Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Conquering hesitation : Talking to strangers

Why men don't ask for directions? Of the many reasons, hesitation is one. Many of us are too hesitent to walk up to stranger and talk to them. Even when we are looking for help. When was the last time you spoke to a stranger?

Have you been to an village or small town. People so easily talk to strangers. Have a chit chat - over whatever be the topic - politics, economy, sports, doesn't matter. Everyone has his two cents to throw in. But what a stark contrast you see in big cities. You won't even pass a smile to your neighbour, forget the greeting. Why?

I don't think lifestyle is a reason. In a smaller town, you will somehow secured and easy. A big city gives a very intimidating feeling. Like you are nobody and no one bothers about you. More or less true, but why let that feeling hang on to us so tight? I know, even if you gather courage to tell something to a stranger, first look you will get will be of suspicion. That's a hazard of times we are living in. Anyway, let get back to the point. We are hesitant to talk to strangers and how we get rid of it.

You surely would have met a salesman and a beggar on the road. Next time notice how they approach to strangers. There's a lot to learn from them. Both have a very different approach. A salesman will start with introduction, but a beggar cuts all the crap and throws a one liner at you. We all know who is more successful.

Again, lets take it in a vice versa situation. How you would like a stranger to approach you. To be point. Specific and precise. Isn't it. So lets do the same. When you approach a stranger get to the point right after a a polite greeting.

Easier said then done. We know what to say but approaching take guts. Remember we spoke of Baby Steps process. Lets use the same.

Start small. One day just walk on the road, without your wrist watch. Ask for what time it is. And move on. Try it after every 50 yards or so. This will give you some confidence. Do not forget to smile when you are asking for time.

What next. Perhaps you guessed it right. Ask for directions. Pick up a landmark and ask for the directions towards it. When you are asking for direction, the length of conversation is longer and give you little more confidence.

Now the some more practice. While waiting for elevator or bus or tickets, try to hit a conversation. Now do not use a one liner like "Oh! Such a sunny day", "The elevator is taking forever" or "Is the queue even moving". As soon you let something out like this, any scope of decent conversation is over. Because now if say anything more after this, it will look like you are "trying hard" to get that person's attention. And this puts people on back-foot.

How to hit a conversation then? Its getting longer than I expected to lets split here and take that topic out as Conversation Starters.

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