By Teddy Stanley, Digital Marketing Executive, The Edge
We’ve come together with HAVAS Just:: to wholeheartedly support the Be More Us movement. ‘Let’s Talk More’ is an emotive short film starring Mock the Week comedian Andy Parsons, produced in collaboration with the charity ‘Campaign to End Loneliness’. Aiming to encourage people to interact with one another more and by adding our own Edge twist, we’ve produced the film showing the benefits of initiating small moments of connection and the influence it has on people’s everyday lives.
Clearly, this campaign is talk of the town and rightly so, as it’s been securing coverage on a huge variety of different outlets like the British Comedy Guide, Charity Today and even prime-time national television on ITN. Speaking in response to the film, Laura Alcock-Ferguson, Executive Director at the Campaign to End Loneliness said “In today’s fast-paced world it’s all too easy to shut ourselves off and forget how to connect with people around us. But even a small change in behaviour – like simply saying hello to a neighbour – can make you feel better and brighten up someone else’s day too.”
Through hidden cameras in a busy shopping centre, we’ve managed to capture the public’s reaction to Andy creating conversations with people from all walks of life. Following initial hesitation to join in conversations, ‘Let’s Talk More’ clearly demonstrates the positive impact that simply saying ‘hello’ to strangers can bring. According to polls taken by the Campaign to End Loneliness, 9 in 10 UK adults actually believe that small interactions with people every day helps to tackle loneliness.
The charity have also put together five of their top tips in order to inspire more people to get talking…
1. Start Small – A simple and confident ‘Good Morning’
Breaking out of your comfort zone takes a huge amount of courage. So don’t be afraid to start slow. Inspirational quotes encouraging you to go out, do something you wouldn’t normally do and break your normal routine can only do so much for you in terms of expanding your comfort zone.
With a few adjustments, taking those initial baby steps of saying hello or simply smiling as you walk past can actually make a huge difference.
2. Ask Open Questions – Leave ‘You alright?’ at home…
Talking to strangers builds the bridges between ordinary people who may not have otherwise forged a connection. We believe asking open-ended questions could be the key to striking up conversations more with people. They solicit the other person’s thoughts, feelings and interests which can then be used as the foundations of a proper conversation.
‘How are you?’ is a good start, however, it can actually be interpreted as a closed question as usually, there is only one answer – ‘fine, thank you’. Asking for advice or commenting on the weather can be a good way to break those initial barriers.
3. Look Approachable – Body Language
Approachability is a trait that many people believe they have, but in reality few actually do. Many of us think we’re easy to talk to when, in fact, we may come across as distant and shy – often without even realising it!
Being approachable is priceless. It allows so many more opportunities in so many different scenarios. Non-verbal communication makes up a minimum of 60% of our communication. So uncross your arms, make that eye contact and smile to the person sitting opposite you on the Tube!
4. Get Out There – Get a Hobby
Hobbies are great. Simple as that. Having one we enjoy allows us to let our hair down outside of work and learn new skills we otherwise wouldn’t have learnt before. If that wasn’t enough, it makes us so much more interesting! It provides us with experience, stories to tell and knowledge to share.
So next time someone asks you to come along with them to the gym, ditch the excuses and lift those weights! Not only will you be getting out of that comfort zone you’ve been safely tucked away in, you might even achieve something you thought were not possible and this all leads back to becoming a more confident person, not being afraid to strike up a conversation with a stranger.
5. Challenge Yourself – Set Goals
What’s the most important characteristic in order to be successful? Personally, I’d always say confidence. As the saying goes “If you do not believe in yourself, how can you expect others to believe in you?”
Having confidence will allow you to challenge yourself by setting goals such as talking to new people every week on your daily commute or even something as simple as learning the name of the bus driver who takes you to the station every morning. It all comes back to breaking down those barriers we all have when out in public.
We’re really proud to be working on such an important campaign in raising awareness of loneliness in Britain. Nick Canner, Creative Director at The Edge, adds: “More than ever, we need everyone across the UK to talk to each other, break down invisible barriers and develop a greater sense of community. Our hope is that our film will resonate with everyone who sees it and encourage them to look around and connect with others, even in the smallest way. The Edge are so proud to support this very worthy cause.”