I’m naturally an introvert – it’s taken me many years of practice to be able to meet someone at a party or a networking event and not have it turn into an incredibly awkward silence.
I’ve found having a handful of questions helps, and here are 7 of the best.
The first 4 are fairly generic – safe, and likely applicable in most situations.
- What do you do? (I hate this one – and am including it here to avoid, although it does work)
- What have you got on this weekend?
- What was the last good movie you saw?
- What’s the best restaurant in that you’ve eaten at?
Note that the last couple are deliberately vague. Asking about a recent movie or dinner can cause a mindblank and shut down the conversation.
And then here are some scary ones that I can usually pull off when I’m in a sociable mood:
- So what’s your greatest passion?
- So what gets you up in the morning?
- So what life are you building for yourself in the future?
With those, it helps to have an answer for yourself because they will often ask it back of you. But the conversations are longer and far more interesting.
Lastly, as I noted in that Networking tips article linked above, if you’re in an awkward conversation be aware that the other person is equally awkward and unable to help … anything, ANYTHING, you do to help will be greatly appreciated, even if it’s a lousy question or observation.