(Part 5) Love as a Way of Life "Courtesy"
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Talking to Strangers

by Peter on October 30, 2008

There are many times when we find ourselves in places that we have to introduce ourselves to a bunch of strangers at parties or networking events. Often times when there is no one to introduce us to start the conversation we, just like those around us, just stand there and at the end we still don’t know anyone. Well, esquire came up with “7 tips of successful small talk” written by Ryan D’Agostino.

  1. Listen more, talk less.
  2. Talk about the past five mins. of your life; the surprising turnout on such a cold night, the people that you have just seen or just made contact with.
  3. Don’t mention the stunning woman you saw — too many unknown variables.
  4. Ask open-ended questions about transportation, work, hobbies, the standard; what would you do right now if you had a million dollars. The point is to get people comfortable enough to open up because you cared enough to ask about them.
  5. Pick something that you just learned about them and ask for more information about it.
  6. Find some common interest between you two. There is always something that you can find in common, even if it is something you haven’t experienced.
  7. Smile, Smile, Smile….and always make eye contact but not enough to “stare down into their soul”

If you forget what questions to ask, remember this rule. Always ask opened questions about why they feel a certain way about a particular topic and how they they came to a particular conclusion.

We’ll take a winter scene,

Bob: That’s a nice scarf you are wearing.

Sue: Thanks, I love wearing them.

Bob: Oh, so do you have a lot of them? (Listen for particular words such as: them, they, both, family. Anything that brings in other things or people into the conversation that you can ask about.)

Sue: I don’t have a lot of them but a few i like to pull out for the winter.

Bob: (personal story) I tried wearing them back in college when I was sick but I felt like I was wearing a neck brace. Besides, I always associated scarves with women. I guess it just depends on the style of the scarf and how you wear it. I’ve seen men wear them so I know that it can be done. Do any of your brothers or sisters wear scarfs?

BAM!!!! You just opened up the conversation to find out about her family. More than that, you are moving the conversation around. You don’t want to be the stalker guy who trying to snoop to by only asking questions. Remember the 1 for 1 rule. If they give you some meaningful information then give them a little information about you. The focus of the conversation can be on the other person while you give a little meaningful information yourself. Remember, this is a conversation so both have to contribute.

IMPORTANT NOTE to the millionth and one power: The purpose of these conversations is just to get to know about that person and not be their little party buddy. It gets a little creepy when someone that you just meet over extends their stay. So here’s the rule (of course this is situational). Stay long enough to have a meaningful conversation but not long enough that you “hover.” No matter what ground you have gained, it will be all lost if you over extend your stay. 

RESOURCES: Yup I got one. The issue is never how to approach rather, what is the first engaging question I can ask? The book, 4000 QUESTIONS FOR GETTING TO KNOW ANYONE AND EVERYONE, is my personal recomendation.

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