Many people find it difficult to start and maintain meaningful conversations when meeting with people for the first time. It can be dauting and awkward talking to people you may know nothing about or have never met. Here are some suggestions for starting memorable conversations while you network.
- Find ways to relax and motivate yourself that work for you.
Being relaxed and confident creates a better impression; however, everyone has different ways of relaxing and preparing themselves to do something. For example, I plan a lot of what I want to say beforehand, but when I get to the actual thing, I have to throw myself into it without thinking much about it. Otherwise, I overthink it and become too fearful to do what I was prepared to do. I often don’t say everything I thought I would, but planning ahead helps me relax and be more comfortable speaking to people. Some people take a deep breath. Others count to ten. Maybe you do a silly dance where no one can see you to feel more confident and at ease. Whatever it is that makes you feel more comfortable and ready to meet people, do it. And if you don’t know what that is, experiment with some of these ideas or ask others for what they do. You won’t find out what works until you try.
- Compliment them
One way to start a conversation that feels more natural is complimenting the other person. I have found that giving people compliments usually gives them a more positive impression of you, and it allows everyone to feel more comfortable around each other. This approach personalizes the conversation as well and makes it feel less robotic.
- Find a balance between active listening and active sharing
Many suggestions for good conversations emphasize the need to actively listen to people with whom you are speaking. This is extremely important as you cannot get to know someone if you never let them speak. Listen to what people say instead of planning out what you will say next. This comes across as more sincere and will provide opportunities for you to connect to them on a deeper level. On the other hand, too much listening will not allow the other party to get to know you well enough to know if they want you in their network which defeats the purpose of networking. Like everything in life, there must be a balance. Make sure you listen to them, but don’t hesitate to explain who you are as well and how you can benefit them when the time is right.
- Find Things in Common
Finding things in common with others opens doors for better conversations. It is easier to have more meaningful and memorable conversations when you find things to talk about that you both love. No one remembers conversations about the weather or small talk, but people are more likely to remember conversations about things they love.
Networking can be difficult; however, with these suggestions, you can become more comfortable and effective with it. As you use Sphere’s application during events to find relevant people with whom to talk, use these suggestions to begin meaningful conversations with your contacts to build a strong network.