In this interesting TED Talk, Malavika Varadan shares her love of meeting strangers and provides a 7 step guide in making conversation with anyone.
Looking at a conversation as being an adventure is a great place to start. Immediately this creates curiosity and excitement about what any conversation may bring. And for people that find making conversation a challenge, it is also useful to remember that every single person in your life was once a stranger to you.
So how do you establish a connection. One that informs, excites, engages and most importantly puts a smile on their faces.
Here’s a 7 step guide to making conversation:
The first word flood gates
Always think of the convesation as an opportunity. To learn and have an experience. One of the challenges at times can be knowing what to say. Malavika’s advice, keep it simple and “just say it”. Once the first words ar out the flood gate open.
Skip the small talk
And ask a personal question. You’ll be surprised what people are willing to share. Naturally there are some boundaries here but it’s a great way to really get to know people.
Find the “me too’s”
Which follows on from the previous point nicely. Where you look for the common ground, the shared interests. Nothing kills a conversation quicker than negativity so searching for those things that you are on the same side of the fence with creates buy-in to the conversation.
Pay a unique compliment
Using an example where Malavika paid a model a compliment about being beautiful to a blank response, she highlights that different people are immune to different words. They hear them so regularly they have no impact. Therefore, look for ways to unique and genuine with compliments.
Ask for an opinion
Everyone has an opinion. But the key here is to not ask an opinion on a difficult topic. One where giving an answer the person may feel judged. Keep it simple with a general topic and it can get the conversation flowing and potentially find a “me too” moment as well.
Just be there wholeheartedly. Listen closely and keep eye contact.
Name, Place, Animal, Thing
Pick up on these things and says these things back to them. It shows you have been actively listening and gives anchor point for future conversations.
To see Malavika step through this guide to making conversation, check out the 15-minute TED Talk here:
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