Let's be honest -networking or party conversations with people you don't know can be tough. You feel weird in conversations and worse you can get stuck in a corner with a close talker - ACK! These are a few of my tested tips for making your conversations go as smoothly as possible.
You are at an event/party with 100 people you have never met - what do you do to make the most of networking with this crowd of strangers? These are a few tips to get the conversations flowing smoothly.
1) Plan your opening line - silence is sometimes golden but not always at a party. Have a line like "how do you know the host?" to help you break the ice. Other great openers are things that are localized like talk of sports teams, the weather, etc. Try things like "how about those Astros last night? Did you see that game?" Practice makes perfect so start talking to people you meet in grocery stores or uber drivers. It will help next time you are in a networking situation and need to break the ice.
2) Be comfortable with silence. This is an art. Some times people talk just to not hear silence. Pausing before speaking lets you listen then respond. This type of behavior will actually make people want to talk to you because you make them feel important by listening attentively to what they have to say
You have been successful in getting the conversation going but now you find yourself in an awkward conversation and looking for a way to get out? How about these ideas:
1) "Boy do I need a refill!" is a tried and true way to break away - but they could follow so be ready.
2) Saying you have to make a phone call is a better way to excuse yourself and avoid any followers.
3) Change the subject - if the path of the conversation is one you are unfamiliar with or just think is inappropriate you can help steer the conversations with probing question. People always like to talk about themselves and can be a quick way to turn a conversation around or get it going. Think of questions like Where were born and raised? Where did you go to school? What company do you work for? Those kinds of questions inevitably will help you find some common ground with folks and keep the conversation flowing.
Here is to being a smooth operator at your next networking or social event! Any other tips to share with our readers? Please leave comments below.
These looks pictured in this post are going to be some of my fall wedding looks. I look forward to putting these smooth operator tips into practice there! Click on the pictures below to be taken to each of these items.
M.E.L. is an attorney and small business entrepreneur whose mission is to help professionals conquer the workaday world with style and poise.
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