If you are an introvert like me, small talk doesn't come easy. But, after reading The Fine Art of Small Talk: How To Start a Conversation, Keep It Going, Build Networking Skills -- and Leave a Positive Impression!, I realized how important it is to keep a conversation going to establish rapport. People appreciate a conversation in which they feel acknowledged, heard and significant. I definitely agree with that but am I doing a good job making other people feel the same way?
Here are a few important lessons from the book. Hopefully these tips will help make the networking challenge a little easier...you are doing it right? :)
- When networking, most people in the room you walk into are in the same boat, scared to death. Instead of being afraid to start a conversation, think about how you are going to help other people feel more comfortable. Maybe they don't know anyone there and are just hoping that someone would talk to them. Be that person!
- You can't rely on another person to carry the conversation for you. You have to share about yourself in order to break the ice. I know you may think your life is dull and uninteresting, but believe me, people are interested in you!
- Did you know that shyness can be mistaken for arrogance? Don't be mistaken by keeping silent! Start small talking and let others see your personality.
- Spend 2 minutes thinking about what you want to learn from other people before you head into your next networking or social event.
- Here are some great icebreakers that you can use:
- What got your involved in this organization/event?
- What is the most difficult part of your job?
- What has been your most important work experience?
- What is a typical day like for you?
- What is the best job you ever had? What is the worst?
- What was it like in the town you grew up in?
- What is your favorite restaurant? Why?
- What is your favorite holiday? What do you enjoy about it?
- Tell me about your family.
- What is your favorite thing to do alone?
- Tell me something most would never guess about you.
(Photo by AnyaLogic)