Are you listening to yourself? Are you hearing the voices in your head judging the people you meet at networking events thinking they won’t want to talk with you? When it comes to starting conversations are you dreading opening your mouth? Many people fear starting a conversation because they have themselves convinced that They won’t say hello back to me. They won’t be interested in me. I’ll just make a complete fool of myself. Fear of rejection is the number one reason people don’t start conversations. However, practice will make this fear fade away. The more often you start conversations, the better you will become at it. So, be the first to introduce yourself or say hello. When you take an activeinstead of a passive role, your skills will develop and there will be less of a chance for rejection.
Understand the gains vs. losses. For example, what’s so bad about a rejection from someone you don’t even know? What’s the worst that could happen if they don’t talk to you? What’s the best that could happen if they do? If they don’t talk to you, you haven’t lost anything. If they do, at the very least you come away with a deeper knowledge of who they are and what they do. At the most you may come away with a new client, referral partner, or an appointment for coffee to find out more.
Practice starting conversations. Try it at the grocery or department store, I learned this from my father years ago (he’ll talk to just about anyone.) I recently did this at Costco and had a great conversation with a woman who was visiting for the holidays with her mother. We struck up a great conversation about where she lives, what took her there, how she likes it, what the cost of living is like, and would she do it again. I now have a new friend and potential client in North Carolina.
The best way to start a conversation is to know what you want to say. Start with “Hello, I’m Laura Templeton with 30 Second Success, what brings you here today?” The intent is to engage them and get them talking. Come up with some great conversational questions so it doesn’t stop after hello. If you need some help with that, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for my list of 10 Conversation Starting Questions. I’d be happy to share!