You’re at a party and you don’t know a single person. Everyone’s mingling, chatting and getting to know one another. You may feel slightly shy, intimidated, unsure of how to proceed. We’ve all been there and although it can be uncomfortable it can also be a wonderful opportunity to meet new people.
To meet new people you have to first start a conversation, which can be tricky if you’re not a social pro, which less face it, few of us are unless we’ve had heaps of practice. It may seem nerve-racking at first but gather your courage and simply walk up to whomever looks interesting or available to chat, introduce yourself (Hi I’m Beatrix) and use a conversation starter (Those are gorgeous earrings you’re wearing). It’s not necessary to immediately introduce yourself but it can be helpful so to avoid that awkward, “By the way what’s your name?”, after a 15 minute conversation.
Make use of these 10 full proof conversation starters the next time you’re in this situation. If you study and practice them ahead of time you’ll be ready to whip them out of your back pocket when the occasion arises.
- Ask where they’re from. Where are you from? OR Are you from Munich? (referring to current city you’re in)
- Ask how they know the host or hostess. So how do you know Mary?
- Ask if they’ve been to the venue. This is such a cozy bar. Have you been here before? OR I’ve never been to a Mongolian restaurant before, have you?
- Compliment them. (Try to be genuine) That’s a beautiful dress, is it Oscar de la Renta? OR What a lovely speech you made.
- Compliment anything relevant. Mary has done such a wonderful job with the new living room, I’m dying over the floral sofa. OR The margaritas here are fantastic.
- Ask about their plans relative to the season. Do you have any plans for the summer/holidays/new year?
- Bring up cultural topics. Have you seen the new Kate Blanchett film? OR Have you been to the Warhol exhibit at the MoMA? OR Are you a Patriots fan? I saw the game last night. It was brutal.
- Offer up a bit of self-deprecating humour. I think I almost had a tumble with the ice sculpture. Wouldn’t Mary have loved that show in her newly decorated living room. OR Beware of the lemon tart it’s my first attempt. I’m not exactly a Julia Child in the kitchen.
- Ask for a relevant opinion. How is the lemon tart? Should I give it a try? OR Did you enjoy the ceremony?
- Offer or ask for assistance. Can I help you with those plates? OR Can you hand me a napkin from behind you?
Regardless of which conversation starter you use always remember to smile, speak clearly and confidently and look your new acquaintance in the eye. Most people will remember how you made them feel rather than what was actually discussed so act interested and really listen to what they’re saying to make the best impression.
HOMEWORK: Which conversation starter has worked for you in the past? Which would you like try? Please share in the comments below.