Communicating With Confidence and Kindness

When a person feels confident, others feel more comfortable around them and communication is much easier. If you are one who feels uncomfortable in social situations, here are some tips to help keep the conversation flowing.

  • It is important to remember that a conversation is meant to be a back and forth exchange between two people. It should not feel like a lecture, speech or interview.
  • When the other person is talking, pay attention! This may sound simple, but it’s easy to forget if your surroundings are distracting (like when your cell phone rings or your Blackberry is buzzing).
  • Demonstrate that you’re paying attention to what the other person is saying. Maintain eye contact, nod when appropriate, and occasionally repeat back what they said, a technique called “mirroring”. People appreciate it when they know you are really focused on what they are saying.
  • Try to get the other person to talk as much as possible. You can start by asking open ended questions (“What are your travel plans this summer?”), instead of yes/no questions (“Are you going on vacation?”).
  • Say the other person’s name. It’s simple to do, but very meaningful, as people love to hear their own name. It makes them feel acknowledged and remembered.
  • Listen before answering. When someone asks you a question, make sure to listen to the entire question before answering, otherwise you may end up giving an improper response. If someone should ask you a question that you would rather not answer, try responding with another question. You can also use humor and/or change the subject.
  • If someone asks you what you do for a living, don’t give a one word answer. If you’re a consultant, for example, you might say, “I help small business owners learn how to increase their revenue while decreasing their work hours.”
  • Never ask someone, “What do you do?” During these difficult economic times with layoffs, restructuring, downsizing, etc., it could turn out to be a very awkward conversation. Instead, ask something like, “How do you like to spend your free time?”

I have read a plethora of reports, statistics, and studies that state social anxiety is experienced by 50 to 90% of people attending networking, business, and extended family functions.   The best social solution I have found to quell social anxiety, is to go to an event with the intention of putting another person at ease.  Take the focus off of yourself and place it on enhancing the other person’s social ease and confidence.

When we think and act beyond our own needs, hopes, and wants… we glean vast rewards.  I think this works for just about everything in life, putting value, time, and energy into other people, yields magical results for all that all are involved.

Stretching to put more kindness and compassion out there is like planting a tree. It takes time, money, and work to plant a tree. We tell ourselves we are giving the tree life and helping the environment… yet, the rewards of planting that tree are 10 fold. It brings shade on a hot sunny day. Comfort and shelter for beautiful birds to live, sing, and nest. Adventure for our children as they climb the strong branches for views far and wide that can’t be seen from the ground.  The goodness comes back to us in multiple forms.

Don’t get discouraged if you can’t remember every suggestion, just focus on being kind, considerate, and respectful toward others and you can’t go wrong.

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Leave A Reply (15 comments So Far)

  • Newsongpiano1

    Excellent info. Love the practical advice and reminders. Yesterday I realized I forgot to introduce myself and shake hands as I normally do when meeting someone new. We had a great time connecting, but realized afterwards I forgot some of my manners! GOod etiquette is so important. I teach it to my children daily!

    • patricia rossi

      Thank you for reading the post and leaving the wonderful comments. I am so happy that your children have the good fortune of being taught soft social skills and Etiquette. It will serve them for a lifetime. Thanks once again.
      Best,
      Patricia Rossi

  • Newsongpiano1

    Excellent info. Love the practical advice and reminders. Yesterday I realized I forgot to introduce myself and shake hands as I normally do when meeting someone new. We had a great time connecting, but realized afterwards I forgot some of my manners! GOod etiquette is so important. I teach it to my children daily!

  • When you take the focus off yourself and enter a room with the desire to learn about and from others, all the anxiety melts away, because you no longer have anything to prove. If you practice these techniques until they become your natural way of being, you will enrich your social interaction in ways you cannot even imagine.

    • Patricia Rossi

      Thank you Tom,
      I agree 100% showing kindness and consideration for others does enrich you in so many ways. Thank you for reading the post and for visiting BestLifeDesign.
      Kindest regards,
      Patricia Rossi

  • Bravo Patricia! Again with such elegance and grace you have delivered a strong and encouraging message. These tips are powerful for all of us – even those who do not experience social anxiety. Thank you!

    • Patricia Rossi

      Thank you so very much Dondi. I am honored to be a part of this amazing Blog. Thank you for the kind and encouraging words.
      All my best,
      Patricia Rossi

  • Patricia, what a beautiful post. I can just hear you saying all these things in your soothing Southern drawl! I just love the tip about heading into an event focused on how to put others at ease. Sometimes we don’t do that because we’re thinking, “Well, I’m the new one here!” or “Who am I to act like this is my domain?” “I’m just a nobody in this crowd.”
    Thanks for giving all the readers permission to be the one who takes the higher road. I say, let’s just go ahead, and act like we’re the ones who threw the party! The people who need our listening ears will be so grateful.
    Love it!

  • Patricia, what a beautiful post. I can just hear you saying all these things in your soothing Southern drawl! I just love the tip about heading into an event focused on how to put others at ease. Sometimes we don’t do that because we’re thinking, “Well, I’m the new one here!” or “Who am I to act like this is my domain?” “I’m just a nobody in this crowd.”
    Thanks for giving all the readers permission to be the one who takes the higher road. I say, let’s just go ahead, and act like we’re the ones who threw the party! The people who need our listening ears will be so grateful.
    Love it!

    • Patricia Rossi

      Greetings Gina,
      Thank you so very much for all the wonderful feedback. When I talk to you my focus is making you laugh… Just wanted you to know that. :0) Thanks again.
      My best,
      Patricia Rossi

  • Patricia,

    Plain and simple. You rock! Miss your face, girl!

  • Patricia,

    Plain and simple. You rock! Miss your face, girl!

  • Anonymous

    I love your beautiful metaphor: “Stretching to put more kindness and compassion out there is like planting a tree.”

  • Anonymous

    I love your beautiful metaphor: “Stretching to put more kindness and compassion out there is like planting a tree.”

  • Appreciate you inviting us to consider that as uncomfortable as we may feel, there are likely others who feel as much or more so … and the door to help ourselves is helping them feel more at ease. Profound.

    Also like Gina’s suggestion to come from a place of feeling like we’re the one throwing the party – doing what a good hostess would do and creating more FUN for everyone!