First, seek out people who are likely to be open to talking with you.  Anyone who’s alone and not heavily engrossed in activity can be considered a good prospect.  Look for displays of interest in you by good prospects who smile at you, look at you more than once, or having their arms and legs uncrossed or their legs crossed toward you.

Once you’ve decided who you’re going to meet, the next step is to smile, make eye contact, and speak.  What you say as an opener is relatively insignificant.  Ordinary comments are just fine.  Thinking of openers is somewhat simple.  You basically have 3 topics to choose from:

  • The situation
  • The other person
  • Yourself

And only 3 ways to begin:

  • Asking a question
  • Voicing an opinion
  • Stating a fact

Your major goal in the beginning is just to show interest or involve the other person, so the best way to start is usually by asking a question.  Stating an opinion also works well, and certainly works better than just stating a fact.

Talking about the situation you are both in is usually the best of your three options.  To begin a conversation about the situation, look around and find things that interest or puzzle you.  Use dual perspective: find something to say that the other person is also likely to want to talk about.  After you have asked your question or made your statement, listen carefully for the response, especially noting any free information you may want to follow up.  Some openers:

·         In a classroom:

“Why did you take this workshop?”

“What do you know about the teacher?”

“What do you hope to get from this class?”

·         At a game: 

“Who do you think will win?”

“Why do you say that?”

·         At an art museum: 

“What do you suppose the artist wanted to say?”

·         In line for a movie: 

“What have you heard about this movie?”

“What made you decide to see it?”

·         At a market:

“ I notice you’re buying artichokes.

I’ve always been curious. How do you prepare them?”

·         To a neighbor: 

“Your lawn is so green.  What’s your secret?”

“What’s that you’re working on?”

·         At a Laundromat: 

“Where do I put the detergent in?”

Talking about the other person
Most people like to talk about themselves.  Before you begin your questions, observe what the other person is doing, wearing, saying, and reading and think of something you’d like to know more about.  For example:

·         “That’s an interesting jacket.  Tell me, what does the insignia stand for?”

·         “You’re the best player here.  What do you do to train?”

·         “That was a fascinating comment you made to the board.  Tell me, why do you think                solar energy isn’t being developed more quickly?”

·         To a policeman:  “I’d like to join the force.  How do I go about doing it?”

·         “You look lost.  Can I help?”

·         “Say, haven’t I seen you at________?  How did you get involved in that?”

·          While jogging:  “What kind of running shoes are those?  Why did you

choose that brand?” “Do you run marathons?”

·         At a restaurant:  “Mind if I join you?”

·         At a party:  “How do you happen to be at this party?”

·         “Hi, you look nice and I’d like to meet you”

·         “Hi, I’ve noticed you here several times and thought I’d come over and introduce                      myself”

Remember that the other person is just as nervous as you.  Try to breathe.

Author: Dennis Hickey

There are no limits to success to those who never stop learning. Learning will nourish your personal growth. I hope you enjoy this website and visit often so you keep learning and growing too!

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