The following questions come directly from hand-written audience evaluations from my speeches. I hope they provide you with great insight into approachability!
What are some approach techniques?
If two or more people are talking in a circle or small group, here’s what you do:
1. Approach the group and smile. Don’t cross your arms and make eye contact with whoever is speaking.
2. Don’t say anything, wait for someone to speak to you first.
3. Use all three head nod speeds: slow = I follow you, medium = I agree, fast = I’m excited.
4. If you can, find an appropriate time to chime in, either introduce yourself or comment on something that’s been said.
5. Have fun!
If you walk into a room, club, party, event or bar and don’t know anybody, you can always walk up to someone and say, ‘Hi, my name is Brian. I don’t know anybody here!’ This might elicit responses like:
1. ‘Oh, well then please join us! Nice to meet you Brian!’
2. ‘That’s cool, I don’t know anybody either. I’m Sarah.’
3. ‘Really? Are you new on campus? First time here?’
4. ‘Get the hell away from me you weirdo!’ (Answer not likely)
What are tips for intros and goodbyes?
I always suggest the H.O.T. technique, aka ‘Home of The…’ You say, ‘Hi, I’m Mark from Pittsburgh – home of the greatest football team in the NFL.’ You could also use your affiliation. For example, ‘I’m Seth, President of ACACIA – home of the best Halloween party on campus!’
Exit lines are also great opportunities to have fun and try something unique. My girlfriend, for example, always tells her customers at Kinko’s, ‘Well, my name’s Jackie and I’m the only girl here – holler if you need me!’
The key is: be memorable. Think about what ever other person in the room is going to say. Avoid it. Showcase your uniqueness. Put your person first.
How do you approach different types of people?
Let’s start with approaching men vs. women. In the book The Power of Charm, Brian Tracy suggests the following trends: a woman’s key needs are affection, attention and respect; whereas a man’s key needs are achievement, status and respect of key people. Converse accordingly.
Then there’s The New Guy. Not necessarily a guy, but someone who is a first timer. This is a person who most likely feels uncomfortable. Your job is to a) be his first friend, b) get him talking about himself, and c) introduce him to others so he feels like he’s part of the group.
How can you use your uniqueness to your advantage?
Ask yourself these questions: what are you all about? What’s your ‘thing’? What’s something you can do better than anyone? Find the answer and find your passion. This is your uniqueness. Then be sure to bring that uniqueness to the surface in every conversation.
Why? First, it’s easy to talk about. Second, you’ll get enthusiastic when you do talk about it. Third, the other person will feel comfortable sharing their uniqueness as a result.
What are some ways to overcome failure?
Small victories first. Figure out what you’re failing at. Is it public speaking? Cool. You’re not alone! My suggestion is, try smaller scale situations and work your way up. Perhaps making a toast at a dinner table full of friends/family would be a good start, even singing karaoke! By the time you’ve had enough smaller scale practice, you should be able to move to the next level with greater confidence.
How do you open and approach random people?
Think of it this way: if a complete stranger approached you, what would you do? What would you want him to say? What would you NOT want him to say?
Think back to the motivators of human engagement. Learn, Influence, Play, Help and Relate. I always suggest, ‘Excuse me, but I’ve never been here before and…’ This is a surefire way to appeal to someone’s helpful side. Usually opening with that statement empowers them to act in a kinder way. Other similar examples are, ‘Hi, I need your help…’ or ‘Can you help me out for a sec?’
How can I have the confidence to just walk up to somebody?
Some people have the following self-limiting beliefs in this situation: ‘They won’t say hello back to me. They won’t be interested in me. I will make a fool of myself!’
This is the number one reason people don’t start conversations: fear of rejection. However, practice will make this fear fade away. The more you often you start conversations, the better you will become at it. So, be the first to introduce yourself or say hello. When you take an active instead of a passive role, your skills will develop and there will be less of a chance for rejection.
Also understand the gains vs. losses. For example, what’s so bad about a rejection from someone you don’t even know? On the other hand, a new contact awaits your introduction!
How can you use trivia in conversation?
Trivia is a great way to get a conversation rolling, spice up an encounter or show someone that you’ve taken an active interest in them or their organization.
Here’s what I mean: let’s say you and some friends are going out to a particular club or restaurant. Perhaps you could do some research on Google and get a few pieces of cool trivia about the place. Also, if you’re attending an athletic event, pieces of trivia about the players or the sport in general should be a piece of cake to find and use in conversations.
The key with trivia is preparation. Are you willing to spend a few extra minutes before you leave to get some juicy tidbits? Hey, why not write them down on a little cheat sheet and glance at it from time to time? You might feel silly, but you’d feel a whole lot sillier with nothing to say!
How can I be open with people and not shy about it?
The easiest way to not by shy and open with others is to get them to be open with you first. After someone has shared what they’re passionate about, for example, you will feel comfortable doing the same. For that reason, ask specific, open-ended questions that help you discover their passion so you will feel more comfortable reciprocating when the time is right.
How is approachability personally beneficial for my own well being?
According to a recent issue of Psychology Today, given a choice between an outing with good friends or an evening with strangers, most people would choose their friends. But according to a new study, we might have a better time—and go home in a better mood—if we chose to make new acquaintances.
For example: in 2005 a University of Pennsylvania psychologist randomly assigned college students to bowl by themselves, with close friends or with complete strangers. To Rashid’s surprise, he found participants who bowled with strangers were happier than students who hand-picked buddies to accompany them (and, as expected, people who bowled by themselves). For those who made new friends, the experience was similar to a successful date. Says Rashid, “They were euphoric.”