We've all been there... a new place, new people... how do you NOT end up being a wallflower with so many new faces?
Well, the first thing you need to do is RELAX. It's likely there are at least a few people there also that are in the same boat as you, not knowing anybody and having a hard time starting a conversations.
But, I have found, when you're in a crowd, do as the crowd does.
If people are milling around the bar, around the food, do that.
If people are standing in a certain place, doing a certain thing, join them.
It's OK to ask what's going on that seems so important, or noteworthy. People will gladly share their "greater than yours" knowledge, so don't be afraid to ask a couple of questions.
Questions are a great way to start a conversation, especially open ended questions (you know, questions that need more than a YES or NO answer), so ask away!
Great conversationalists are usually great listeners first, great talkers second. So don't just butt in with a subject that you find interesting, you may turn the crowd (or that single cute guy!) away from you. So listen to what people are already talking about... what is the "topic" of the evening, or the moment.
When asked, then add your brilliant comment to the otherwise sparkling conversation. And listen to the response you get, you may have more room to include yourself in the conversation.
If you need to start a conversation to get someone to notice you, ask them something weirdly personal, like: Do you know that those socks you're wearing are the same color as a bat's belly?
Off-humor topics not allowed when starting a conversation with a semi-personal question! Even some 'safe' humor topics may be offensive, so choose your jokes with care!
And most of all, don't be afraid to walk up to someone new and say "Hi, you look like someone I should know... what can you tell me about yourself?"
Remember the keys to good conversations:
- Ask open ended questions
- Listen first, talk second
- Humor is both good and dangerous, understand your audience before you start telling jokes
- When all else is uncertain, ask questions that allow the other person to start the conversation.
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