Mastering the art of conversation engaging in interesting, memorable small talk is a daunting task for most people. How do you know what to share and when to share it? How do you know what topics to avoid? How do you become an engaging converser? Most experts propose a simple three-level framework that you can use to master the art of conversation. Identifying where you are and where you should be is not always easy, but having an objective outline can help you stay out of sticky situations. We are sharing some handy networking tips that will help you get conversations started.
Understanding how to converse and how to make small talk are great skills, but how do you get to that point? The answer is simple, but far from easy: you walk up, shake their hand, and say hello! If you’re in the middle of a social gathering, try these networking tips to maximize your impact and minimize your nerves.
- Before the gathering, imagine the absolute worst that could happen and how likely it is. For example, you may fear that people will laugh at you when you try to join their group or introduce yourself. Is this likely? At most business gatherings, it’s very unlikely!
- Remember that everyone is as nervous as you are. Focus on turning that energy into a positive force.
- To increase your confidence, prepare a great introduction. The best format is to say your name, your organisation and/or position title (if appropriate), and something interesting about yourself, or something positive about the gathering. Example: “I’m Tim from Accounting. I think I recognise some of you from the IT conference last month.”
- Just do it! The longer you think about meeting new people, the harder it will be. Get out there, introduce yourself, and meet new people.
- Act as the host or hostess. By asking others if they need food or drink, you are shifting the attention from you to them.
- Start a competition with a friend: see how many people each of you can meet before the gathering is over. Make sure your meetings are worthwhile!
- Join a group of odd-numbered people.
- Try to mingle as much as possible. When you get comfortable with a group of people, move on to a new group.
- When you hear someone’s name, repeat the introduction in your head. Then, when someone new joins the group, introduce them to everyone.
- Mnemonics are a great way to remember names. Just remember to keep them to yourself! Some examples:
- Singh likes to sing.
- Sue sues people for a living.
- How funny – Amy Pipes is a plumber!