Being a shy person or an introverted person isn’t always a bad thing. However, shyness and being a quieter person might cause us to talk less, limiting us from knowing more people, building valuable relationships, and finding new opportunities.
Here, we will show you that being shy or being an introvert doesn’t have to stop you from having good social interactions and making new friends.
We will divide this guide into two parts: the first is about changing your mindset, and the second is about putting it all into practice. Let us begin the discussion: how to be more talkative
Stage I: Changing Your Mindset
The first thing we should do to overcome our shyness and be more talkative is to change what’s inside: fixing your mindset, and here is the step-by-step guide.
Step 1: Know Your Why
Think about it this way: imagine there’s a really long queue line that will take you 2 hours before you reach the front for a movie you don’t really like, will you endure the queue?
However, imagine if it’s a movie you really, really like, will you do it?
Then, if it’s a queue where you are guaranteed to get 1 million dollars if you reach the front. Will you do it?
Most likely yes.
As you can see, it’s the reason, the motivation, the why that will push you forward.
We sometimes put too much emphasis on willpower: you can stop being fat if you try hard enough, you can get a better career if you try harder, and in this case, you can be more talkative if you are willing to try. However, a strong motivation is always stronger than willpower.
So, ask yourself: what is your reason to overcome your shyness and talk with more people? Here are some possible why’ that might inspire you:
- To talk with more girls/boys and find your potential one’ —hey, it’s a valid reason and in fact, a really
- To open more career opportunities
- To learn more about more things
- To know and build relationships with more people
The more specific and clear your motivation, your why’ is, the stronger it will be. For example, if your why’ is to “get better at interviews so you can get a job with double your current salary”, it can be a very strong motivation.
Step 2: Know The Right Expectations
It is quite common that we are afraid to be talkative and social because we have unrealistic expectations.
For example, we may expect that our conversational partner should like us 100%, and we may expect certain answers or replies to our questions. Obviously, that’s not true
On the other hand, having these flawed expectations are generally a surefire way to be bound to shyness, preventing us to be more talkative in social situations. No matter what, when we commit to talk to someone and start a conversation, it’s always risking not meeting one or more of our expectations. A conversation is essentially, an art of managing and responding to these changes in expectations—in real-time—.
So, an important step to be more talkative is to change your mindset and start to manage your expectations.
In its purest essence, managing your expectations simply means defining what you demand of yourself and your conversation partner in a conversation—or other social interactions—, and then to adjust (correct) these demands based on reality.
The more realistic—lower—your expectation is, the more you can relax in social interactions, be more comfortable, and start enjoying the conversation.
In short, remember that any conversation shouldn’t be perfect at all, and take the pressure off your shoulder. It’s okay to be awkward at first, it’s okay to stumble, just enjoy the game.
Step 3: Define Your Obstacles
Define potential obstacles that might cause your shyness—and preventing you to be more talkative—. For example:
- Unreasonable and unrealistic expectations—as discussed above—
- The habit of overthinking things
- Introvert personality
- Not feeling confident about yourself
Behind shyness, there is always one kind of fear or another, and it’s important to understand that all fears grow when we avoid them—and subside when we face them—.
In practice, many people who struggled with shyness and are afraid to talk to others tend to feel inferior to others—in one way or another—. They might feel that they are ugly, and are afraid that people will mock them and realize their ugliness during conversations— a pretty common belief—.
As a result of this flawed’ thinking, they always think others are better than they are and they feel inferior—while striving to be perfect but not doing anything at all—. This is often the biggest root of the problem.
So, we’ll have to find the core obstacles and start from there. Without removing the root of the problem, we can’t permanently eliminate our shyness and become more talkative. This, obviously can be easier said than done. Being objective in challenging our core beliefs can be very difficult, and changing them (permanently) are even harder
Figure your core fear(s), face it, and prove to yourself that this fear is irrational.
Step 4: Think Long-Term
Don’t force yourself to be more talkative instantly, instead, think on a long-term basis.
That is, aim to be more talkative than yesterday’s you—even if it’s only a little—, and tomorrow’s you should be more talkative than today. Do this little by little.
The human psyche is very complex, and it will take some time and consistent practice before we can truly achieve a permanent change. If you do it right and consistently, however, it can take a shorter time.
In short, however, treat this as a process, and don’t be discouraged if you fail at first.
Stage II: Actions
Next, is to bring your changed mindset into practice, and again, below is a step-by-step guide to do it:
Step 1: Starting Conversations
Again, remember that the biggest obstacle keeping us from starting a conversation is fear. Especially, fearing that you won’t have anything to say.
When starting a conversation—especially with total strangers—, here are a few easy ways to start an openended conversation that can potentially head in any direction you want:
- Use the current situation and surroundings. You can talk about how nice (or bad) the weather is). If you are in class, you can always talk about the class or your homework. Think simple.
- Starting with an appropriate compliment is a good conversation starter. Be sincere and clear, or it might be offensive for the person
- Ask for a (simple) favor. This is a psychological trick that when you do a favor for others, it instantly creates a connection, making them more open for conversations. It can be as simple as asking what time it is.
- Open with a joke if you can, but make sure it’s appropriate and not lame/corny. Use the current situation to create an intelligent joke, if you can.
Step 2: Use FORM Template
The FORM, stands for Family, Occupation, Recreation, and Motivation, and is a conversational template or technique used to easily build rapport with strangers and engage to fruitful conversations. The idea is to move from F, O, R and M to build rapport, and then deliver your message (sometimes, M can stand for Message). Here is how we can use the template.
- Where do you come from? (if it’s a complete stranger)
- How are your parents doing? (If it’s someone you know)
- How many siblings do you have?
- Are you married?
- What do you do for a living?
- What is the best part of your job?
- What’s the biggest challenge?
- What is there to do for fun around here?
- What do you do for fun?
- Do you like to travel?
- What’s your dream job?
- What do you want to do after school?
Once you’ve built trust with the conversation, this is where you can deliver your message
- Can we talk more about this over lunch sometime? (ask for their number)
- Are you open to the idea of……
- Do you mind if we exchange numbers and talk about….
Step 3: Ask Open-Ended Questions
It’s important to give the other person a chance to talk, creating a healthy exchange of conversation.
This is where using open-ended questions can be beneficial, opening more opportunities for them to open up, and on the other hand for you to respond to them in turn.
- You can ask open-ended questions to follow-up closed’ answers. For, example, if they say, “I’m good” when you ask “How are you today?”, you can ask “How did today go?”. Remember not to be pushy, stay appropriate.
- The main idea of an open-ended question is that the question can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. Open-ended questions generally produce opinions, and opinions provide rooms for more questions.
Step 4: The Right Balance Between Talking and Listening
Although our mission is to be more talkative, remember that a good conversation is not only about talking but also about good listening
- Maintain eye contact and use open body language when listening. You can follow up with small talks like “Oh, wow.” or simply nod your head when
- Listen and respond to what they are saying. When opportunities arise, paraphrase their statement by saying something like “Oh, so ….. Happens?” or “Is…… what you’re saying?”.
- Try to summarize what they are saying, this can also establish rapport with the other person that you actually listened.
- Ask, don’t assume and don’t try to mind-read.
Step 5: Recall Previous Facts and Knowledge
Still connected to the previous step: the main idea of listening is to gather facts and knowledge that you can
use to ask more questions and prolong the conversations.
- When they mentioned interesting facts, ask about it and create an open-ended conversation (see above)
- If you can connect two (or more facts) together, it can be a good way to establish rapport. For example, if they mention that it’s hard for them to get a job, and they previously mentioned that they have a very demanding mother, you can say something like. “I’m sorry, but is it related to your mother’s expectations”. This kind of observation and response can help a lot.
Also, if it’s a conversation with someone you know (that you have previous conversations with), you can try to recall these previous conversations to create follow-up questions, like:
- “How was that project we talked about last time? Did it went well?” (questions like this establish that you did pay attention).
- Also, nowadays you can use information from social media like “How was that vacation you posted on IG last week? How was the trip?”.
- You can always ask something like “What have you been up to since last time we talked?” to open up a conversation.
Step 6: Smile More
Remember that there’s always the non-verbal aspect of a conversation. People are more likely to engage in an open conversation when the other person is happy and friendly-looking.
So, smile more (without being creepy) and use an open body language to “welcome” the other person.However, smile naturally, and the idea is to show the other person that you are happy to converse with them
and to be where you are.
7: Learn Body Language Reading
Again, here we focus on the non-verbal aspect of conversations.
Observe your conversational partner’s body language to find insights into where you should move the conversations. If, for example, they continuously display a closed body language, and look to get away from the conversation, then it’s better not to force it.
- Open body language includes leaning forward towards your direction, maintaining eye contact, opened’ shoulders, uncrossed legs, and other similar signs
- Closed body language can include (but not limited to) looking towards the exit of a room (often over the conversational partner’s head), crossed arms and crossed legs, leaning the shoulder away from the partner.
Remember to treat this as a process, and it’s perfectly okay to take a break every now and then. Social interactions, especially with total strangers, can be very tiring especially if you are an introverted person.
You can, for example, set a time limit for how long you will maintain social interaction. For instance, you can interact with people for 20 minutes before taking a break for the first few days (or tries), and increase the time limit gradually.