Capitalize on Social Opportunities

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Capitalize on Social Opportunities


Extroverts would like to have the rest of the world believe that they are comfortable in any social setting, but the simple truth is that everyone, introvert or extrovert, sometimes finds themselves in an anxiety- inducing situation.   You can bet that in a room full of people, many, if not all, are hesitant to initiate conversations.


Take the initiative.  In a crowded room you should see a bubble over each person’s head that reads “OPPORTUNITY!” in big bold letters.  Approach someone and introduce yourself with confidence, class, and charisma.  Easier said than done, right?  Here’s how to look and sound the part:

  • Smile warmly, and acknowledge the other person’s name right away.  Try something like, “Tom, it’s very nice to meet you.”  Then state your name slowly, e.g., “I’m Jane Doe.”
  • Face your listener, maintain good eye contact, and be sure to use a firm handshake for both men and women.
  • Be prepared with a short and meaningful statement about what you do or why you’re attending the event.  You do not want to be at a loss of words so early in the conversation.
  • Adjust your volume and rate of speech to match that of the other person.
  • Pause briefly after expressing important ideas. This allows the listener time to process and hopefully remember the idea.
  • Consider the power of thoughtful silences.  These moments let the other person know you are really considering what was said and are sincere.
  • Make sure the ends of your statements have a slight downward pitch.  This indicates certainty and confidence. An upward pitch indicates hesitancy or a question.

In face-to-face communication, your facial expressions and body movements also carry effective meaning. Your smile, the tilt of your head, the movements of your hands and shoulders, and your eye contact all serve to engage your listener and to help them hear the message.

About the Author:

Ellen Dunnigan founded Accent On Business in 2001 specializing in public speaking, communication skills, and executive presence for leaders in business. She has 25 years of experience with professional and nonprofessional speakers in healthcare, media, politics, engineering, sports, and other industries. Ellen’s coaching in speaking skills gives established and emerging leaders greater confidence and credibility. Her leadership programs in accountability, alignment, difficult conversations, and organizational communication have helped leaders expand their influence. Ellen is known for her practical “how to” style.
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