Meeting new people isn’t always that easy. You don’t know what they will think of you and for most of us, that is a worry. It’s important that people like us. For that reason as much as anything else, we don’t always know what to say when we meet new people. It’s therefore understandable that you might lack confidence when meeting new people.
Mainly, we lack confidence when meeting new people because we want to impress them. Nobody likes to be rejected, and it is the fear of rejection, even from a complete stranger, which makes us nervous when meeting new people. Once you understand what it is that is making you nervous about meeting new people, you can overcome that nervousness.
Here are 10 tips which will help you to feel more confident when meeting new people:
1. Take someone with you
In most situations, you don’t have to go alone when you have to meet new people. You will probably feel much better about meeting them if you have a friendly face beside you, because you already know that your friend knows and likes you for who you are, so it softens the potential blow of being rejected by these new people. With a friend by your side, it doesn’t matter what these new people are like; you will still have at least some support.
2. Remember these new people you are meeting are only human!
Everyone has their faults. That includes the new people you are meeting. Stop worrying that they are perfect people and a standard up to which you should hold yourself. You don’t necessarily have to live up to their standards and ideals at all.
3. Don’t assume you are being judged
Why would you be? If you have met for some common interest or cause, it is far more likely that these new people will be concentrating more on that than on judging you, particularly in a negative way. Just try to be yourself and trust that this is good enough, because it really is!
4. Try to relax
Of course, relaxing is easier said than done when you are feeling nervous about meeting new people. However, if you aren’t relaxed, your brain will focus more on your panic than on what you want to say. Your brain will start to shut down rather than focus on what you want so say, so you will actually create a worse impression of yourself than if you were able to relax a bit, so it does pay in meeting new people to try to calm yourself down a little.
5. Prepare some things you want to say
Everyone has experienced the situation mentioned in the previous point, where you become so nervous you are tongue-tied and literally unable to speak, or at least unable to think of anything to say. Prepare for this. There are two kinds of scenarios you can prepare for here.
The first one is the easiest, where you know in advance that you are going to be meeting new people for a specific purpose. That may be a business meeting, arranging for some work to be done on your house etc. In this kind of scenario, you can quite easily write down and rehearse the information you want to give them and the things you want to ask.
Let’s think now about the types of meetings with new people where there isn’t a specific purpose. These are usually social gatherings. You can prepare a list for these too, only this time it will be a more generic list of light inoffensive topics to talk about and also some questions to open a conversation with and get people talking.
6. Keep that list with you
Remember that list of topics and questions you made? You can take it with you for the meeting. In fact, if you are going to a business meeting or setting up someone to do some work for you they will expect you to make notes and bring them with you as you talk.
That should take some pressure off you and ease your nerves. You won’t have to worry about forgetting what you want to say. You can always check your notes. If you are in a social situation, you probably won’t want to whip out your written list from your pocket to consult it, but you won’t need to. For social situations, you will need to prepare some generic topics and questions that will suit a variety of situations.
7. Treat yourself to a new outfit
You will approach meeting any new people a lot more confidently if you are happy with the way you look. It’s surprising how good a new outfit will make you feel, especially if it is one picked especially for the occasion so it is really appropriate for it. You don’t have to spend a million dollars just to feel a million dollars. However, wearing clothes you know are in good condition and which suit you and are appropriate to the occasion, should really help to boost your confidence when meeting new people.
8. Be true to yourself
Being yourself can be a little easier said than done, admittedly, but it is important. If you are nervous about meeting new people, often you will over-compensate by trying to impress them. That can cause far more problems than it solves.
In meeting new people, you should always stick to your own moral code and the things you believe in. If people don’t like you for who you really are then they aren’t good friends for you and you don’t need them. Trying to be someone that you’re not won’t feel so good in the morning when you have done things you don’t want to do, or when people find out you were only really faking it. Faking never gets you anything but heartache and trouble, but if you are acting in a genuine, natural way, and people are getting on well with you, this will really boost your confidence. Even if people like a fake representation of you, it won’t boost your confidence as you will never know if they like the real you. There just is no sense in faking it.
9. Accept that some people won’t like you
You shouldn’t be scared of the fact that not everyone will like you. You don’t like every other person in the world, do you? There will no doubt be people whose morals and opinions you disagree with. That doesn’t necessarily make them bad people; they are just not your type of people. You are free to dislike some people and that does them no damage whatsoever. The same is true of people disliking you. It doesn’t do you any harm, and you may well not like the ways in which you would have to change yourself to get their approval. It’s not worth it. Liking yourself is far more important than having other people like you, but the great thing is that if you like yourself, you are more likely to have people like you.
10. Get out there and practice
Like most things, meeting new people gets easier with practice. You should start the easy way, saying hello to the person at the checkout, making small talk with the newspaper boy, etc. You can try out these techniques on people where it really doesn’t matter if you make a lasting positive impression upon them. This way you can sharpen your skills so that you are better able to try them out when it really matters.
So there you have it, 10 ways to be more confident when meeting new people. You can start in small ways, and really build on that confident feeling so that you never worry about meeting new people and talking to them again.
Peter Murphy is a peak performance expert. He recently produced a very popular mini-seminar about how to develop high self confidence. Take a look at this new site now because it reveals some controversial ways to become confident quickly and easily: be more confident