Metro DC Book Meetup Club Message Board › The Art of Communication
|A former member||
I'm thoroughly convinced that our society, as a whole, no longer knows how to communicate. Is it that difficult to have a conversation with a complete stranger? I never thought so, even though I was taught not to talk to strangers. Believe me, it took some time to overcome that programming. But I'm not going to just bemoan the system, I'm going to do my share and try and fix it by giving advice. Here goes.
You can start a conversation with "Hi, I'm DJ." Most people will return the information.
This is unnecessary if we aren't at a work event. If I'm here to socialize, i.e. happy hour, talking about work may bring down my mood.
"Where are you from? What's your screen name? What other meet-ups are you in? These are horrible questions.
After your intro -- Hi, my name is... -- feel free to follow up with "I wanted to speak with you because..." Everyone likes a compliment. Maybe her shoes got your attention, maybe the button he wears is intriguing or maybe even the fact that they seem to be having a good conversation and you'd like to giggle a bit too. Sharing that intimate information about yourself and attaching it to that person in a complimentary way is the ultimate ice breaker. We can get to the other stuff later.
The reason you choose to attend this event, why you are in this area of town, what activities you like off-line are all non-invasive ways of asking a person about him or her self. Most people will share theirs when you're done speaking.
A good rule of thumb is the more information you give, the more information will be returned in kind. If you're truly interested (which is more than curious) about a person's profession, simply begin talking about yours. They will follow suit if you don't dominate the conversation. Remember: you're not interrogating; you're sharing.
Try these tips the next time you're around folks you don't know -- even if you don't know them. Because it really is OK to talk to strangers; what better way is there to make a new friend.