (ig: @thefauxtograph)

Post Song Title : Talk 2 U - Brent Faiyaz

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