1. When in doubt, ask a lot of open ended questions - people love talking about themselves
2. No one is 'always' an introvert - there may be some topics you absolutely love to talk about and they make you come alive - tap into that confidence and where appropriate, even introduce these topics into conversation
3. Approach the event with a balanced mind - not every connection will be successful, but that’s more than ok - the more you connect, the more you build your connection muscle!
4. If you’re lacking the motivation to go or want to cancel last minute, think of all the benefits you’ll gain by attending - even better, write them down! Think about what is most important to you in life. How will this event help you achieve what’s important to you?
5. No one will judge you harsher than you judge yourself, so next time you’re afraid of someone’s opinion or how they act towards you, keep this in mind!
6. Similarly, keep in mind that most people are too busy thinking about themselves to focus on your perceived flaws - this should help you to stop overanalysing your behaviour, and start acting more in the moment.
7. We recommend open body language, but it can be hard to try and think of everything in the moment (e.g. eye contact, smiling, arms unfolded). Instead, think of giving people the kind of warm energy you'd give a long lost friend (minus any long hugs!)
8. Personal grooming is a must - you don't have to look like Chris Hemsworth, but taking the time to take care of how you present yourself can pay back great dividends! Not only will you naturally be more appealing to others, you'll feel more confident within yourself, which will have a flow on effect to your social skills.
9. Think of the people you admire who are socially skilled and study them - don't try to be exactly like them, but seek to learn how they move, speak and what their beliefs are about themselves, so you can get some inspiration.
10. Lastly, I know it's cliche, but always remember to be kind to yourself - Almost no one was born as a natural social connector - we had to learn these behaviours over time! If you feel like this is a challenge for you, it's more than ok. If you want to improve in this area then all it takes is some focus!
By Paula Vargas