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070 - How to Be Confident in New Situations
Hello there, Kevin here with another episode of The Feel Good English podcast, the only English podcast that is helping you become more fluent in English and more fluent at life the same time. That is pretty darn practical, isn’t it?
Have you recently gone to an event by yourself? Maybe it was an event for work or maybe you have a new job, maybe you recently started at a company and you are very familiar with the feelings that you get when you start a new job and being the new guy or new girl at the office. Have you recently gone back to school and are studying and around new students?
All of these situations can bring about feelings of nervousness and can even make a person that isn’t shy reconsider the fact that to maybe they are shy.
When you find yourself in one of these situations what do you do to break the ice? How do you start a conversation with somebody you have never seen before in your entire life, especially in English? Whole do you start a conversation with somebody in English with these feelings?
Well there are very reasonable answers to these questions and in the book What To Do When You Are New, How to be comfortable, confident and successful in a new situations by the author Keith Rollag, you will learn why it is totally natural to feel uncomfortable in these new situations and even more importantly what you can do it to be more at ease up when you do find yourself at a new job or at a conference or a congress in a foreign country speaking a foreign language like English, this book will help you with that.
It will also teach you that anxiety is part of evolution and why you should not have a very specific script when going into one of these situations, to be a little more open and also a very simple tactic of how to introduce yourself.
So let us make it easier for everybody to handle situations where they are the newbie.
As a reminder, if you like this podcast you can go to feelgoodenglish.com and get some free transcripts. get the free transcripts there after the episode. And without further delay let us get into what to do when you are new, by Keith.
As part of evolution, us humans were created to be wary of new situations, to feel anxious around new people in a new environment. Why? This is based on survival. Imagine thousands and thousands and thousands of years ago they say you were only really comfortable around a hundred to a hundred and fifty people abused. These were all of the people that you could possibly see in your region or cave or wherever you were living. Well, maybe not a hundred and fifty people in a cave but you know what I mean, there was not a lot of people on this earth and you didn’t get to see a lot of people.
So when you would find new tribes or whatever, of course, you become nervous and anxious because these people might kill you or they might take your dinner away from you. Many different times.
However, this is passed on to us through evolution. Another evolutionary fact is even today we are very afraid of being isolated from groups. A survival mechanism that we have is being in groups. People can help each other, they can help each other survive and then prosper and flourish and feel loved and feel safe.
So we naturally get anxious if we don’t feel we that are a part of a group. So imagine if you are at a new company, you don’t feel a part of that group yet.
If you are at a conference and there are thousands of people everywhere, you don’t feel a part of that group. So how do we get over this? How do we get past this feeling?
Well, this requires a change in mindset. There are three approaches the book talks about. The first one is the coach mindset. Like a coach.
Think of these new situations as training; literally, you are training yourself to get better in these situations, experimenting with new things to say, new ways to approach somebody just using it as an experiment and using it as a coaching mechanism to see how you can get better with practice and feedback.
So kind of talk to yourself, how did that go? Take notes maybe, how was that interaction? Let me try to improve next time.
You could also adopt a gamer mindset and think of new situations like a social video game, where you are literally trying to win like in a video game when you are in an unfamiliar situation.
Often we get too serious with everything and we think it is either life or death if we don’t win this person’s approval; we are out if we don’t become best friends with everybody at the office today, we are a loser. But turn it into a fun gaming type situation, look at the other people in your office as parts of a video game, see how you can play with this and take life a little less seriously.
Another mindset approach is you can take on the beginner’s mindset and walk into each new situation with the excitement that you are going to learn something new. Pretend you are totally new there you are not trying to impress anybody you’re not trying to bring all your skills and the knowledge into this situation yet you are simply there to absorb everything that there is to absorb, all of this new content.
In this way you are not going to be so hard on yourself about mistakes that you might make, you might not feel so nervous about performing perfectly and you are the new guy. So take the beginner’s mindset and accept the fact that you are the new guy.
And here is something also very useful I found in this book and it is how to create an introduction strategy. So picture yourself at a conference and there is a lot of people all around and you don’t know who is who. Well instead of not knowing what to do, try this strategy it from the book. What you’re going to do is find of the appropriate time and you’re going to do this pretty quickly, don’t wait; the longer we wait the more anxious we get. But you’re going to find a good time and go introduce yourself to somebody and just have the introduction itself as the objective.
You are going to go up to somebody and tell them your name who you are why you are introducing yourself to them. So you could say “Hey I am from Brazil, my name is Da da da and I am here to learn more about da da da da. And then you figure out, “So what are you doing here?” And they will tell you and then you say “Great, nice to meet you. I think we will see each other later at the conference.”
This way you don’t have to worry about having a deep long conversation, you’re literally just introducing yourself, getting quick valuable information and setting up a more comfortable experience the second time you see this person.
One thing you should do as well when you are done talking, take notes, write down any details about this person that you might want to remember so when you see them again you will actually remember what they said and then you will look like a superstar.
So don’t worry about going up to somebody and worrying about what am I going to talk about? Just get basic information, tell them why you are introducing yourself to them and how you guys are connected, if you are connected, and then move on. Remembering that even a not very comfortable first impression is much better than no impression at all; meaning if you avoid introducing yourself to somebody, you will never know what opportunities you could have missed.
So a quick review, first I know that feeling anxious and nervous in new social situations is absolutely natural and it is even based on evolution. So don’t think you are weird and shy or a loser when you feel like this; no, it is part of us and everybody should feel like this sometimes because we are all human and we all have the same evolutionary foundation.
When in a new situation be very specific with how you introduce yourself and to be the person to go up and introduce yourself first. But just to go into the situation wanting to introduce yourself, learn a little bit about that person tell them why you are introducing yourself and save the conversation for the next time you see them, so then you don’t have to worry too much about having a long deep conversation.
Lastly, focus on bringing positive energy to social interactions when you are the new guy. Don’t talk too much about yourself, don’t complain about other people, don’t complain about everything new; people will remember that and they will remember how you made them feel, so be positive ask them questions about themselves and listen to the answers, make them feel good first and then they will naturally want to be you around you more and consider you a positive person.
I have one more lesson to share with you and that is how to make introductions in English easier. And I will tell you that right after this brief message from sponsor Italki.
So the ideas are basically the same but if you are learning English and you are in a situation where you are talking to other English speakers, obviously you will be more nervous, I completely understand. So maybe with a few little adjustments you can make the process I talked about from the book, What To Do When You Are The New Guy a little easier.
The first one is to break the ice with somebody, have a very basic question ready. Maybe you don’t want to just go up and say “Hi how are you? What is your name?” That is a very forgettable question.
A more dynamic way is you… you could go up to somebody and say “Excuse me, do you know where the meeting is?” Or ask another basic question like, “I’m looking for the bathroom, have you seen it?” And then you can quickly have an introduction, “Oh, by the way, my name is Da da da, I am from da da da. What is your name? Great, nice to meet you thanks for your information I will talk to you later.” And then bam, you just had a really quick introduction, you made up some question, that’s fine, just get creative, “Hey, what kind of beer is that? Okay great thank you.” And then you can go back and talk to them again.
And also lastly do not be afraid to give short answers. Often when we are learning a language we want to be able to keep talking and think of new things and then we get stuck but know how to give brief information and then ask them questions, get really good at asking other people questions because then it takes a little bit of the pressure off of you and they will want to talk to you too.
Usually it is just getting through that initial conversation so you don’t feel so nervous and also kind of reading who is more open to you as an English learner, who is going to listen to you and be patient with you versus the people that are just there for their own interest and probably aren’t the best people to talk to anyway. And we find that often in business situations.
And that will do it for today’s lesson, what to do was today’s book episode. I hope it gives you some insight and some tactics so you can apply these lessons to your life. We all face situations where we are the newbie, where we are the new employee, or we are lost at a seminar or a congress and apply some of these tactics to that to make these situations easier.
First thing make sure you understand the feeling that you get when you are new somewhere, is totally natural, it is part of us as humans and how we have evolved over time. So don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t get upset with yourself when you do feel these emotions.
Learn tactics that will make these situations easier. Just like anything else, the more you practice with something the better and more efficient you get with that. Just like being in a new situation or learning a new language.
Again, if you want transcripts to this episode and other episodes go to feelgoodenglish.com. You could even find some free episodes there to get you started on your deeper path to English fluency.
Now I do have quick vocabulary lesson like always at the end of the episode and before that how about a quick joke?
What did the caveman buy at the cafeteria for lunch? A club sandwich. . What is a club sandwich? Go to
feelgoodenglish.com and find out.
In the very beginning of the episode at a minute and thirty seconds I used the expression “Break the ice.” This is an expression it is not literally break ice, it means to start a conversation somebody when you first see somebody and there is kind of that uncomfortable awkwardness between two people, somebody has to break the ice, somebody has to get the conversation going and make the mood more relaxed.
So in the book they give tips on how to break the ice, how to start talking with somebody and get past that weird initial uncomfortable phase.
Two minutes five seconds, “At ease”, I am feeling at ease. To be at ease or to feel at ease is to be relaxed. “I am feeling really at ease with you”, I am feeling really comfortable with you.
Two minutes thirty-five seconds, “The newbie”, “I am newbie”, I am the new guy, I’m new here. It is kind of a slang word for being new, “I am the newbie.” She’s the newbie.
Three minutes twenty seconds, “To be wary of somebody or something”, to be wary, “I am really wary of the new guy, of the newbie.” That is to be suspicious of somebody to be uncomfortable and to not feel confident about something or somebody. “I am really wary of these new rules we have implemented at the company. I think the employees are not going to follow them.”
“To get over” at four minutes and thirty seconds, a phrasal verb we hear quite often. “To get over” is to overcome something, is to persevere, to get through a problem, to not to think about a problem anymore, to not have a problem anymore.
“So I just moved to a new city and I need to get over all of these feelings of being lost wherever I go and I will over time, I will get over it.”
To be “hard on yourself”, at six minutes and twenty seconds, to be hard on yourself is to be really, really strict with yourself to put a lot of stress and pressure on yourself. Very critical so very critical of what you do in your actions. Some people ever hard on themselves they get real angry with themselves they get upset when they make a mistake or when they do something wrong.
So I here at Feel good English we always promote don’t be too hard on yourself, forgive yourself for the mistakes that you make.
Six minutes and forty seconds I used an expression “To picture yourself”, very cool expression. If somebody says “Hey, picture yourself on a beach.” “Picture yourself” is to imagine yourself, so literally you are taking a picture of yourself, you are imagining yourself doing something else.
Picture yourself going and getting a transcript to this lesson after you listen to it. Hey, nice one there huh?
Lastly, at eight minutes and ten seconds, “To move on”, a phrasal verb, to move on is to continue. So moving on is the same as continuing from here; or you get over a bad relationship, you had a bad relationship and it just broke up and you keep thinking about it and thinking about it and your friend says “Hey bud, it is time to move on, it is time to get past this, it is time to continue with your life”.
Thanks for listening to The Feel Good English podcast. I hope you are becoming more fluent in English and more fluent in life.
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