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By CJ O’Brien, EPIC Intern
For some, the classic image of the creepy guy offering candy and luring children into a white van may come to mind. BUT, once you reach mid-adolescence to the young adult years, this long known maxim actually puts these kids at a disadvantage. For one, most people have no actual practice in talking to strangers, we tend to become anxious when we’re confronted or find ourselves in conversation with one. This is normal because the brain is usually wary of things we have not experienced before. Thus, we tend to avoid situations in which we may need to talk to strangers, or at the very least don’t have much confidence in our ability to interact and express ourselves to the best of our ability.
Here are some benefits of talking to strangers that you might have never considered before:
1. Boost in MOOD When we talk to someone we have never encountered before, no matter how fleeting it may be, it gives us a temporary boost of delight and positive energy.
When we talk to someone we have never encountered before, no matter how fleeting it may be, it gives us a temporary boost of delight and positive energy.
When I interact with several strangers throughout the day I suddenly find my MOOD SHIFTING from a “less talkative state” to a more positive social state. How long you interact with a stranger or what content you talk about usually won’t matter too much in the beginning. Start by setting a goal of how many people you want to engage in a day. Ask a question or acknowledging something in the environment that you both are experiencing at the same time….this can be enough to trigger the small influxes of positive energy and elation. And more than not, this will also boost the mood of the stranger you are engaging. Talking to enough strangers can give off effects similar to exercising, with the added benefit of improving your confidence.
2. Build CONFIDENCE Imagine what it would feel like to be able to walk up to anyone, anywhere, in any situation with full confidence? Sounds too good to be true? It’s not. In psychology there’s a fancy word called desensitization, and to make a long story short it has to do with the fact that the more often you throw yourself in situations that cause anxiety, the more “muscle” you put on mentally and the better you will be able to handle it. The hardest part is making the first move. Get out there and talk to one stranger, each day, until you slowly boost your confidence and it begins to feel natural. Success in business and life almost always comes down to how you handle and perceive social relationships.
3. Grow your NETWORK Eliminating your fears of rejection, eliminating fear of evaluation and beginning to understanding how people work is the first key to building a strong network. You are your most important asset. As you get more comfortable approaching strangers then you will begin to make relationships and grow your professional network. Your ROI when you put in the work will be tenfold. This is one of the most important keys in building a successful business (and life).
NOW GET OUT THERE. TALK TO STRANGERS. HAVE FUN. AND MEET NEW PEOPLE.