You’re out and about, being social, and wanting to behave like the high-value person you are. It sounds like it should be pretty straightforward: be a high-value person, and you’ll automatically offer value to others. But things are never that simple, are they? Try too hard and you become that needy person who practically repels others.
Don’t leave people feeling like you turned social hour into an uncomfortable personal experiment — have a good time and put the people around you at ease by following our three super simple rules. Not only will you end up having a great time, but you can rest easy knowing that they are enjoying it, too.
1. Offer Value by Sorting Yourself out First
Before you brave the next big outing, be mindful of your ultimate goal: showing yourself to be a high-value person. If you want to do that, make sure you:
- Have a great smile. Smiling makes the people around you relax and feel at ease, but it also relaxes you. When you’re tense, the smile is the first thing to fade. We see it all the time when we watch videos of our 30-Day Challenge and work with clients at Bootcamp. Nerves make your smile vanish. Even if you have to force it at first, smile a little. It will alleviate the tension you’re feeling and warm up the people around you.
- Be positive to be more attractive. Positive people are attractive because positivity draws people in by allowing them to relax and feel comfortable. A positive vibe sends the signal that there’s no place you’d rather be than right in the moment with the people around you. You’re out and about and feeling good; it should take more work to find something to complain about than it should to enjoy the atmosphere. This is a huge part of living as a high-value person. Really successful and important people avoid negativity. They remove it from their life without hesitation. So if you’re trying to connect with higher value people and make an impact, you have to be positive in order to break into that social circle.
- Mind your body language. Beyond your smile, how you position yourself in a room an impression as well. Feeling anxious shows in our body language — we close off, cross our arms, and make ourselves a little smaller instinctively, trying to protect ourselves. The easiest way to combat this tempting habit is to keep your arms at your side and your chest/torso open. Closing off your body language has the same effect on the other person; they will feel tense and nervous and close off from you as well. Loosen up your body language to open your mind and stay in the conversation.
- Use tone to show some enthusiasm. Everyone’s got a lot of stuff to talk about when they’re out. The temptation will be to feel like you’ve got to turn it on and be the life of the party, but that’s not actually what you want to do. Just be present in the moment and focus on listening to and understanding the people around you. If you learn to control yourself, you can be that high-value person before you even open your mouth to speak.
2. Start Small to Win
Don’t feel like every conversation should be a home run, filled with witty remarks and long, deep talks. Setting that as your goal is a good way to feel like you’re missing the mark. Start small and loosen up: pay someone a genuine compliment, show some appreciation…it’s the little things that will move the chat forward.
Notice and acknowledge everyone around you. Throw out some high-fives, shake a few hands, introduce yourself, or offer up a toast. These are small actions, but they’re easy and effective ways to break the ice. You’ll start building some social momentum, raise your own energy, and leave the people around you feeling good.
We see this work beautifully during our Bootcamp field nights. They’re almost always nerve-wracking adventures, because something can always go wrong, even if you’re just trying to give someone a high-five. They could leave you hanging! But what we find is that four out of five people will high-five you right back — and even better, they’ll remember you and approach you later in the evening.
Ever had the awkward experience of being the guest of someone who forgot to introduce you to their friends? You could be left just standing there, like a weird third wheel, wondering whether you should just go ahead and introduce yourself. Make sure you don’t leave others in that position. When you bring someone into a conversation, give them a solid introduction.
Pro Tip: Become the conduit in your circle — the one who makes sure introductions are made. It really is as simple as asking, “Have you met my friend, Johnny?” Take that responsibility and welcome strangers into your group, and you’ll help everyone feel like they’re part of the conversation. That’s all anyone wants when they’re out — to feel included. You never know how much anxiety you may be relieving for someone just by making sure they don’t feel left out. It doesn’t matter whether you met someone a minute ago or you’ve known them for years; practicing good social grace means making introductions when they’re needed.
3. Take a Real Interest in Others
Taking a moment to be authentic and interested in someone else is going to open up the conversation and allow the other person to be vulnerable and connect with you. Some people really struggle with keeping conversations going after the initial introduction, but if you take a real interest in other people, you’ll find that everyone’s got an amazing story if you just give them the opportunity to share it.
Experiences are emotional for us, so if you can get someone to share a story with you, they’ll really open up. Check out just a few examples of what you could ask to spark further conversation:
- Reasons for moving/living where you’re located
- What interested them about their industry
- Why they’re at the event
- Who they’d like to meet
- Other open-ended questions that involve some explanation
As they open up and share about themselves, you become memorable. Suddenly, you’ve positioned yourself to be the one they call back and want to meet up with later, because you stand out from the crowd.
Asking questions is one of the strengths of extroverts, and you can use that to help an introvert open up to you as well. Once you ease their anxiety, they’ll be happy to talk, but make sure you respond to what they’re saying with verbal and body language cues, like nodding and eye contact. People want to know that you’re actively listening. Then, when the conversation opens up, share a similar experience or emotion that ties into what they were telling you.
Follow these three rules and the people you socialize with will feel like you are truly present and engaged, which is an amazing feeling. That’s what high-value people bring to social interactions. Now get out there and offer some value!