How to Talk to Strangers
How to talk to strangers? How to persuade strangers?
Good questions. There is really not a single definite answer, and it also depends on the situation you’re in. For me, I have to talk to strangers because I want to persuade them into listening to what I have to say…and really listen so they can help me.
It’s hard at the beginning, because you have no idea how they can react. BUT, here’s what I’ve learned and how apply it. Let’s imagine a space full of people in their own conversations, and you being a possible intruder. Here’s what you can try out.
1- Stand out. Either wear or carry something that represents what you want to talk about.
2.1- Look out for body language. Do they look at you or whatever you have on you? If they do, you’re all set to approach to them.
2.2- No body language? Draw closer anyways, but wait for them to give you the signal.
3- You preferably want to look for a group of 2+ people. It’s easier and less intimidating if you ask me. At least your first time approaching to someone.
4- You can start with a question. “Have you heard of this?” Which gives them the “obligation” to turn to you…and that means you’ve got their attention.
5- Speak up your mind. You can have a speech prepared, but your message is better if delivered naturally and sincere words coming out of your mouth.
6- Be concise and precise. Important details and to the point…like an elevator speech. Let this speech be around 30 seconds to 1 minute long…and if they’re into what you’re talking about, you can keep adding pieces. Time is precious.
7- Add some personal experience. People like it and tend to get more into your story if you include yourself in it. It means that you’re not there just because you have to, but because you enjoy what you do.
8- Always, always be respectful. Do not push these strangers into doing anything and don’t make them feel bad if they’re not listening to you. Remember you’re just telling a story and letting them know what your purpose is. Their next action with you is purely on them. Of course, a “please” is always encouraged.
9- Your body language is important too. Along with an engaging story, a good posture, not over-the-top hand motions, and a big smile are important as well. Also, look into their eyes–not into their souls though–but eye contact shows that you mean what you’re saying and you’re confident about it…even though you might not feel like that at the moment.
10- Always end with a “thank you” or “have a good day.” Everything is about leaving a good impression of you or your organization, so let them know that you appreciate their time to hear you out.
Don’t feel nervous…these people don’t know you anyways. If you love what you do, you won’t have a problem talking to other people about it. Just get the gist of it the first couple of times and you’ll see how every time you’re more and more comfortable doing it!
It’s intimidating, but that’s how I’ve gotten to be the outgoing and uncontrollably “weirdo” that I am today. I just love telling my stories to people, and I love it even more when they listen. It’s a great feeling…try it out!