When you are invited to a social event or to a party where its unlikely you will know anyone, then starting a conversation with someone new can be quite an infuriating task. You don’t know whether the person you are about to approach would like to get into a conversation with a total stranger like you and neither do you know what’s best to say if the person does want to talk.
Before you start a conversation it will help to identify people at the social occasion who seem to be alone, like you. Pick people who are alone so that there are higher chances of them wanting to talk with you. People who have already formed their groups may not be very inviting and welcoming.
Start with a smile
Walkover to the person you want to talk to with a welcoming and friendly gait and smile. This will help the other person understand that your intention is to come over and start a conversation.
Don’t be shy
Practice if you must, but when you are about to start a conversation, you are going to have to be confident and clear in your speech. You don’t want the other person to not understand what you are saying after-all.
Start with a formal and brief introduction. Stick to names as a start and continue with more about who you are during the course of the conversation. Offer your hand for a handshake while doing so.
Try to connect
Stick to formal tones while trying to get to know more about the other person. Once you are done with the basic introduction then move on to asking the person how they know your mutual contact (person who invited both of you) or how and why they came to the gathering…
Try to sound interested
Try to sound interested even if you aren’t. Sometimes, you may be so preoccupied with just trying to mingle that you may not really be listening to what the other person is saying. Act interested because you don’t want to come across as rude.
Ask friendly questions
While talking, ask open and friendly questions but never personal ones. Since you are talking to someone for the first time, it may be considered rude to delve into details about personal life. For example, if the person says they are divorced, don’t ask why.
Ask open-ended questions
Ask the kind of questions that generate further conversation and not ones that stall conversation. For example, if you were to ask someone what their favorite book is, they will just answer with the name and then “pause”. Rephrase your question to go like, “what sort of writing or books interest you if at all”.
Compliment someone to start or continue a conversation. For example, if you are talking to a girl, tell her that her handbag is simply gorgeous, she will probably end up telling you all about how she came across the bag and from where and what all factors were involved before deciding to buy it etc…
If the person is telling you about a successful venture of theirs, then compliment them on their luck and success.
Maintain balance in the conversation. If the person you are talking to is talking about their college experiences, don’t just suddenly start talking off topic. If you want to start another topic, gradually lead them away to another topic.
A conversation is a two way street. If you notice that the person you are trying to talk to isn’t interested or is just pretending to tolerate you, then find an exit route and move to the next person.
Be a good listener
When starting a conversation, don’t come across as a proud know it all. Be amiable and be a good listener. You don’t want the other person to have wrong thoughts about you.
Include a little bit of wit and humor to the conversation. You need to show the other person t hat you are interesting so that they feel like continuing a full conversation.
Its pretty simple actually to start a conversation. All you really have to do is go over, introduce yourself and start talking. If you are a first timer, you will soon get the hang of it after you have been to a few social events.
Just be yourself and be smart at that. The rest will ideally just fall into place.