Some people can strike up a conversation with anyone, even complete strangers. But for many of us, talking to someone we don’t know can be awkward and nerve-racking.
But putting yourself out there and interacting with new people comes with some big benefits, according to Kerrie Phipps, a leadership coach and the author of DO Talk To Strangers.
“Reaching out to strangers and creating connections with them can change your perspective,” she says.
“It helps expand our empathy, build awareness, and can give you a new way of looking at things you might not have considered before.”
“I’ve been able to have all these conversations I wouldn’t normally have, which means I’ve learned things I wouldn’t normally learn,” Nick says.
What’s more, by continually putting yourself out there and meeting new people, you attract more opportunities into your life.
But while there are many undoubted benefits to building your network, the reality is that it doesn’t come naturally to many people. So what can help get the words flowing?
Kerrie says you should use your surroundings to help you initiate a conversation. For example, if you’re attending an event, ask the person what they are most looking forward to.
“There’s no right or wrong answer, so they can just share something – and the energy just grows from there,” she says.
Nick says many of us feel nervous about talking to strangers because we are afraid of being rejected. But we should be brave and worry less.
“Since I started contacting all these strangers and inviting them to lunch, one thing I’ve discovered is how positively people respond,” he says.
“So rather than laughing at you for contacting them, people really respect you.”