Each of us is surrounded by people right from birth. Those people become an important part of how we act and what we value. We begin with the family. Children have enhanced grasping powers at a young age. That’s when they pick up the language, values, knowledge, behavioural patterns of their family members, who are the source of Primary Socialization. Then they step out of their comfort zone and move to the outer world. Adaptation and Adjustment come into the picture here. They are introduced to people of different cultures, ethnicities, races, mindsets and more.

Today, the essence of traditional communication is withering away while we adapt to a new structure. The meet and greets, handshakes and hugs have been replaced with virtual meetings. Socializing behind a screen has also made us forget the simple task of starting a conversation. People are starting to find comfort in distancing themselves from the world at all times. Those who want to jump out of this cycle often ask questions like:

How can I start a conversation?

How can I continue the flow without breaking into an awkward silence?

How can I build the confidence to speak to people that seem intimidating?

How can I speak without the fear of being judged?

How can I make people listen to me?

A few tips to help you socialize better than you used to…

  • Step out of your comfort zone. Take it up as a challenge. Whether it is meeting new friends, taking the lead for a project or doing something you don’t normally do. Point being, put yourself in situations where you get a chance to speak.
  • Listen. You can be a good speaker if you are a good listener. When you know what to talk about, you can carry it further with the knowledge you have or simply ask about the topic.
  • Don’t break the flow. Sometimes because of small talk and awkward pauses, a potential long conversation can be over in minutes. Try and indulge in asking more related questions. For example, when a person says, “I enjoyed my trip to Maldives.” you can say something like, “Oh I would love to visit Maldives” or “How was your experience there?” the person immediately feels like you're taking interest and tends to speak more.
  • Take it slow. You don’t have to blabber just for the sake of it. Sometimes, even sitting in silence or doing an activity together goes a long way. Make sure you take your breaks to calm yourself and take space to clear your mind.
  • Fake it till you make it. Research has shown that it can help to act extroverted, even if you're introverted, according to Schreiber. It likely works due to positive social feedback (i.e., people finding you ridiculously charming, and it thus egging you on). So smile, walk to the center of the room, and shake people's hands. It may just start to rub off.