On a recent flight from Boston to Phoenix I sat next to this amazing person. I did not know it at first, as is often the case on an airplane the person next to you is a stranger. We exchanged hellos when she first sat down and that was it until about 30 minutes into the flight I asked her if Phoenix was her final destination. She said no, and that she was flying to LA to go to the Grammy Awards as her partner had been nominated for one.
“How cool is that!” I said to her and then I asked if she was excited, and for what category he was nominated. The pleasant conversation continued from there.
It turned out that the woman I was talking with was the best-selling author of the book The Art of Possibility – a great book about transforming your entire world and living your life in the universe of possibility.
Rosamund Stone Zander and I had an amazing conversation and it made the 4.5 hour flight to Phoenix a short one.
What if I had never bothered to say hello to her when she first sat down next to me? What if I never asked her a question? What if I just ignored her, put on my iPod, and read my book?
I would never have made that connection and I would have missed out on an opportunity to learn from her experiences and life lessons. It’s easy to mind your own business when you are traveling, to just talk on your cell phone and text away as if there is no one around you. When we do that we miss out on meeting someone that could help us personally or professionally. We miss out on making a connection with perhaps a new friend.
If you are one of those people who are shy about meeting new people. Here are three things that you can do to improve your social skills.
1. Smile- It’s the one universal thing that we can do to let another know that you are friendly.
2. Be Present- Really listen to the other person so they know you care about what they are saying. Ask them questions about what they are passionate about.
3. Don’t complain- There is nothing worse than meeting someone for the first time and listen to them complain and whine about something. People want to be around people that are positive and upbeat.
The next time you find yourself in an opportunity to meet new people, take a positive risk. Smile. Say hello. You never know who is sitting next to you.