I meet with people I don’t know just about every day. It’s not something that comes naturally at all– more often than not I’m so tempted to cancel and I have to force myself to go. It does get a little easier the more you do it, like building a muscle, but that doesn’t mean the nerves still don’t set in. Maxie is the queen of meeting people… you would never know she gets nervous and I have a feeling her tips are just the reason why:
What To Do When You’re Meeting Someone New
Guest Post by Maxie McCoy
It’s never easy to walk into a situation where you’re meeting someone new. No matter how long you’ve been doing it. Palms get a little sweaty. You consider ditching the arrangement all together about five times before you walk through the door. Your mind questions what the heck you’re going to talk to them about the whole time.
What if it goes badly? What if it’s totally awkward? What if… What if… What if…
Meeting someone for the first time comes in so many forms– an interview, an office hours with a future professor, a coffee meeting with a contact, tea with a new colleague, a first date, a friend-troduction. Many times, these turn into some of the best connections of your life… introducing you to your future mentors, your closest friends, your new dream job, or your future lover. It doesn’t matter what the intent is, making a great connection with a total stranger can be anxiety-inducing. But it doesn’t have to be.
Here’s a few tricks to make sure your summer has plenty of fun, interesting and engaging first-time meetings:
Do some homework:
Meeting someone for the first time is much smoother when you’re not going in completely blind. Doing a little digging on who they are will give you at least some basic talking points to start a conversation with. As tempting as it may be to talk about the weather, Google likely has some more interesting information to provide you. You don’t have to admit to being a level 5 internet stalker, but knowing what they look like when you walk into the coffee shop… knowing what their general interests are… or what mutual contacts you have can go a long way in making your first conversation an easier one (without feeling like you’re having to interview this person to get their basics).
Visualize it being awesome:
Whenever I get nervous about meeting someone new (yes, it happens to me too even though I spend my life talking to strangers), I close my eyes and imagine what the two of us having a killer connection. I see us talking, figuring out all these things we have in common, having conversations that go “below the surface,” and leaving with a desire to connect to this person again. It calms me down and manifests that outcome as a future reality.
Ask them questions:
When you get to the moment where you two are actually talking, whether this is a first date or a work meeting, ask amazing questions. Everyone loves to talk about themselves, and it’ll take the pressure off of you if you’re feeling nervous. Simply listen to the things they’re saying and ask follow ups that you really want to know. It’ll show that you care about what they’re saying and that you’re connected.
Don’t drag it out
Great first-meets don’t have to last hours. And the best ones end before the energy is drained. If you booked an hour together and the conversation is winding down after 20 minutes, call it. If you had a meeting go over something specific with someone, and you feel good about where you are both at, end it. If a romantic meeting isn’t what you thought it was going to be, get a little ballsy and wind it down as soon as you want. A good meeting ends when it feels right, not when it’s “supposed” to.
No matter what you do, know that first-meetings are just as ah for you as they are the other person. It’s ok to be nervous and anxious . Treat it like it’s something fun and a chance to meet another one of this universe’s awesome humans.