How many times do we get stuck in this situation when meeting someone for the first time?
“Hi, my name is Johnny, how are you?”
Then that person responds, “Hey, I’m Blake, I’m doing well, how are you?”
…and then you respond, “I am doing well.”
Then the most awkward, deafening silence fills the air as neither person has no idea what to say or think. Does this happen to you? This happened to me all the time and I have learned ways not to just take control of the conversation but to make it an enjoyable one. Here are 3 tips that can make any new encounter with a stranger easier.
1. Take charge of a conversation
People are dying to talk to people but are too timid because of the fear of awkward exchanges. Do not let that happen to you. Initiate conversation and you will be surprised at how many pleasant exchanges you have with other people. There always needs to be one driver – be that driver!
2. Dig deeper into responses
When you ask someone how their day is going and they respond with a typical answer like “it was good”, ask them “why was it good?” or “what did you do today to make it good?”. Make the other person answer an open-ended question so more conversation can develop. They might say, “I went on a jog today or I read a book”. From there, you open the opportunity to have something in common. You can respond with numerous options such as: “Oh, I love running, did you run cross country in high school”, “do you jog often?”, “what book are you reading?” or “what type of books do you like to read?”. You can do these types of questions with any response given to you. This type of question does two things: first, it increases the chances of commonality found, and two, it gives off an impression to the person that you are friendly and genuine.
3. Ask a lot of “why” and “what” questions
This builds from tip 2 and it may take time to develop but learn how to ask “why” and “what” questions. “Why do you like running?”, “what about running do you like or dislike the most?”, “what would you rather do than run?” These are questions that my 4 and 6-year-old nieces and nephews have, and it works! Just like a toddler, you need to have curiosity when speaking with someone new. These responses again make the conversation so much better, and you are not going to be stuck with one-word responses like “yes” or “no”. Again, these questions can be implemented with any topic that is brought up.
I hope these 3 tips help! It does not matter whether you are extroverted or introverted; you can take charge of a conversation and make it a good one! Impress people on your conversation skills, it will make you more likable, approachable and make you stand out!
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