How to Be More Outgoing

If you’re somewhat shy or introverted, then learning how to be more outgoing is one of the smartest self-improvement steps you can make. There is no better way to solidify your social life than by comprehending how to be more outgoing and applying it

In my social confidence coaching practice, I frequently teach people how to be more outgoing and social, and I help them make real life progress in this area. I’ve realized that being social is much more a matter of attitude than aptitude, and that the attitude part needs to be handled above all.

Step 1: Outgoing = Out Going

One potentially illuminating way that I like to look at the word ‘outgoing’ is by dividing the two composing words and making it ‘out going’.

You could take that phrase literally, as in going out of the house more; because many of the individuals who aren’t very outgoing and social spend unordinary amounts of time indoors, alone, and this feeds their shyness.

However, to me it makes more sense to look at it figuratively. Thus, being ‘out going’ means putting your personality out there instead of keeping it hidden, it means expressing yourself fully.

There are multiple things you can do to achieve this. I recommended you start by watching my free presentation on Conversation Confidence. This insightful presentation will reveal to you the real key to gaining confidence and the proven formula for being more outgoing. Go here to check it out.

To assist you understand how to be more outgoing, I will list here some of the most effective ways that I know. These are ways I’ve used myself, and are recurrently used by my coaching clients.

Step 2: Break It Down and Then Put It into Practice

Do you know this joke: How do you eat an elephant? One piece at a time. Well, this concept applies extremely well for becoming more outgoing and sociable.

When you get frustrated with having few fulfilling friendships, it’s temping to just try to burst out and instantly become that super-sociable person you want to be. Unfortunately, human psychology doesn’t work that way. You don’t just change completely at once.

Real, organic change in how sociable you are happens by setting gradual steps for being more outgoing, and taking these steps one by one. For example, you may start by asking more questions in group settings, and when you become comfortable with that, you continue with making more statements in group settings.

In time, step by step, you’ll eventually find yourself becoming a lean, mean, socializing machine. In learning how to be more outgoing and social, it’s crucial to understand that this gradual process is what works best and to stick to it dutifully.

Step 3: Lower The Bar

One trait most shy people have in common is that they set lofty social standards for themselves. They demand of themselves to make a great first impression, to be liked by all, and they think that if it doesn’t happen it’s a tragedy.

Even individuals with very sharp social skills can’t rise up to such idealistic standards. Shy people only torment themselves by imposing this kind of standards on themselves.

For this reason, one of the best things you can do to become more outgoing is to lower the bar. If your standard for success is to get everybody to like you, then you’re bound to be shy. But if your standard is simply to have conversations with new people, then you’re bound to be more sociable.

The vital thing you may need to realize is that you don’t have to demand that much of yourself socially. You’re only human, you will connect well with some people, you won’t connect with others at all, and that’s absolutely OK. Accept it and live your life.

Step 4: Manage Your Self-Talk

I have a (rhetorical) question for you: How does a person set the social bar high for themselves?

The answer is that they do so through their self-talk. They say to themselves in their inner dialog “I must impress this person; they must like me” and other intelligent stuff like that.

Well, people who aren’t very outgoing tend to have many other dysfunctional ways of talking to themselves than the ones that create unrealistic standards. If you analyze their inner dialog, you’ll discover that it’s full of crap.

Thus, in learning how to be more outgoing and social, a very big step is managing your self-talk. This means identifying the stupid, unrealistic or dysfunctional things that you say to yourself and willingly correcting them. I talk in more detail about this in my confidence video presentation.

As you do so in a systematic way, not only that your habitual self-talk changes, but the underlying beliefs change as well. This helps you gain confidence and interact easier with other people.

As you become more outgoing, your people skills get put into practice more and they develop as well. This makes you even more outgoing and you get a positive cycle going, which ends up visibly enriching your social life. And the best part is that in this entire journey, the sky is the limit.

Image courtesy of NicoleAbalde

Why Less Is More in Personal Development

I was reading earlier today a presentation of a one-day communication skills training, and browsing over the content. This training covers everything from non-verbal communication, to conflict management, to business communication, to presenting with impact. All in just one, single day!

There was a point a long time ago when I used to do the same. I thought that if I could get everything in there, in as little time as possible, I would deliver a very valuable training. I would also approach my personal development the same way. I would read and browse like a maniac through 5 or 10 books on people skills, then I would decide to practice it…all.

I was naïve, impatient, and had a fragile understanding of human learning. Looking at this way of doing personal development now, whether it’s people skills, confidence, productivity or anything else, it really amuses me.

Here’s the point: people don’t learn that way. A human being is not a computer on which you can install every piece software you’ll ever need in 24 hours, and get it over with. It’s rather like a computer with a 2 Mb software install limit for each day. So it will take you about 3 years just to install the basic operating system (aham… Windows?).

Trying to absorb a lot of information, on various areas of a big topic, in a short amount of time, and then to practice it all is a highly ineffective attempt some people make at developing real skills. It doesn’t work for a couple of reasons:

  • You try to cover a lot of concepts and ideas, you only get a superficial understanding of each one;
  • You overcharge your memory and you forget that vast majority of the theory you learn;
  • You instantly get de-motivated when you think about starting to practice, because you have so much to practice;
  • You end up practicing a bit of everything, which doesn’t make anything truly stick and leads nowhere.

The only way reading a lot without applying can make practical sense is if you’re in a phase where you just want to expose yourself to as many ideas as possible on a certain topic, so you can then choose on which to focus on. But the way I see it, this isn’t personal development, it’s just a preparatory, exploratory phase. Don’t expect to grow your skills from this.

The effective way to develop real skills and attitudes is to focus on the key ideas which have the most value for you, explore them in more detail, hammer them into your head and practice them consistently. And you do this one by one with each key idea, instead of all at once.

When I do coaching and trainings on people skills, I follow this exact principle. Some of my clients are initially surprised by the small number of ideas I cover, but as they move to applying them, they quickly understand why I have this approach. And have you noticed that I also usually write in the same manner?

There is more to effective personal development than meets the eye. We all want to improve fast, to absorb as much information as possible in as little time as possible, and then to watch our skills grow by themselves out of this process.

But this is not how self-growth happens. It’s a gradual process, which relies mostly on chunking things down, action, and persistence. This is why in personal development, less is more.