When you're in a room full of people, where do you start? Do you form a tight little circle with the people you know? Do you slide over to the punch bowl and stay there all night? Or do you reach out to others, embracing the opportunity to meet new people? Even people in the last category, those natural networkers, sometimes run into a problem. How do you start a conversation with someone you don't know? Here are some tips gleaned from "The Muse" which you might find useful the next time you're in a room full of people.
The easiest way to get a conversation going is to introduce yourself and ask the other person's name. You can ask what they do for a job, how they happened to come to the event, or even something broad and informal like, "So, what's your story?" You never know what kind of response you'll get, but it's worth taking the chance to find out!
The Place You're In
It's quite possible that you may have nothing in common with some people except for one thing. They are standing in the same room you are standing in. So talk about that! Make a comment about the food, the noise level, the architecture of the building, or the information you learned at the event. It's an easy way into a deeper conversation.
Break the ice with a question about something in the news. Maybe you want to talk politics, or maybe you'd rather talk sports. Try asking someone else for the latest news if you haven't read the headlines yet.
Approach the Lonely People
People standing all alone might be waiting for someone like you to come up and start talking. You can try a compliment about the person's clothing. Maybe you're feeling a little left out, too, and you can say something like, "Wow, it seems like most people know each other here. I have a hard time breaking into other people's conversations."
Does humor suit your personality? Don't become a stand-up comic, but you can say something off-the-wall like, "I only came for the veggie dip. What's your reason for being here?" Sometimes being goofy means saying something totally random, such as, "I'm trying to come up with the best conversation starter ever. Have you heard a really good one tonight?" Hopefully, the best one will be yours!
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