We’ve all been there.
Stuck at a boring party and all anyone can talk about is the weather.
Frustrating isn’t it?
The party feels like a complete waste of time and the food isn’t even good. Everyone seems stuck in cliques, and you’ve run out of conversation starters. Why can’t there be at least one interesting conversation or person to talk to?
Remember how Gandhi said to “Be the change you want to see in the world?”
Yep, that’s right. You’re going to be the life of this party.
There are three simple keys to bring life into a dull setting. Great news is you already know own them.
1. Look for connections between you and the other person.
2. Gather information to turn into questions.
3. Listen and empathize. (Most important of the three.)
There’s one catch. See how far you can get before finding out someone’s name. Get to know them by winning their heart first. Introductions can happen later.
It’s better to experience life with someone first.
Someone’s name can easily be drowned out by all the information you’re about to hear. Why do you think we forget them all the time? To quote Dale Carnegie: “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
Now is your chance to be a breath of fresh air. Especially at this party, because this one needs some.
1. You seem really interesting. What’s your story?
I can live for two months on a good compliment. – Mark Twain
Someone used this on me once, and I instantly knew I wanted to be friends with this guy. It’s so simple. You pay someone a compliment first and then pose a question.
Meeting people can be a real bore sometimes. The best way to combat that is to avoid protocol by rewording questions or asking new ones. Throwing this one at someone will catch them completely off-guard (in a good way).
Sidenote: Don’t be afraid of tangents.
Even if the person isn’t interesting, at least you tried. People see that and will like you because you exerted effort. See where it goes from there.
2. Where are you from?
This is the easiest question in the book because everyone has an answer (even if it’s three different places).
Think of it this way: this question is the key to someone’s heart. One’s origins can often carry a lot of weight. This question is a conversational jackpot because it gives you space for follow-up.
As you listen to what this person has to say, check for any conversational bridges you can make.
Maybe you have a cousin that lives in L.A. and you’ve heard amazing things about their Mexican food. Ask them what they think! Impress the person by what you know. If you don’t know anything, let the person be impressed by your listening skills.
Personally, I really love this question. It’s fun making people guess. When people begin guessing wrongly it suddenly gets turned into a game of sorts for the people watching.
No matter where you are; at the supermarket, waiting at the bus stop, or at school, this question works.
Some follow-up questions I like to use are:
How important is (insert place) to you?
How has being from (insert place) influenced your life?
3. So how do you know the host?
Remember how we used to play connect the dots as kids? Seeing the finished product was always pretty cool and made you feel artsy. Parties can be like that.
Maybe someone’s not talking much. You can be the catalyst to get a conversation going. When you connect the dots between yourself it’s like magic. You don’t need to build bridges because they’re already there.
We’ve all had those “it’s a small world” moments, and every one of them is precious. It makes the world feel like it fits in the palm of your hand.
One day, my family was visiting a very distant relative from my mother’s side. My dad asked the wife of the relative if she was from Senin, Jakarta. After asking streets and narrowing things down, it turned out they were neighbors in the 60’s. In fact, my dad knew the woman’s whole family. She just hadn’t been born yet!
Another time, he even identified the color of a woman’s house after figuring out what street she lived on. #Sherlock
Once you’ve spoken with the person, introduce them to someone else. Become a bridge builder and see if you can connect the dots yet again.
4. You look like someone who does a lot of things. What’s your main life passion?
Knowing what someone works for and what someone likes to do will elicit different responses.
Admit it. You’d much rather talk about all the teas in your cupboard than how much coding you do on a daily basis.
When you learn what someone’s hobbies are, someone is opening a bit of his or herself to you. It opens more conversational doors. You might even share a hobby, or know someone that does, and you can connect the dots yet again.
See how you’re becoming the life of the party?
5. Have you done a lot of traveling? What’s the best place you’ve been to?
It’s always fun to hear where people have been and hear their perspective. Even if I haven’t been to a place it’s good to gather information so you’ll be prepared.
Maybe the person hasn’t traveled much, no worries. Ask them where they would like to go, and why. This leads to an interesting discussion because you get to see others’ world perspectives.
Before you know it, party’s over.
It was a lot easier than you expected, and you’ve made some new friends along the way. Maybe you ran into a difficult crowd and it didn’t go as well as you had hoped.
Not important because you gave your best.
Look at what you accomplished!
1. You connected with people on a deeper level.
2. You took the time to talk to people you otherwise wouldn’t have.
3. You listened and showed people they were worth your time.
You became the life of the party.
You never know who you might meet. Sometimes there are people that truly need someone to talk to, but don’t know where to turn. You can be that superhero answering the need of the people.
That’s what it means to love out loud.
But that’s not all, the conversation is just getting started. Here’s another place where you can shine. Get their info or take a business card. Remember how small the world is? You never know when you’ll next run into the person. People won’t forget you if you take the initiative and keep in touch.
Knowing how the world works, you being a hero tonight just might mean they’ll be yours down the road.