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Meeting new people

Have you ever worried about walking into a room where you don't know anyone? Most of us have. No need to worry any longer, because here's one of the secret strategies that high achievers use to make an impact in the world.

How to be an insider
It takes courage to go somewhere new when you don't know any of the people there, doesn't it? Going to parties, chatting with work colleagues round the water cooler, book clubs; to enjoy any of them you have to take a first step out into the unknown.

You're not alone. We all need to be brave sometimes. In fact, it makes us feel happy to step out of our comfort zone successfully and if you know what to do, you can go ahead with poise and assurance.

In fact, you don't have to say anything at all to build a bond with a group. Try this.

Six Simple Steps for joining the group

Step One: Start off by breathing out all the air in your lungs and letting them fill up naturally. This will relax your body.

Step Two: Move to a group of new people with your head up, thinking to yourself, 'These people look nice. I'm going to like them.' Keep saying that over and over in your head.

Step Three: As you arrive, notice how much you like the look of them. Find something you like about each one. Their expression, their jacket, their haircut: you can always find something. Say 'I like you,' silently, in your head.

Step Four: Listen to what they're talking about and notice how interesting it is. Resist any temptation to speak at this point.

Step Five: Nod at what they say and smile along with them, quietly, when they laugh.

Step Six: Now, make eye contact with one of the group and smile.

Bingo, you are one of the gang and you didn't even have to open your mouth.

By the way, it's good if you feel shy. It means you're interested in people. The Six steps are designed to work no matter how shy you feel.

Why the Six Step Strategy works
This technique is so simple, yet so beautifully effective, because it makes the people in the group feel positive.

When you, a brand new person, arrive on the scene, everyone in the group will be watching for the little non-verbal signs that will reassure them that you're 'like them'.

By breathing out, you relax your body (don't make that common mistake of taking an extra big breath: that will just tense up your muscles.)

As you join the group with your head up, you will feel more confident, and it will show. That in turn will help the group to feel your confidence and at once relax and feel more comfortable with you. Looking up at the world is far better than turning in on yourself with your chin on your chest.

Thinking good thoughts about the others will make you, quite unconsciously, give out positive body language signals.

By listening hard, following the conversational 'feel' and nodding and smiling along with everyone else, you'll blend in with the others. They'll feel comfortable with you and unconsciously begin to include you. You'll avoid appearing to want to take over the conversation (how annoying is it when people try to do that?)

Then, when you smile at someone, you'll find they smile right back at you.

Throughout, you use your thoughts to change your behaviour. It's important that your actions match the way you feel. That helps people to feel that you're being genuine.

To read a real-life example of how making one-to-one eye contact helped one person land her new job, click on the SpeechContacts blog link on the left of the page.