“Hey! Congrats on your promotion!” I get awkward looks. Jay didn’t hear me.
“Jay!” He looks partially at me, still not answering.
“Hey, nice job on the promotion!” Everyone in the group is now staring at me.
Jay finally glances my way and says, ”thanks.” Clearly embarrassed.
I walk away completely flushed, wanting to climb into my invisible hole (why has no one invented this yet?).
Unfortunately, this is a true story. A true story that happened oh, about 3 hours ago. :/ We all have experienced incredibly awkward social situations. Whether we witness someone embarrassing themselves or we do it ourselves. It can be so bad it leaves your week ruined.
Group conversations can be awkward. There is interrupting, not hearing (both ways), the person who constantly talks, and etc… Here are some quick but powerful tips to apply so this doesn’t happen to you:
1. If they don’t hear you the first time…
… don’t repeat yourself. You might quickly think them not hearing you is embarrassing but trust me, the second time is worse. Just make a joke of it to the people who did hear you and say, “I’ll just tell them later.”
2. Listen More Than You Talk
If you are not talking, you cant make a fool of yourself. Only joking. Kind of.
People love talking about themselves. They will remember you being a positive person in the conversation because you simply listened and did not constantly interrupt.
3. Think Before You Speak
Do not just blurt out the first thought that comes to mind. You do not have to do a play by play of what you are going to say but do offer yourself time to examine what you are about to say. You might find yourself ranting about a company only to find that a person in the conversation works there.
4. If You Accidentally Interrupt Someone…
… don’t keep talking. Stop and either let them continue talking or kindly say, “Sorry, please keep going.” We have all witnessed two people interrupting each other and not giving in. Aaawwwkkward.
5. Talk Loudly & Confidently
This is the most powerful one. Do not whisper or act like you are just talking to a few people. If you had the courage to speak, do so with power. Say what you thought and follow through. Talk loudly for everyone to hear and do not trail off with insecurity. This will help with no one interrupting you.
6. Don’t Be So Self Aware
Certain people are defeated even before they step into the conversation because of how much anxiety they get from thinking about talking. When they think of something to say when a question is asked or while someone else is talking they will start to raise their heartbeat, sweat, and feel lightheaded. Almost compared to public speaking. Once they do talk they will seem wobbly and stumble all over themselves.
If you do make a socially awkward mistake (like I do often) just go with the flow. The worst mistake you could make is getting more awkward and embarrassed. Make a joke of it and laugh. When you make a light joke about it people will remember you for your humor and humbleness rather than, “Wow they made that really awkward.”
Remember… we all had to learn how to be socially accepted at some point. Some people flow perfectly while others don’t even think of speaking. More chances than not there are other peers in the conversation that feel the same way you do.
Do you have any funny socially awkward stories to tell? What are some tips you apply to your life for successful group conversations? Let us know in the comments!