How to Talk to People You Don’t Know

Many people want to know how to talk to people you don’t know. You’re standing in the check-out line at the local grocery store and there’s a person standing next to you that you’d like to talk to. However, you think about what to say and a dozen other reasons why you can’t say anything.

It can become an anxiety provoking situation and prevent you from speaking the first words. You then might walk away wondering why you never spoke. Talking to people you don’t know can be a nerve racking experience, especially if you are not an outgoing person.

Here are some points to think about that might help you the next time you want to talk to someone you don’t know.

Let Go and Let It Happen

One of the greatest obstacles a person places in front of themselves, when they want to talk to someone they don’t know, is fear. Fear can make a person over analyze a situation, preventing them from taking the first step.

A person who fears talking to someone new is thinking about rejection and not about the potential of developing a new friendship.

Everyone who attempts to talk to someone they don’t is taking a chance at being rejected. The key is to not let the fear of that possibility prevent you from making the first move. Let go of thinking about the possibilities and let whatever happens happen.

Keep It Simple

Many people, especially men, think they have to throw out a long, catchy and interesting conversation starter to get to know someone new. When we do this it’s all about our ego and sending the message ‘you should talk to me because I’m intelligent’.

Actually, when you make the first move in getting to know someone you don’t know you should keep it simple, and keep your ego totally out of it. There is no quicker way to discourage someone from talking with you than to be long-winded and egotistical.

One way to keep it simple and keep your ego out of it is to make a positive comment about the other person’s clothing, an accessory or something else you observe about the person that can be used as a positive ice breaker.

For example, if you’re standing in the check out line and the person standing next to you is holding a product you like and use, you can use that as a conversation opening, maybe even giving them a suggestion regarding its use.

Listen, Listen, Listen, & Listen Some More

One of the most damaging things most of us do to our friendships and relationships, is not listening to the other person.

Many of us are so focused on what we want to say we can’t hear the other person and what they are trying to say to us. This is one of the gravest mistakes to make in any relationship and certainly will close the door to making new ones. Again, it goes back to letting go of the ego.

Listening to the other person is not just about eye-to-eye contact and nodding your head in understanding. This might get you by, but it’s not real unless you are actually absorbing what the other person is saying. That means turning off your internal voice and opening your ears.

A good way to do that is to paraphrase what the other person is saying. This will send the message that what they are saying is important to you.

Relax and Be Yourself

Whenever you are getting to know someone you don’t know it should be a fun experience, for yourself as well as the other person.

Everyone has something interesting about that makes them a unique person. And this uniqueness in each of us is what makes life fascinating. If you realize this it will be much easier for you to relax and be yourself: that’s really how to talk to people you don’t know.


This entry was posted in Communication Skill and tagged talking to people on by admin.

About admin

Peter W. Murphy is a peak performance expert. His focus is on key distinctions that make a big difference. He enjoys going deep into a research topic to discover the often overlooked but key elements anyone can focus on to achieve much better results. Peter enjoys competitive tennis, travel, good friends, loud music and taking time to enjoy the moment.