Have you ever been in a situation where there was a lot of people around you that you have never met, and just could not get the nerves to start a conversation in the fear that you will make a fool of yourself? Here are a few tips on starting a great conversation and perhaps gaining a new friendship or connection from it.
1. Walk up extend your right hand, make eye contact and say “Hello my name is ____________” . Easy first step right!!! You can do it!
2. Ask opened-ended questions versus questions that can be answered in just one word. For example.. ask “What was the best part of your summer this year?” versus “Did you have a great summer this year?”
3. Sincerely be interested in the other persons talking points. Sometimes this gets hard when your pocket is vibrating because someone is texting you. Suggestion: If you are in a business setting where you need to make networking connections, do yourself a favor, if at all possible, leave your phone in your purse or coat so you can focus on networking. You have very few GREAT networking opportunities, so make the best of them.
4. Show that you are paying attention by maintaining eye contact and repeat little bits of what they just told you. It shows the other person that you are listening to what they are telling you and that what they are saying is important to you (at that moment ). Everybody wants to feel important.
5. When a question is asked of you do not cut the person off thinking that you know where they are going with the question; let the person completely finish the question. This will save you from answering a question completely wrong and could turn out very awkward for you.
6. Try to answer with another question to keep the conversation going. Example…you are asked “What was the best part of your summer this year? you can say “My family and I went to this amazing beach on the east coast (talk a tiny bit about it, and then ask) What was your favorite family outing around (your town)?
7. Use there name a couple times….everyone loves to hear their name. Plus, this will help you remember their name if you should run into them later.
8. Your escape from the one who goes on and on and on about TMI subjects….and we all have been there….suggestion:….once you can talk… tell them it was so nice to meet them and let them know that this is an fantastic party and you need to find the host and thank them for their invitation and see if they need any help.
Make some great connections this week!