Going to parties is a lot of fun and it’s a great way to meet new people, to improve your social skills and to have a laugh. At the same time, if you’re going to a party or an event of a corporate nature, then this is also a great opportunity to network and to perhaps advance your career or help your business.
At the same time though, some of us may feel a little apprehensive before going to a party or gathering, and often this is down to the fact that we will be forced to ‘mingle’ with lots of people we don’t know. Unless you’re the world’s biggest extrovert, most of us find it at least slightly intimidating having to make conversation with large groups of people that we haven’t met before and putting ourselves out there.
As such then sometimes we can find ourselves shying away from conversation, or even avoid going to the parties at all – which obviously is a real shame if it means you miss out (and if it means that you don’t ever improve your social skills as a result).
Something that can help though is to have prepared a number of different conversation topics that can help you to get by and that you can fall back on in the case of a lull in the conversation. Here are some ideas.
Asking What People Did With Their Day
This is perhaps my favourite fall-back conversation topic and the easiest one to use naturally. When you meet someone you know well and you talk naturally, normally this is the kind of thing you would talk about ‘so, how’s your day been?’ and normally you’ll find this leads on naturally to lots more conversation all of which runs smoothly and which automatically informs you as you go on their personality, opinions and lifestyle. If you use this style of conversation then it will come across as so natural that you won’t seem to be nervous or awkward at all – because you’ll just be acting normal.
If you’re in a larger group then asking what people did with their day doesn’t work as easily. As such then you should look for a topic that applies to more people – and something that happened in the news is a great option here. Watch the news that morning, and then at the party you’ll be able to simply ask ‘did anyone BLANK in the news?’. This again is a great way to get an idea of people’s opinions and personalities and it’s something that can lead naturally to other topics.
There are many other simple questions that come up commonly at party venues and events. These include:
- How do you know the host?
- What do you make of this party?
- What do you do for a living?
- What do you enjoy doing? (Often more telling than just what they do as a career)
- Do you have any plans this weekend/next week?
- How was your journey here?
The secret then though is to let them speak and listen to the answer rather than trying to influence where the conversation goes. A bad conversationalist will try and move the topic onto what they want to talk about, but if you just listen to the response and show genuine interest, and let the conversation flow naturally from point to point. Pretty soon you’ll forget you were ever worried and be making fast friends…
The article is written by Jamie Watt who has worked for many event management company and shares his experience through guest posts.