Need better conversations? Sign up for my email list to get a free chapter of my new book, More Than Just Talk.

Today I’d like to share with you a few simple best practices that can help you set the stage for greater social confidence and better conversations. Sure, you may have heard these before. But based on my experiences and observations of late, it’s clear we all need a refresher.  If more of us practiced these, I’m convinced our social exchanges – and the world – could be beautifully transformed.

  1. Go back to what you (hopefully) learned in Kindergarten: Use these words. ‘Hello,” “Good-bye,” “Please,” and “Thank You.” Seriously. Pay attention to how often (or infrequently) you and others use these in daily conversations.  And no, these are not old-fashioned. They are part of Social and Business Etiquette 101.
  2. Acknowledge others in your immediate presence. This means offering eye contact, a smile, and a warm greeting. Bonus points for tacking on a few additional words of warmth and friendliness. such as “Hello. Good morning!”  Adding in “How’s your day going?” is even better. I can’t tell you how many times the other person replied and said “Thanks for asking.”
  3. Be proactive in introducing yourself at social gatherings. This is no one else’s responsibility but yours.  Many don’t know this, which is why social and networking events can feel so….awkward and miserable. Everyone is waiting for everyone else to take charge.  But not you!
  4. Say your name clearly. In other words, make sure others can hear and understand it. Say it several times. Spell it if necessary. Offer a shortened version or a nickname if your name is long and complex to pronounce.  Offer a reference that can be a cue to remember it more easily.
  5. Don’t beat yourself up about not being able to remember names. I don’t know about you, but I have met a lot of people over the course of my life. Remembering all their names is nearly impossible. I confess, I’m much better with faces. If you’ve forgotten someone’s name, say something like “I’m so sorry. I’m trying to remember your name, and I’m drawing a complete blank. Can you please remind me?”
  6. Don’t get upset if others forget your name. I once knew a woman who got quite agitated and offended when others didn’t remember her name.  Like she was the Queen of Sheba or something. She has since moved away, and I’m not one bit sad about that. Please. Give others a break and offer a gentle reminder if they can’t remember your name.  Do this as often as necessary.  This is called grace.
  7. When offering a handshake…Offer neither your best Kung Fu death grip nor a limp fish. If you’re not sure about your handshake, which should be firm but not too grippy, ask a friend to offer constructive feedback.

Practice these basic social courtesies and see how your social life and confidence improves!

Have a friend or colleague who needs to be receiving my blog posts or all the freebies on my website?  Interested in my upcoming programs and gatherings?  Make sure they and you are on my list.  Sign up here.