Speaking to strangers should really be simpler shouldn’t it?
Yet when we see someone that we really want to say ‘hello’ to, inspiration nearly always fails us, and we end up reverting back to terrible conversational habits.
Let me give you an example.
Imagine a time that you really wanted to speak to a stranger: it could be someone you want to network with, a prospective customer who’s walked into your shop, the person who you end up sitting next to every day on the bus… but never quite managing to speak to.
Even if you manage to squeeze out a ‘hello’ you know it’s going to be followed, rather boringly, by the world’s worst ice breaker question:
“How are you?”
It’s so safe, so utterly predictable, so uninspiring! A bit like sweat pants really.
And also completely impossible to answer! I defy ANYONE to think up a good, succinct response to such a question. I mean do you say the automated response of ‘fine thanks’ (which is both untrue, and offers the other person in the conversation no material to respond to) or do you burst into tears, sigh deeply, or scream with joy, and tell them the whole story of how you’re really feeling (including your life history, details of your tangled love life and financial woes in the process)?
Hmm tough one.
I actually think it’s way better to be a lot more specific than this and give someone something specific to respond to. My logic is if you make it easy for a person to respond to you, then you’ll get better responses from them.
Along with people who work for the Inland Revenue, and traffic wardens, I’m also very suspicious of questions generally. They make you feel a bit put on the spot-no?
“What do you think about the Olympics then?”
Ha! I thought that would catch you out! Questions are also hard to answer when you’re not ready for them. Maybe if you had ten minutes to think about it, the ‘How are you?’, would be easier to answer. When you’re speaking to strangers though you don’t have ten minutes: you have to make them feel comfortable in the moment.
We do this by making specific ice breaker statements. Watch this video to learn a little more about my unique conversation kick starting system:
If you attended my talk for the BWN on Tuesday the 20th of March in Essex you will know there are tons more details that I just didn’t have time to squeeze in on the day.
To make sure I get to teach you the true secrets to negotiating low prices, effective networking, doubling your sales (or just winning an argument with your partner) I’m going to host a one off coffee morning event.
I usually only work on events in central London but to give you this fully interactive (that means some audience participation and real learning) seminar I’m going to come to your local area at a time that is convenient to your group in April. The day will be content packed, with take home exercises, and a really fun relaxed feel… plus I have a feeling attending is tax deductible!
Not only will I be hosting the event in your local area, Essex, at a time that is convenient for you to attend, I’ll also be offering tickets at a fraction of their normal cost: with none of the hassle of travelling into London.
So if you want to continue to improve your communication tactics, make more sales, learn negotiation tactics taught at the best Business Schools and have fun! Please send a paypal payment of £50 to firstname.lastname@example.org by Saturday the 31st of March to secure your place.
I’ll look forward to seeing you again soon