HOW TO START A CONVERSATION AND MAKE FRIENDS ( TIPS )
* Starting Your Conversations with Confidence
#1 First Contact— Body Language
It's a luxury to be understood,
-Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), American poet and essayist
One of our most important conversational skills doesn't
come from our tongue, but from our body, Research has
shown that over half of face-to-face conversation is nonverbal.
"Body language," as it is called, often communicates our
feelings and attitudes before we speak, and it projects our
level of receptivity to others.
Most poor conversationalists don't realize that their nonreceptive
body language (crossed arms, little eye contact, and
no smiling) is often the cause of short and unsustained conversations.
We are judged quickly by the first signals we give
off, and if the first impressions are not open and friendly, it's
going to be difficult to maintain a good conversation. The following
"softening" techniques can make your first impressions
work/or you, not against you.
A "softener" is a nonverbal gesture that will make people
more responsive and receptive to you. Since your body language
speaks before you do, it is important to project a
receptive image. When you use open body language, you are
already sending the signal: "I'm friendly and willing to
"S-0-F-T-E-N" Your Body Language
Use your body language to break down the natural barriers that separate strangers.
communicate, if you are." Each letter in S-O-F-T-E-N represents
a specific nonverbal technique for encouraging others to talk
A pleasant smile is a strong indication of a friendly and open
attitude and a willingness to communicate. It is a receptive,
nonverbal signal sent with the hope that the other person
will smile back. When you smile, you demonstrate that you
have noticed the person in a positive manner
The letter O in S-O-F-T-E-N stands for open arms. You've
probably been welcomed with "open arms," which, of
course, means that a person was glad to see you. At a party or
in another social or business situation, open arms suggests
that you are friendly and available for contact. During a conversation,
open arms makes others feel that you are receptive
f= Forward lean
The letter F in S-O-F-T-E-N means forward lean. Leaning forward
slightly while a person is talking to you indicates interest
on your part, and shows you are listening to what the
person is saying. This is usually taken as a compliment by the
other person, and will encourage him to continue talking
*Leaning baek gives off signals of
disinterest and even boredom.
*Leaning forward says: "I'm interested
in what you're saying."
The letter T in S-O-F-T-E-N stands for touch. In our culture. the
most acceptable form of first contact between two people
who are just meeting is a warm handshake. This is usually
true when meeting members of the same or opposite sex—
and not just in business, but in social situations, too. In nearly
every situation, a warm and firm handshake is a safe way of
showing an open and friendly attitude toward the people
E = Eye Contact ( IMPORTANT )
The letter E in S-O-F-T-E-N represents eye contact. Perhaps
the strongest of the nonverbal gestures are sent through the
eyes. Direct eye contact indicates that you are listening to the
other person, and that you want to know about her. Couple
eye contact with a friendly smile,and you'll send this unmistakable
messages "I'd like to talk to you. and maybe get to
know you better."
Eye contact should be natural and not forced or overdone.
It is perfectly okay to have brief periods of eye contact while
you observe other parts of the person's face—particularly
the mouth. When the person smiles, be sure to smile back.
*Eye contact shows that you are listening and taking an interest in what is
said. It sends the signal: "I'm listening—keep talking!"
N = Nod
The letter N in S-O-F-T-E-N stands for nod. A nod of the head
indicates that you are listening and that you understand what
A nod of the head shows you are listening and understand what is being said. It
sends the message: "I hear you, go on!" A blank stare suggests your thoughts
is being said. It usually signals approval and encourages the
other person to continue talking. A nod of the head, coupled
with a smile and a friendly hello, is an excellent way of greeting
people on the street, or anywhere else, like all the other
softening gestures, it sends the same message; "I'm friendly
and willing to communicate."