Imagine you’re all alone at a party. What would you do? If you’d rather lock yourself in the bathroom than make small talk, I have good news! You’re about to earn a master’s degree in mingling. We got this from The Ladies Home Journal:
- Step #1: Make the first move. Debra Fine, the author of The Fine Art of Small Talk, says that just starting a conversation gets your adrenaline pumping and eases anxiety. It’s a good bet that anyone who’s alone will appreciate being approached. So, walk up to someone, look them in the eye, smile and say, “Hi, I'm John.” When they reply, you’ll create an instant bond if you repeat their name. Just say something like, “Nice to meet you, Sarah.”
- Don’t worry about being witty. Simply ask the other person why they’re there. “So, how do you know so-and-so, the host?” is a great conversation starter because it’s a question that people can elaborate on.
- Play detective. Leil Lowndes, who wrote Goodbye to Shy, suggests listening for clues that’ll keep the conversion going. For example, if they tell you they went to school with the host, you can ask about their college days, find out if they’re visiting, or ask why they moved to the area. Be careful not to let it sound like an interrogation. Then, after they’ve answered, it’s your turn to talk a bit about yourself. You could answer your own question and tell them why you’re at the party.
- Listen out loud. We’ve talked on the show before about how important it is to make eye contact and nod when you’re talking with someone, to show that you’re really listening. You should take it a step further. Try verbal cues like “Uh-huh” or “Oh, you’re kidding!” The more feedback you give, the more people will feel comfortable and enjoy your company.