Friday, October 19, 2012

Ask Ed #1- Shy Table

Hello Ed,
Really appreciate your top 5 ways to meet new ppl, I must have gone up and introduced myself to about 10 people, but NO ONE came up and introduced themselves to me. I ate with 5 other people and there was long periods of silence, no one was brave enough to start a conversation or even tell a story and we were SITTING IN THE DARK...weird...any tips for how to solve that?

Hi Katie,

Thanks for the email,

I'm sorry to hear that the dark table's social component was a little different from your exceptions but this is an unusual scenario. I could empathize with you how awkward it must have felt over dinner when nobody talked or put any effort to start or continue a conversation. I could also picture from the seats of the other people at your table who were probably as nervous as you were because it was their first meetup and they don't know anyone; and to make it more challenging, it was pitch black! Kudos for stepping outside of your comfort zone to introduce yourself to 10 people. Keep it up for the next couple times, the fine line that defines a successful socializer from a mediocre one is perseverance, how many time are you willing to overcome bad results and try again.

You have to understand that the environment plays a big role on how people interact with one another. In any conversation especially with someone you recently met, the words you say makes up only 7% of the conversation; the other 93% of the conversation takes place non-verbally through the tone, body language and facial expression. For your dark table experience where it was pitch black, it was difficult for both you and the people at your table to see the other 93% of the conversation. And as humans are interactive beings, we require feedback and reinforcements when communicating especially when we meet people for the very first time; when you or your neighbours do not see the feedback (visual 93% of a conversation) it is hard to keep the conversation going or even start one.

Spending 90 minutes eating in silence sure would be awkward, imagine how much difficult it was for those who are chronically blind? Fortunately there are great people like Helen Keller, who was both blind and deaf, refused to let the lack of senses hinder her from connect with the world to make a difference. As history has it, her unending passion for making positive change despite her disability has made her one of the greatest people who ever lived in the world.

Hopefully at the next meetup event it will be much better when both you and everyone else can see and communicate at 100% efficiency. Know that not all events are equal, some events have lots of physical activity but littler social interaction. I personally like to organize periodical mingler events that are designed to give lots of opportunities to interact with people such as the thanksgiving mingler or boardgames night, try coming out to one of those events, people have an attitude of 'I want to meet people' there.

For my next article, I will be writing about the 4 levels of interpersonal communication from the Toastmasters Manual "Interpersonal Communication". While we may think this is common sense, but having an understanding of it makes it easier to analyse the situation and easier to fine tune it to make any conversations interesting especially if you are meeting with someone for the very first time.
Hope this email helped,

Assistant Organizer- VP and membership
Extremely Shy Meetup
Got a question on meeting people and or social etiquette, ask Edward at!

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