Books, pencils, backpacks…. Conversation? It’s back to school time and most students are busy getting into a routine, learning their schedules, starting activities, meeting new people and friends.
Sometimes meeting new friends can be intimidating.
So… how do you get social and start a conversation when it’s difficult?
Here are some tips on how to get out there and get the words flowing:
1) Decide who you want to talk to
This may seem like an obvious question but if you have trouble starting a conversation with new people it is super helpful to decide what kind of person you want to engage with! The easiest way to start deciding is asking yourself, “who has something in common with me? Is there someone I have a class with that seems interesting? Is there an activity that you are involved with that someone else is involved with too?”
2) Start Small
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to go too deep, too soon. Start with a head nod or wave “hello” or even a simple introduction: “Hi, my name is…” “Hello, what is your name?”
3) Choose a Topic
Before even engaging with someone you can always choose a topic to talk about. Making an effort to choose a topic beforehand can be a good way to relieve some anxiety of meeting new people (psst! Be sure to be mindful of hint #1 when trying to decide a topic). For example: If you are going to talk to someone in your Biology class who you know likes frogs, you can choose frogs as a topic!
4) Ask questions and actively listen
Generally, people like to feel appreciated. Usually, when they do, they will be more open and welcoming to interact with you. Make sure that your questions are open ended so that you give them an opportunity to express themselves. For example: “What is it about frogs that you like?” A question like this will entice them to tell you more about themselves and in return want to ask you questions! Bonus! Active listening involves approaching a conversation with a genuine desire to understand the other person’s feelings and perspective, without judgment or defensiveness – providing them with non verbal cues such as head nodding and eye contact for feedback. It’s important to listen actively when someone is speaking. It creates a sense of trust and will encourage them to reciprocate.
5) Be positive!
Conversing with new people is an exciting and positive thing. You will want to avoid talking about negative topics at first. Avoid using negative tones, and most important: smile!
Starting a conversation can be a challenge, but SLN is here to help! We offer a program called the Social Language Connection which provides a safe and comfortable learning environment where teens and young adults will learn the skills to develop strong communication skills and build confidence outside of the therapy setting.
Curious about learning more? Call today to inquire about an assessment so we can get you on the path to getting those topics flowing! +1 306 933 3222