I observe what outgoing people do, took mental notes of social butterflies, read books on how to be outgoing and spent way too much time with politicians and political candidates (from my day job).
And you know, there’s a lot of good news here I can share with you.
Being personable, social and outgoing are not inborn qualities.
They’re simply a mindset and skills to be learned.
If you’re committed to being more outgoing and personable, plan to apply the 11 tips I’m going to share with you below.
If you’re committed to harnessing the tips below, you’ll have more opportunities and advancement in your life and career.
No, you don’t have to be outgoing to be a success but, if you are inclined to learn the behavior of the socialites or simply become aware of the tricks of the trade, read more below.
Use these 11 skills responsibly and ethically to be more outgoing and improve your personal life and career:
1) Be aware of you self-limiting beliefs. More than likely, you believe that you can’t be outgoing and that by itself is limiting your ability to be more personable.
Confront thoughts which remind you that you’re not a good conversationalist, aren’t very outspoken or you can’t be the life of the party. .
Here’s the thing; you don’t have to be the life of the party. You don’t have to be the one person who tries to be the center of attention in your attempt to get everyone to notice you.
You can simply learn to make genuine and heartfelt connections with people. Allow others to get to know you by being available to them.
Don’t feel like you can’t do this – be open to learning skills that you can use to make deeper connections.
And no, you won’t be annoying or become “popular, if that’s what you fear.
You’ll simply be more engaging and friendlier.
Also, on the mindset front, be open to the fact that interacting with some people may be futile.
Some people won’t welcome your friendship, others might not be interested and a handful might even be rude.
Don’t allow a few bad encounters to prevent you from reaching out to other new people.
2) Change your mindset from wanting to giving. Most people get scared to network or meet new people because you imagine yourself being “needy” or wanting things from other people. This is simply not true.
There’s nothing more generous and unselfish like friendship and connection.
On a similar vein, you can change your mindset by being conscious about the purpose of every interaction. I’ve learned this from some very effective elected officials.
In many encounters you have with them, they’re looking for a way to help you.
They refer you to a colleague who can help, suggest a group you should get involved with, help you network with someone else at the event, ask you to get in touch with someone in their office to help you with a problem.
Do the same. What can you offer to the people you’re meeting? Probe your new acquaintances to see how you can add value in their life.
3) Practice the art of small talk with people you know. You despise small talk. A lot of us introverted people do but it’s an essential skill to open up deeper and more substantive connections.
Practice the art of small talk with people you already know. When you are in small gatherings, work events or family events, try chatting people up.
Practice small talk with people you know so it won’t be as awkward with strangers.
Get over the fear of not knowing what to talk about by discussing the first thing that comes to mind: what brought them there, how are they connected to the host, what are they doing the next day, which movie did they watch recently.
Bonus Tip: One great place to go to practice small talk is your local Toastmasters club.
Toastmasters clubs are literally located in every part of the world and bring people together to practice public speaking. This will give you a forum not only to chit chat with others but practice the art of public speaking which will undoubtedly give you the confidence to be comfortable in most social settings.
4) Stop talking about yourself – people don’t care about you initially.
And if you’re not sure what the heck to talk about, be inquisitive and interested in others. Pepper them with questions about their life and background.
Find out their life story.
Another effective approach to creating a bond with someone is to try to figure out what your common interests are: who you both know and what kind of shared experiences you have.
If you meet someone who grew up in the same town you did or traveled to the same parts of the world you have, you are instantly going to create a bond with them.
Unfortunately, you’re not going to find out what connects you with someone until you initiate some inquiries. Question your new acquaintance with the purpose of finding out what you share in common.
Find a common bond and you’ve made a solid connection!
5) Ask the host to introduce you. If you’re terrified of meeting new people, the host would be an ideal person to introduce you to others so ask them to.
If the host is tied up, look for the person in the room that seems to know everyone – the person with all the connections.
“Do you mind introducing me to some of your friends here?” you can politely ask the super-connected attendee.
They’ll gladly do so because you allow the connector to help you which they love to do and because the connector can add value to someone else by introducing you to others who might have a similar background as yourself.
6) Find the courage to go to events and meet new people. There’s no easy way about this. If you want to be more outgoing, you probably have to do what you hate most – being in new surroundings with people you don’t know asking you all kinds of inquisitive questions.
But here’s the deal, if you’re intent on being more outgoing, you have to bite the cheese platter and get out to some events.
I used to be anxious at every networking event I used to go to but soon realized that each one was filled with interesting people, always connected me with at least one good person to know and helped me get over my anxiety of going to events.
The only way to become accustomed to going to social events is to go to them.
Practice being uncomfortable at each event until you feel at ease. The more events you attend, the easier it becomes to attend a future event. And the more events you attend and socialize at, the less awkward each social interaction becomes.
There’s no way around this – you have to go to events and be willing to get uncomfortable for a minute, as you mingle with folks you don’t know.
Bonus Tip: If you’re terrified of going to “networking events” or parties where you feel like you don’t have much in common with anyone, look for social situations around your interests and hobby.
It is very easy to mingle if you’re all yoginis, love exotic foods from around the world or like hiking.
7) Be present. Listen. Did you know that you come across interesting, genuine and charismatic simply by being present in a conversation and listening?
Especially in social environments, which can be dominated by social bees who want to be the center of the attention.
You’ll be a welcome difference by simply listening to what others have to say and being responsive to their stories and interests.
Popular people seem to like to talk about themselves. They especially enjoy the company of those who are interested in hearing about their lives so use this to your advantage.
Make it a point to take a break from your cell phone. Simply by not checking your cell phone every ten minutes, not playing games on your Iphone or pretending to be always looking out for other more interesting people in the room to talk to, you offer your new acquaintance something no one else can offer – priceless attention and interest.
Practice the art of listening and being present at social events. Try not to jump into your own stories, but simply hear the other person out. Ask follow up questions about the other person instead of hijacking the conversation.
8) Visualize being an outgoing person. Who is the most social and outgoing person you know in your life? Who do you watch on television or in Hollywood oozing with friendliness?
Observe that person and take mental notes. See how they greet others, what questions they pose and how they present themselves in social settings.
You can’t duplicate someone else’s style because that’s not you but you can incorporate what you observe into your own social skills.
Also, more than specific skills or ability, focus on the air of confidence around the person.
Visualize yourself being confident, vivacious, interesting and being sure of yourself.
What would it feel like to be comfortable in your own skin and at ease in crowds. How assertive would you feel? How sure of yourself? Cool? Collected?
Capture that emotional feeling to replicate at future social events.
9) Don’t judge. It’s very easy to walk into a room of friendly, social and pleasant people to be simply judgmental.
Your inability to mingle like some in the room may bring out the worst feelings about yourself and negativity towards others.
“Boring….attention-seeking sociopaths or… reality show wannabes,” you might be hypothesizing.
It’s easier to cut people down and throw peppers on someone’s parade but it prevents you from being the person you want to be.
Mentally slamming the other attendees or having disparaging thoughts about social butterflies simply paralyzes you from being your best self and friendly self.
Alternate mindset: Appreciation. Go into the room with the spirit of gratefulness and appreciation for every person you meet.
Appreciate the time they take to speak to you. Be grateful for first-time conversation. Be thankful for exchanging business cards or contact information.
Focus on the positive values and what you’re grateful for with each person you meet. It helps you stay positive and in good spirits.
10) Be true to yourself. Be willing to be vulnerable. You might think of some fantasy person with a fabulous lifestyle of the rich and famous who might be the life of most parties.
Quite the contrary. As far as party-goers and attendees in social settings go, those with more colorful and checkered backgrounds are the most interesting people.
Talking to someone about their Harvard pedigree and how their grandfather was vice-president of the United States in the 1924 might seem impressive, but doesn’t help in creating deeper connections.
Those with perfect lives, spouses, wealth, fame and glamorous experiences might have little time or interest in you.
Similarly, there’s no need for you to portray a perfect life.
Be who you are. Be true to yourself. Tell people your failings and failures, in measured quantities, of course.
No need to paint a perfect picture of yourself – you’ll impress no one.
No need to pretend to know many influential people or have connections in Hollywood.
Everyone values authenticity and vulnerability.
If you share your struggles and setbacks along with your background and achievements, you’ll be able to relate to others better.
The more open and authentic you are, the more likely you’ve planted the seeds for a deeper connection and friendship.
11) Be friendly. What does it mean to be friendly?
Be approachable and exude a welcoming aura.
When you’re at social events, you know what it feels like when people are hovering over each other in very small cliques, sending off the message that they have no interest or time to talk to you.
Don’t reciprocate this behavior to others.
Being friendly means smiling at others instead of yawns of annoyance or more rounds of Angry Birds on your smartphone.
Being friendly means eye contact and greeting others at the event with “hello’s” and “nice to meet you’s”.
Being friendly means calling people by their names and reaching out to new people whom you don’t know.
I know that these strategies work because it was how I, a generally introverted person, have learned to mix and mingle with others. It’s how I worked in the legal field and the political field.
It’s my careful observation of what worked and what didn’t with successful attorneys and famous politicians.
You can do this – you can be friendly, open and sociable. You can use these skills in a business mixer, social event or holiday dinner party.
You can use these tips at work or at a corporate retreat.
Fine-tuning your social skills and mingling with others will produce new opportunities at work, more advancement and promotions, and more meaningful and lasting friendships.
What are you waiting for – visualize, smile, take a deep breath, believe in yourself and go work that room.
Are you an outgoing person or does it take work for you to be more personable? Please share any tips you’ve used to overcome your shyness and be more outgoing in the comments below.