Introverts are usually not interested in small talk because they are concerned that it will be boring or that they will not have the right words to keep the conversation going. But, given what is happening today, it is almost impossible to avoid making small talk at networking events, cocktail parties, and even when getting coffee at work. Here are some simple tips to help you talk to someone as an introvert.
How to talk to someone as an introvert
1. Do not be anxious
Introverts tend to be anxious when they want to engage in conversation, ranging from slight apprehension to crippling fear. Some may even hide or fiddle with their phones to avoid idle chitchat. A good way to combat your anxiety as an introvert is to stay positive and rational by meditating on the right words. Below are some words you can meditate on.
- That you can see the anxiety coming from you and your beliefs rather than the situation
- It doesn’t matter if they don’t like you; what’s the worst that can happen?
- Even if you have previously encountered an unfriendly situation, this does not guarantee that it will occur again.
- That you are both worthy and interesting and that you have much to contribute. Also, don’t let labels define you.
- When it comes to networking events, one should never be alone, and if you can strike up a conversation with someone, they will be grateful to have someone like you to talk to.
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2. Utilize your inquisitiveness
Introverts are naturally inquisitive and eager to delve deep into topics of interest while also learning what makes people tick. The trick is to channel your curiosity into chitchat, such as when you are asked, “How are you today?” I hope your weekend was enjoyable.
You would be wise to approach such a conversation with genuine interest by carefully listening to the other person and responding thoughtfully, and if you are successful in doing so, you may actually invite further ground for discussion, setting a positive tone for future interactions.
3. Be involved in asking questions.
Though introverts are often hesitant to say much about themselves, especially to new friends, the best way to start a conversation and keep it flowing as an introvert is to simply ask questions so that the other person takes center stage initially, after which you build your comfort level before sharing your own thoughts, and if you feel uncomfortable while sharing your thoughts, do well to stop. However, make sure that the other person does not do all of the talking.
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4. Include an intriguing piece
This is necessary if you relentlessly question the other person, so at some point, share some interesting piece about yourself, not in one word, but some juicy tidbits of information, or you can provide hooks to serve as a continuation for further discussion.
5. Expand the discussion
Normally, simple questions elicit a one-word response, but open-ended questions are a great way to spark longer and richer discussions by beginning with simple questions to avoid scaring the other person away. The benefit of an open-minded question is that it can nudge the conversation into a deeper, more authentic territory where introverts thrive. Here are some examples:
- Where are you from? You quickly respond after the response, woo, that’s such an interesting place; how is it different from here?
- Have you had the opportunity to attend events organized by this society? If so, how do you feel about today’s presentation?
It is so painful, but the fact remains that introverts are often misunderstood because their reserved nature is perceived as snobbish or because their deep passion for participating in a topic is perceived as too intense. As an introvert, you have great skills in searching for cues and learning to respond appropriately.
For example, if you feel that the other person is taken aback by your reserved nature, do well to smile and express sincere enthusiasm in the conversation. Alternatively, if you notice that the other person is becoming fidgety while you are still speaking on a subject, change the subject or possibly end the conversation.
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Despite the need for introverts to participate in discussions in order to free up their minds, consider it necessary to first be kind to yourself because, as an introvert, you are known as an introspective soul who can concentrate for long hours and is often seen as a gift, which can become uncool when an introvert gets to dwell on their own with the feeling of faults or failure.