At a recent local bloggers networking event someone complimented me on the ease of which I just walked up to a group of people and introduced myself. She said it took her 20 minutes to work up the courage to do that. My fellow blogger talked about how her experience going to the event alone. I don't mind going to parties alone because I'm free to mingle. I believe that to expand your circle of friends you have to start engaging strangers in conversation. Isn't the purpose of going to an event; to meet new people? I'm sure you'll have plenty of events you'll be attending so I thought I'd share some ways to maximize your opportunities to improve your conversation skills. My observation has been that people who excel at small talk make other people feel comfortable, included and valued. I'm always striving to improve my conversation skills and saw this list at the Thought Catalog that I thought was so interesting that I wanted to share.
A few years ago I met someone at a party that told me that ever since she moved to my city the first question anyone asks her is what does she do. I had never thought of that until she pointed it out and then I realized yes that is what everyone asks me off the bat and what for? I don't get any follow up questions? And why do you ask a stranger that with your first question? I do find that when I ask them the same question back half of the time they tell me they are a "consultant" and I want to say sarcastically "well that's real helpful in explaining your job." lol At that point I just get bored with the conversation. I'd rather ask someone what their interests are. So I've made it my mission since then to not ask anyone that question unless they ask it of me first or if it's somehow related to the conversation, as in they're complaining about their job. So here's a list of questions you could ask someone you've met instead of what do they do, I use the first four questions often.
- How do you know the hostess?
- What are your plans for the holidays? How did you spend NYE? What are your plans for the rest of the weekend?
- Any cool vacations on the horizon? Where was your last one?
- What's the last book you've read? Have you seen any good movies lately?
- When you go to Target, are you capable of spending under $50?
- Are you Team Aniston or Team Jolie? IT’S STILL RELEVANT IN MY EYES! (this question was brought up at a recent happy hour I went to! lol)
- How many different outfits did you try on tonight before you went back to the one you had on in the first place? For me, it was seven.
- What's your favorite city of ?
- Which famous baby would you rather be: North West or Ariana Grande?
- When you saw Gone Girl were you extremely disturbed or just mildly disturbed?
- Before we continue having a conversation, can you promise me that you’re not a "fashion blogger"?
- Which emoji do you use the most?
- Have you ever been to the P Street Whole Foods at 6pm on a Monday? Don't try it, shopping at peak hours means no guacamole samples, I can't take it!
- When you’re pooping do you prefer to scroll through Twitter or Instagram?
- What are your thoughts on the U.S. sanction of North Korea? Just kidding…. what is your favorite episode of Parks and Recreation with Amy Poehler?
- Have you ever been able to order Fireball without feeling like an asshole?
- How many times have you opened your fridge and been surprised that nothing new has appeared since the last time you checked the fridge ten minutes beforehand?
- When you go to brunch, what percentage is about the bacon, what percentage is about the mimosas, and what percentage is about crying and asking your friends to fix your life?
- Would you like to share a taxi home at the end of the night, and (this is unrelated) are you an organ donor?
- Lastly you can can compliment something they are wearing, and ask them about it so they can't just answer with a thank you.
On another note I met my new bff at a party recently. There was 4 of us chatting and one person pulled out his phone and my new bff yelled out "are we boring you?" hahahaha I have always wanted to say that to someone. I mean if you're out with real life people, why do you need to check your phone? it's rude! I feel like people have lost a healthy dose of eye contact with iphones.
Try not to always one-up someone by trying to top their story with something similar that happened to you. Be a good listener.