Do you remember ever feeling intimidated in a room by the important conversations going on around you? If that was the case, did you feel able to participate, or were you overwhelmed by the feeling that your opinions weren’t important enough?
If so, this article is for you.
Social conversations of any nature tend to make some people nervous or uncomfortable. The idea that you don’t have the expertise or substantial ideas to participate in the conversation can get on your nerves. Some may prefer to remain silent, watching from the railing the important conversations to which they could contribute greatly.
However, you’d be surprised by the impact of your involvement in the world. Acquiring a basic understanding of topics in the news, culture, social issues, politics, music, books, history, travel, and a variety of subjects to help create a well-rounded knowledge base. This will increase your confidence to navigate a wider range of conversations without feeling excluded. Everyone is capable of adding value in some way.
These are a few things you can do to strengthen your position, even if you have a lot to learn about a topic.
Use the Mute Button
Give yourself the time to absorb and consider what is being said by others. Listening is key for inclusion in most conversations because a pause offers time to think and process the information being relayed. This will prepare you to ask the right questions since it is essential to think before you speak. Do not engage or jump in “mouth first;” allow space to learn from others first.
Try to Make an Authentic Connection
This will encourage engagement. Sharing stories is the best way to build a bridge. Seek common ground as a way of building rapport. It may inspire a moderate level of comfort for others to bring their guard down.
Showing interest in the person who is telling their story or speaking about an idea is key. People will open up more knowing you are paying attention to the person. Lastly, look to humanize the subject.
There are no dumb questions
Ask what you don’t know but do so in a diligent manner. Demonstrate that you have been listening by asking questions that add value to the matter being discussed.
Getting included in conversation does not require coming up with an epic and life-changing concept to astonish others. You can voice an opinion that offers a different perspective or deliver an original thought that can be highly interesting.
Everyone has something to add to the world, and there’s always space to learn something new. Educating one another is an underrated gift.
Important conversations are happening all around. You don’t need to be a thought leader, world traveler, financial genius, or world-renowned cultural phenomenon to be seen and heard. We can make individual contributions that matter by shaping the narrative. Empowerment comes from an authentic place, don’t be afraid to partake in conversations, even if you have lots to learn.