The Christmas holidays are upon us and for many, this is not always an enjoyable experience. Whether you’re sipping a drink at a friend’s home, sharing a turkey dinner with family, or attending the office party, use these tips for a more successful experience.
1 Visualize a positive outcome.Before leaving for the event, take a time-out. Shove all of the negative self-talk and old painful memories out of your mind. Fill the space with thoughts of the best possible outcome—the best experience you can imagine. If you’re sincere in your attempt at imagery, you’ll have much greater success than if you were to arrive still harbouring ill feelings and dread. Remember, you can’t change other people and you have very little influence in altering a situation, but you can change the way you approach and view the event and that could make all the difference in your level of enjoyment.
2 Seek out a friendly face. At least upon arrival to the event, and whenever you begin to feel that creeping lack of confidence, navigate toward the people you enjoy most. This might be someone you know well or a stranger with an easy smile who seems to be popular. If she’s popular, it’s most likely because she has effective communication skills—she puts those around her at ease.
3 Be a polite listener. This means, check your body language. Face the individual who is speaking. Make eye contact. Nod occasionally to let him know you are listening and understanding. Do not engage in distracting behaviour such as answering your phone, repeatedly looking away, cleaning your nails, etc. And do not cross your arms during the conversation; it looks disrespectful.
4 Be prepared. Bring stories of your happy or humorous holiday activities or situations and look for the right opening to share them. Others like to talk about their experiences too, so this is a good topic to bring up this time of year.
5 Be patient. The nature of a holiday gathering makes it difficult to have long, in-depth conversations with any one person. Others may join in while you’re chatting with someone, children will interrupt, you (or the other person) may be called away to help with a task or meet someone. Don’t expect to handle a sticky business or personal situation at a holiday social event because your chats will generally be brief. Be flexible and be patient.
I hope you found these tips useful, for more practical advice and lessons where you can practice these skills in real life - please make your new years resolution to join our club. And more importantly...
Developing your public speaking skills through our guided programme will help you feel more confident in social situations as well as when delivering formal presentations. Come along to one of our meetings to see it in action for yourself.
Credit: This content is based on an article in Toastmaster Magazine December 2017
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