INTROVERTS and extroverts alike are all struggling with the prospect of trying to carry off conversations with strangers and acquaintances in this brave new freedom-having world that is the slow reopening of society.
Are you, like so many, riddled with the fear that you will make an utter fool of yourself as you clumsily attempt to converse with people once more? WWN spoke with a number of experts who can help you avoid looking like you have all the people skills of a remote Amazonian tribe that has had no contact with the outside world.
“We’re running ‘conversation bootcamps’ with an aim to get people well drilled in the art of seeing people they know in the flesh again,” explained socialising expert Dan Crosby.
“No Alan! Stop that! You’re supposed to shake his hand not put his whole fist in your mouth,” barked Crosby, trying to reeducate some bootcamp members.
“If you’re a bit rusty and anxious it’s good to remember the three S’s; Smile, Speak and Stop acting like you’ve been trapped in Fritzl’s basement for a decade,” added Crosby, outlining the importance of just say whatever comes into your head.
“This used to be a great talent of the Irish in particular, they could drag the absolute arse out of a conversation about anything, no matter how mundane. Has the post box in the town got a new lick of paint? Say hello to 50 minutes of solid chat. We need to get that confidence back in terms our ability to talk shite,” added Crosby.
Someone helping you to talk shite, all-time shite-talking great Lorraine Martin:
“The key is to remember, a two-person conversation is actually just a chance for you to talk about yourself. Don’t get caught up and anxious about what you’re saying or what about, just say the first thing that comes into your head and never shut up, due you have some awful puss filled growth on your elbow? Elaborate in horrific detail,” Martin said, before carrying on for a further 30 minute uninterrupted.
Martin suggests those particularly anxious about relearning the art of socialising just employ a ‘say what you see’ approach.
“Has someone got a big nose, head or wonky eyelid? Does the path your standing on have a crack? See it, say it and hang on for dear life and whatever you do don’t shut up,” offered Martin, again going on to talk for another 30 solid minutes.
The top tips which emerged from the collective knowledge of our experts are as follows:
– Open your mouth and says words.
– Make sure when assembling the words they make up something called ‘sentences’.
– This isn’t Zoom remember you can’t switch off your camera so your eye rolls and ‘what the fuck are they on about?’ expression can be seen.
– If the person you’re talking with is wearing trousers try and jump into their pockets.
– You’ve been wearing scuba gear throughout all this, right? The experts, although rusty themselves, are pretty sure this is essential for conversations.
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