After more than 15 months of isolation, people are starting to become more social. However, there is a chance you’ve become a bit rusty at exactly how to do so.
Much like a runner who takes off 15 months, you may need to start slow and build up your skills before you are at least as proficient as you were before.
In today’s Wall Street Journal, Elizabeth Berstein offers five tips on how to ease back into socialization.
- Master small talk
- To start, find common ground. The weather is perfect.
- Try commiserating.
- Keep the small talk going until you can establish a rapport. You can do this by digging down on a topic rather than jumping from one subject to another. Ask questions. Aim to learn something.
- Plan ahead
- Give your answers a time stamp. (“Today has been a good day.”)
- Ask questions
- Everyone likes to talk about themselves. And they’ll think you’re a great conversationalist for directing the conversation to them. This is what I try to do, because I never have anything interesting to say. I’m not sure anyone thinks I’m a great conversationalist…
- Segue smoothly
- Listen closely for an opportunity to change the topic
- Try to introduce some positive topics.
- If someone has shared something emotional, be sure to acknowledge their feelings before moving on.
- Exit gracefully
- nonverbal cues come in handy; Take a step back to increase space. Wave at someone across the room. Go ahead and peek at your watch
- Show appreciation. “It was great to see you. I’m glad we got to catch up.”
- A positive exit will hopefully set the stage for future conversations
So there you have it, five, or however you like to count, suggestions on how to become a better coversationalist.
By the way, here is my take on the five:
- How YOU doin’?
- Always make sure your first question is, “How YOU doin’?”.
- How YOU doin’?
- Once the person answers the question: “How YOU doin’?”, move to tip 5.
- Master the Irish goodbye.
These five tips may give you a little insight into why no one seeks me out at social gatherings…
Maybe I just need to practice my communication skills, so let me give it a shot.
How YOU doin’?…