Some people seem to be born with the gift of gab and can easily talk to strangers. For the rest of us, having an easy script that will allow you to strike up a conversation with anyone anywhere can be a lifesaver.
A Basic Script
First, have a basic script in mind that you can use when meeting people at networking style events and parties. There are some basic questions that are standard, but unless you know the right ones to ask, can elude you when you need them most.
- What is your name?
This is a pretty basic question, but it is a great conversation starter. The key is to know how to follow up on those initial questions with additional questions. These are often the key to getting the conversation going. For example, you could ask:
- Are you named after someone?
- Did your mom like the actress (insert name of actress with same first name here)?
- That’s a unique name. Where did your parents come up with it?
- What do you do?
This is another basic question that is also a part of who an individual is. Even if the person doesn’t work outside the home, she likely is proud of her work at home or a volunteer work. Again the follow-up questions are important.
- How did you get into that line of work?
- How long have you been doing that work/hobby?
- What is your favorite thing about your job?
- Where are you from?
These days, people are often transplanted from other areas, but that Alabama resident may be originally from Michigan and may still root for the sports teams there.
- How did you wind up here?
- Do you go home to visit often?
- If I take a trip there, what are the must-see places?
- Where have you traveled recently?
We all love a good break from our everyday lives. More than likely, the person you are talking to has traveled somewhere recently. Or perhaps, he just travels on business trips. Whatever the case, this question can lead to a good conversation.
- How long were you there?
- What did you see while away?
- What other places have you been?
If you run through the list of questions and the person seems unresponsive, it is likely time to move on and find someone else to talk to anyway. A good escape is to say you need to grab something to drink but it was nice talking.
More than likely, these four conversation starters will be more than enough to fill the time you’d speak to someone at most social events. There’s no need to feel awkward again when you have an easy script that will allow you to strike up a conversation with anyone anywhere.