Are you the kind of person who only says one word at parties – the word ‘sorry’ if you bump into someone? Fear not, this article will vastly improve your party-vocabulary so that people remember you when they go home. But you aren’t going to pop out of your shell overnight, it’s going to be a gradual process. It’s going to take time before you can take over a party.
So if you’re the person that hides in the corner of a party and doesn’t talk to anyone, an appropriate goal may be to start and maintain a short conversation with at least three people before the night’s up. If you can manage that, try talking to more people for longer durations at the next party. If that sounds too intimidating, at least try moving out of the corner! I’ll leave the goal-setting to you but remember, it’s important to set goals and track your progress.
Without further ado, here are three party take-over strategies:
Hakuna Matata: As explained in The Lion King, Hakuna Matata means ‘no worries’. For the purpose of this article, I want to emphasize that you should never worry about what others think of you. That doesn’t mean you stop caring about your reputation. It simply means to not worry about the unfair judgments the world makes about you. The kind of judgments that are meant to belittle. Remember, the more time you spend on what others think about you, the less time you’ll have to improve yourself. Start practicing this strategy and you’ll grow thicker skin over time. I also want to emphasize that you should not be plagued with self-doubts. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Don’t worry about the negative voice inside you that is telling you that you can’t do this or you can’t do that. Tell that voice to shut up. If you’re always beating yourself up, you won’t be strong enough to take over a cemetery let alone a party!
Over-Prepare: Name one victorious general that marched off to war with untrained soldiers and without a battle plan. If you aren’t naturally outgoing, then you’re going to have to prepare what to say when you’re in a social setting. Write down some conversation topics. Write down some of your personal experiences and rehearse them so that you don’t stumble when you talk about yourself at parties (don’t talk so much that you forget to listen). Write down something that happened in the news and try to have an opinion about it so that you stand out. If you’re up to date with what’s happening in all areas of the world, you’ll never run out of things to talk about. Rehearse all your conversation topics with a friend, your mother, anyone will do. If no one’s available, even talking to yourself in front of a mirror will help. Remember to make eye contact. Most importantly, write down more topics than you need and rehearse more than you need to, because you don’t want to run out of material. Also, if you forget something, you’ll be comforted by the fact that you remember a lot of other things. Over time, you won’t even need to write or rehearse because you’ll develop sophisticated and spontaneous conversation skills.
Embrace Solitude: There is a lot of noise in the world. Sometimes you need to tune it all out otherwise it’ll drive you crazy. This strategy may sound contradictory, but you need some alone time in a quiet space so that your mind can rest. Whether it’s reading a book or meditating or going for a walk in an empty park, find a quiet space where you can be at peace with yourself. Sometimes when you wake up and you have a lot to do that day (like attending numerous social gatherings!), it can feel like you’re stepping into a storm. So before you step into a storm, find a quiet space where you can “gather your calm”. If you’re pressed for time, even a few minutes of solitude every day will clear your head. When you emerge from your solitary cave, you will feel fresh enough to tackle new challenges.
Well, there you have it – three strategies to yank you out of your shell. I’d be lying if I said it’s going to be easy. To be perfectly honest, I’m still not fully out of my shell. It takes time, there’s no other way around it. Not being awkward in a social setting is indeed a challenge for me, but because I’ve been applying these strategies every single day, I have made progress over time. And if I can do it, there’s no reason you can’t either.