5 Tips for an Easy, Comfortable Conversation When Meeting New People

achievementminded

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Jan 8, 2013
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1. Speak UP!
When you’re new to a situation (cocktail party, networking event, wedding, town, etc.) it’s hard to know who’s who, who knows each other, and who else is new. Because the situation is unfamiliar, my inclination is to hang back and observe before jumping in. This strategy however is all wrong. It inevitably results in me lingering for way too long without talking to people. And twice I’ve erroneously assumed that everyone else was “in the know”, when in fact I happened to be amidst other newcomers like me. Instead, jump into the introduction. “We’ve haven’t met yet. I’m Adelaide.”​
2. Share something, right off the bat
I used to quell my anxiety by launching right into questions about the other person. I just wanted to get the conversation flowing! But then I realized that that would eventually create a lopsided conversation where I knew a lot about the other person and they knew nothing about me. Plus people don’t share as much when they don’t know who they are talking to. I’ve found it much more useful to start with a quick anecdote or piece of trivia. The content doesn’t have to be earthshattering. Just a simple “I’m brand new.” Or “I’ve never been to this neighborhood before, it’s great” helps to contextualize you and demonstrate that you’re willing to open up too.​
3. Start with a softball
Of course, it’s easier to rely on some form of the “tell me about yourself” question at the start of a conversation with a stranger. But there’s a reason why everyone hates that interview question – it’s awkward. Instead of putting the work and discomfort on them, start with an easy question that doesn’t have too much significance or sensitivity. “I’ve never been to this conference before, have you?” “Did you sit in that crazy traffic on your way here?”​
4. Ask questions
Genuine curiosity and intrigue are very helpful assets – use them! I like to ask questions that help lead them through the “tell me about yourself exercise” and then move into more interesting conversations. Remember to be conversational as you’re asking questions so it doesn’t become like an interview. Throw in a few anecdotes about yourself and look for areas of commonality. A few “I couldn’t agree more” or “I’m so glad you said that” kind of statements go a long way in helping to create a connection.​
5. Just be NICE
More than anything, just be nice. Don’t worry about being memorable or funny or put together – that’s way too much work. It’s awful to talk with someone who is just clearly polishing their persona and having the same conversation with you as they have with dozens of others. Being nice is all that matters and it is the only way to make an authentic connection.​
 

Jessi

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Jan 14, 2012
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Of course, it’s easier to rely on some form of the “tell me about yourself” question at the start of a conversation with a stranger. But there’s a reason why everyone hates that interview question – it’s awkward. Instead of putting the work and discomfort on them, start with an easy question that doesn’t have too much significance or sensitivity. “I’ve never been to this conference before, have you?” “Did you sit in that crazy traffic on your way here?”
So true.

I absolutely hate when someone asks me to tell them about myself. I have no idea what to say. And then I just stumble around, trying to figure out what to say, and feeling more and more uninteresting with every passing second of silence.
 

Robert Basham

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Feb 4, 2013
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Just be nice, one of the important thing we should do when meeting new people. We should build a good reputation for our selves. Talk and do a conversation in a smooth way, as much as possible, avoid giving false informations
 

Rea

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You'll never go wrong with being sincere. I think sincerity will always be felt by the people around you. :)

Being true to yourself will bring out a smooth conversation among peers even with people whom you haven't met before. I usually start by identifying a common ground such as a sport or other hobbies, movies, and start from there. In the event that I run out of things to say or if I am unsure of the nature of the topic, however, I proactively ask simple yet relevant questions and we always end up with an enjoyable conversation. ;)