How to Make Conversation With a Group of Strangers

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One of the most common fears is speaking to strangers. People worry that they will say the wrong thing. They worry that they must be witty and clever, and that others will think they are boring rather than funny. These fears can invoke panic, but there's no need to feel that way. While most people don't automatically enjoy talking to strangers, it is an art that you can learn. When you learn how to make conversation with a group of strangers, you never have to stand by yourself at a gathering again.

  • Introduce yourself. Say hi and tell the group your name. This is preferable to trying to come up with a clever one-liner. Don't focus on how lame you think you sound. Focus on getting others to talk. Trust that you won't make a fool out of yourself.

  • Remember that others in the group are probably just as self-conscious as you are. Introducing yourself to a group may result in making others feel comfortable enough to open up. They may secretly be glad that you made the first move.

  • Practice talking to as many strangers as possible throughout the day. Each time you do this, you will begin to feel more comfortable. Soon it will be second nature for you to walk up to a group of strangers and introduce yourself.

  • Play a game in your mind to quiet the thudding of your heart. Guess how old people are or whether they are married. Ask questions to find out whether you are correct in your assumptions. A game like this takes the focus off your nervousness and gives you something fun to focus on.

  • Make a comment about something interesting in the environment. This may be something as simple as the decorations for the party or the band providing the entertainment. A comment like this gives the group something in common to discuss.

  • Ask for an opinion. People enjoy giving their opinion on virtually any subject. Ask about book ideas, gift ideas or dining ideas. Asking for an opinion works immediately to break the ice and encourages the entire group to interact with you.

  • Ask open-ended questions. An open-ended question is a question that does not invite a yes or no answer. Invite the group to share what they do for a living and whether they enjoy their work. Ask any question that will make people want to talk more about themselves.

  • Learn to listen. Making conversation is about more than trying to find the right words to say. Perfect the art of listening and latch on to other people's comments to figure out the next thing you should say. Make sure that your response invites yet another response.

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