When it comes to meeting new people or even spending time socializing with people I already know I`ll often cheat and find the easiest way possible to have fun talking to interesting people while also minimizing the potential for awkward and difficult conversations with people I don`t want to talk to for too long.
This is a trait popular people often exhibit. They don`t waste time and move on quickly if they get stuck in a dead end conversation. They know that no matter how good you are with people you still can`t win them all!
Here are five simple ways to have much more fun when you are in large groups of people and you are free to move about and meet different people.
Use these techniques to accelerate good conversations and exit interactions that are going nowhere.
1 Find the Easy Targets
Some people love to talk! If you are somewhere with lots of people, look around and spot the talkative ones. These people love meeting new people, they typically know a lot of people so they`ll introduce you to others and they are easy to talk to because they often do most of the talking. If you are a good listener you`ll get along really well.
You`ll notice too that these talkative people move about a great deal. They will spend time in different parts of the room so as to meet more people. If you plant yourself in a busy part of the room you`ll eventually bump into them. Then its often simply a matter of getting them started and the conversation will take off powered by the energetic enthusiasm of these talkative people.
Bear in mind that these people need a lot of social stimulation so take it the right way if they excuse themselves after a while and move on to meet someone else. That`s their nature – they need a lot of variety when it comes to socializing.
When that happens you need to do the same thing – go and find the next talkative person. Be proactive, look around the room and approach the next person you`d like to meet.
Remember, its much easier to approach gregarious people than it is to approach the “average” person at a social event. Why? Because any people person needs to meet a lot of new people. Plus, like we`ve just seen, they`ll do most of the talking for you!
2 Exit the Difficult Conversations
When you get stuck in a boring or difficult conversation don`t just stand there – move! Yes, politely move on and talk to someone else. Much of the fear we have about meeting people is based on the negative expectation that we`ll get involved in a situation we can`t get out of. This can make us nervous about approaching anyone since its only a matter of time before we end up in a “deadly conversation”.
Decide upfront that you are in charge of who you talk to and when the conversation ends – not the other person. Be decisive and don`t waste time. If you are not enjoying a conversation and you`ve done what you can to rescue the dialogue then make your exit.
Be polite and be positive but move on quickly because otherwise you`ll lose your enthusiasm for meeting other people and you might just give up on the idea of socializing at that gathering.
The big question then is: how do you end a conversation in a positive way?
Its easy. Simply thank your companion for the conversation. You could say something like: “It was interesting talking to you. I`m going to walk around to meet some more people. Maybe bump into you later”.
That`s all you need to do, be friendly and make your exit. Again, do this sooner rather than later otherwise you could end up standing there feeling uncomfortable, enduring an awkward silence and wishing you had stayed at home watching TV.
3 Decide to Like People
When you first meet someone decide to find something you will like about him. That could be his appearance, the way he talks or even his outlook on life. As you stand there talking, quietly ask yourself: what do I like about this person? That selective focus on what you could like and what you do like will change the emotional character of the interaction.
You`ll be friendlier, your voice will have a warmer more resonant quality to it and you will bring a positive air to the conversation which will do much more for the rapport than any conversation topics you could bring up.
Liking someone creates a bond that colors the conversation. The other person will see this in the way you keep eye contact, listen sincerely and remain attentive the whole time. He`ll feel appreciated and respected and so he will want to get to know you better.
4 Read People Before Choosing a Topic
Before you even open your mouth to speak to someone new there is a lot of information gathering you can do.
Pay attention to where you are and to the kind of people who are there. Is it a group of similar people or is it a mix of all sorts? How are people dressed? Is it an international crowd or a more local crowd?
The point is: pay attention to where you are, the people who are there and the way people are behaving. Then before speaking to a particular person pay very close attention to this person before you. Watch, listen and get a feel for who you are about to talk to.
Imagine you would have to give an accurate account of this meeting later to a writer. Aim to have a thorough and detailed description of this person so that the writer could write it down in a novel.
Why do we need to be so observant? Because a person`s appearance gives you clues about what to talk about and also what not to talk about. To give an extreme example, an 81 year old grandmother dressed formally in black is unlikely to curse and swear and want to talk about the latest music. That could happen but its a reasonable starting point to assume otherwise.
When we observe and notice the details we have clues about what to talk about and potential opening lines in the form of relevant compliments. For example, that grandmother might be wearing beautiful shoes from a different era. Compliment her on those fine shoes and that could lead to a fascinating story about where and when she bought them and what life was like in that city back in those days.
5 Recycle Topics and Stories
The very best conversationalists I have ever know did not rely on originality to make a great impression when meeting new people. They always had a supply of jokes, interesting stories and anecdotes at the ready when they met someone.
For a long time I resisted this approach. I wanted to be original, interesting and ready to use a new approach when I spoke to people. The problem with that strategy is that you are always under pressure. You have nothing to fall back on and it becomes very difficult to talk to anyone unless they share the exact same interests as you. This is a very stressful way to deal with people.
Thankfully there is no need to make it all so difficult, simply copy the approach of great conversationalists. Use the same interesting topics again and again, tell the same funny jokes again and again, and, tell the same stories in the exact same way.
Bear in mind, you`ll still come across as original and interesting because in the case of new people they`ve never met you before while people who know you haven`t heard all of your new stories yet.
In this way, you could take one interesting story and use it as the basis for a great conversation with as many different people as you like in any day, week or month. And the more times you tell the story the better it gets because you can put more feeling into it and emphasis the key points in the story.
I`ve seen popular, highly successful people do this for years. It becomes like giving a mini performance. Time to pull out that funny story about the vacation in Florida or time to tell the story about how your parents chose this town to live in and the unusual circumstances that brought them here.
You could also use this approach to talk about interesting local news. Let`s say one morning you read about some exciting new plans to develop the waterfront in the city. You could mention that one story to everyone you meet during the day. The other benefit of sticking with one story is that during the day other people you meet will contribute insights and facts so that you eventually end up with a much more interesting story.
This article is an extract from Conversation Secrets of Popular People, a great course you can get for the price of a fancy coffee at: