When you look at the biggest fears of the human race ‘speaking in front of an audience’ is the biggest fear in Americans according a study with 3000 participants from the Sunday Times. Why is that? Why are we so afraid of speaking in front of more than 3 people. I want to make this problem even more simple. People are afraid to talk to strangers. This is not because your mum told you you are not allowed to speak to strangers, but you are just afraid in general! When I sit in the train and I go sit next to somebody, they don’t greet back 8 out 10 times. A simple, laid back conversation is really, really hard for the most of us. Let’s change that!
The key in losing fear for conversations.
There are a lot of ways to change behaviour of people, but in this typical behaviour (afraid to talk to others), there is only one sollution according to me. The confrontation therapy, just confront somebody with their inner fears. So in order to overcome this (stupid?) fear of speaking to others, just do it. Get out on the street and talk to somebody, there are other ways also. You need to lose your shame in some sort of way. Tim Ferriss explained pretty clearly in his book how to. Just go to a busy street and lay down on the ground. Suddenly. Get down and chill for a little while. Feel the eyes burning on you. Everybody is looking, everybody sees you acting all weird. So what? Is that behaviour you need to be ashamed of? I don’t think so. When you cheat on your girlfriend, that is something you should be ashamed of! Looking funny, nothing shameful about it.
Let’s don’t do any drastic things a laying down on busy sidewalks. Let’s make a more easy training.
How to lose fear for conversations
- Say hi. When you are in the train, on the bus or just walking somewhere, greet! Greet people, say hi, it is such a simple word. But with this word, you force yourself to talk to others and that is a big step in overcoming your fear! Greet people and get ahead of the game. Repeat this for two weeks or so and this isn’t scary anymore.
- Talk. Now you are feeling confident about greeting people and initiating contact. Now start to talk. Say something about the weather, about the timetable of the train or whatever. When you see people looking for the way, ask them if you can help them. Get used to talking to random strangers. Just a little small talk, ask what they are doing, where they come from. This is your ultimate goal and the next step is making this step easier again.
- Ask stupid questions. Let’s face your biggest fear: Shame. Let’s provoke situations where you will be in fear, definitly. You need to ask the most stupid questions you can think of to get really ashamed. Ask questions like ‘Where is the nearest toilet and not an urinal if you know what I mean’ or ‘Where is the nearest adult-video store?’ Questions that will make you guaranteed ashamed. This is to make the second step way easier. Talking to general people isn’t that hard at all, but to more important people, or a pretty girl or something can still be hard. When you are practising with asking really stupid questions, you will know how not-important that feeling of shame is and how it has been holding you back for a long time. This step is a step that you don’t practise on those beautiful girls, but it will make the conversation with them more easy!
Shall we look back a little? The key point which is holding us back to talk to strangers is fear. We fear the feeling we get when we talk to people in general, that is the point we need to overcome. In order to overcome (or lose) that fear, we need to face it. Provoke it and make it even worse. With this kind of training we won’t have any fear anymore and talking to people will just be something which is easy!
Starting a conversation is really easy, you just need to lose fear, overcome it and you will enjoy the feeling of a nice little conversation about nothing, with a total stranger. Have fun!
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