You’re at a work event and you want to start a conversation, you begin to think about going over to talk to this person and all of a sudden you have no idea what you’re going to say!!!
Being attractive isn’t how you look or how much money you have…
It’s being interesting and offering value to someone else.
If you approach someone you’ve never met, with the intention of getting a job interview and tell them, “Hi, I’m a great software engineer and write 20 codes a week” and then just stop talking. What is going to come of it?
But what if instead, you were able to make a great introduction. Then you told them a story about how you saved your previous company from a massive sever crash, by running 20 minutes on foot to the server storage facility and on arrival wrote a new code into the system to save the day.
Every single one of us has wonderful, interesting things to say.
The crazy part is, it’s not even the content of what we say that matters, it’s how we say it that really counts.
So rather than thinking about how you never make good first impressions, hate small talk, never know what to say or you often just want to get to the point.
Start by practicing a little delivery first and then wow! Now you’ve got everybody’s attention, you’ll be amazed how many awesome stories you have all of a sudden 🙂
Before any interaction
Set your frame…
THE MOST IMPORTANT PART
Implant the idea in your head that you’re fun to talk to, genuinely interested in others and you’re going to talk to everybody who comes into your space!
Always know exactly what outcome you want from any interaction.
Laughs, a job interview, a recommendation, a phone number.
This will prevent you from being derailed by people.
When you’re being introduced to someone front on, or you’re approaching someone you already know, be genuinely excited to see them. Make eye contact, big smile & lots of enthusiasm, just as if it’s your most favourite person in the world.
If you’re introducing yourself to someone you don’t have any connection with and you’re on your own… You need to avoid making the target uncomfortable at all costs.
Back off the excitement level, add some cheekiness, approach facing slightly away from the target and place a time constraint on the conversation.
In a bar setting… Body facing away from the target slightly.
“Wow, clearly you’re the exciting one of the two. I’d love to see what happens next but my friends you see, they’re very basic & they keep hiding my chair whenever I get up”
Networking at a function
“Omg there aren’t any more bear craws, my boss just told me if I didn’t bring her back one she would actually shave my head. I heard bald is a good look now?”
These kinds of exchange makes you non threatening and interesting.
Moving past small talk
When someone asks you the basic small talk questions, give non-regular answers.
How are you? How was your day?
“Awesome, amazing, fantastic, incredible, delicious”…
Say anything but “ok”…
Use examples to back up your claim and put a positive spin on it. This will open up a chance for the other person to ask questions and begin a line of questioning aka start a conversation.
“I’m amazing, I just had a great massage but I’m pretty sure the lady was actually a dude”.
“I’m furious, because you know what happened. I was on the side of the road and a bus sprayed water all over me”
“My day started really well, and then get this, my boss bought me a coffee and I’m now I’m worried”.
Once they ask a question, you then have permission to launch into a story.
Try not to just launch into random stories with strangers.
Mimic their mood. Use the same words, mimic the same expressions, use their tone. If they start to take the conversation down a negative path, go with them and express it as they do. But immediately from there, try to take it back somewhere positive, don’t stop the person from expressing themselves just try to show them another perspective.
“I KNOW, it’s madness right? It makes you look stupid! But then, maybe he’s just doing it because it’s the better of two bad options”.
Lastly… Address them by their first name when ever you get the chance, particularly if you’re in a group.
When they are talking
React to their words, show them you’re listening by being empathetic. Nod, use gestures, get into the the story. It’s also far more enjoyable to actually listen to people than it is to ignore them.
“yes.. mhmm.. [nod]… ok.. No way!”
When someone is talking, they want to express something. Let them know you understand be saying the obvious, tell them what they want to hear.
“Wow, you’re so funny!”
“No way… You did that, you’re really clever!”
Only give an opinion when it’s asked for, otherwise just agree & repeat back their ideas to them like you understand their point of view. If you disagree, who cares, if you’re goal is to impress DO NOT ENGAGE. If the other person stops talking without asking you a question, you can move the subject or ask a follow up question.
“You’re saying that Trump is doing an excellent job because he is bringing back jobs…It’s true that there are more jobs now and we all want that. And you know what’s really interesting about job growth, automation is becoming more affordable, what do you think about robots?”
When you are asked for your opinion, know the difference between opinion and personal attack.
Personal attack -> “ I think you should have gone with the EX 500 model because it has super calibrated suspension.”
“The EX 500 model would be great for driving long distances because it has super calibrated suspension.”
The first statement brings the persons judgement or ignorance into question, making them uncomfortable or even resentful.
The second statement allows for the person to change their own mind, they may even feel grateful for the new information. If they don’t take on the idea, you can add more thoughts or just move on.
“Yea you’re right the ETA 550 is a great model, it’s just that I read that Jonny Go Famous said the EX was 10x better off-road. You should read his blog, that guy is a real legend.”
Now it’s not personal at all, it’s not even me who said it…
When you are talking
Make everything a great story. You do this using three simple tricks that don’t require you to be clever, funny or know ANYTHING about the topic.
1) Set up the story — Tell everyone what they will get from the story.
“That was really funny Brian…. and it reminds me of this time I got stuck in a corn field. Listen, you’re going to laugh so hard at this”…
2) Pause for effect — Pause when ever you want to build tension.
“So there I was, naked in the field and you won’t believe what happened next…………..” pause
3) Talk with your hands — Move your hands around when you talk.
Your hands should move when you talk, gesturing the story or at minimum moving between you and the other people and out somewhere random. When you pause, your hands should pause also.
Move around the group with your eyes and expressions. Or if talking to one person, don’t just stare at them the whole time, look away sometimes, use your hands to follow where you look.
If someone in a group looks disengaged, point you hand towards them, like you were going to point single finger, but instead open all your fingers right out. This is non-threatening and they won’t notice what your doing, just that they will be more engaged. Only single finger point if you want someone to become very uncomfortable because it helps the story, but probably just don’t do it at all.
If your story gets derailed, tell the audience exactly what you want them to do. Don’t talk again, until you have the attention back.
“Ok everybody wait…Imagine [pause] a pretty yellow field of corn a far as you can see”
“Listen to me. Everybody listen, listen…. So, I’m in this field”
If you want someone to hang around for a while, use a qualifier that reflects what you want from the relationship.
“What makes you a great person to work for?”
“Are you a hard worker, someone I can count on?”
“Do you even drink beers?”
“Would you say you’re spontaneous?”
“What are the 3 things that make you a fun person to hang with?”
Once you qualify someone, even if they aren’t that thing! They will still go out of their way to prove it to you.
Finally, be the first person to exit an interaction if you can.
These principles apply to teaching, coaching, pick ups, job interviews, social outings, parties…
Where ever it is that you want to make a great impression and be likeable 🙂
. . .
Special 1 on 1 trick “Us against the world”
If you find yourself wanting to talk to someone, you don’t know them and they are alone. Normally it’s really hard not be a total weirdo.
The best way to do it is to comment on some shared experience about the situation that is going unsaid, while facing slightly away and doing something.
This creates a powerful connection, which immediately breaks the ice and cuts through the awk vibes.
“Isn’t it weird how everyone here is like 10 years older than we are?”
“is it just me, or do all these bankers keep going to the bathroom every 15 minutes?”
. . .
Best resources for conversation
The Elusive Obvious by Michael Grinder
– Non-verbal communication expert
The Game by Neil Strauss
– Famous Author & pick up artist
How to make people like you in 90 seconds by Nicholas Boothman
– World renowned photographer
The art of witty banter by Patrick King
Articles on frame control