10 tips to feed a conversation
If you've ever been lost, cold and wet a long way from home you know a fire warms your body, just like a conversation warms your soul, The stranger you're approaching on a Vancouver skytrain platform can be distracted and moody; wet wood and you're down to your last match. Take a minute, pull up a virtual log and I'll give you some techniques to get your conversation fires roaring.
You'll need some kindling. Look for something unusual about your interlocutor; a piece of clothing, jewelery, hat or badge. Something to get the conversation rolling. Is she carrying a book or a laptop?
Watch the fire. Be in the moment. Comment on something happening in scene. Have you ever seen an avocado like this? As you pick up a slim green fruit while looking into the Korean ladies brown eyes." She volleys with, "I guess they're just like humans." as her lips part and pointy tongue touches the roof of her mouth.
Bump or brush into someone. " Ohh Excuse me. (pause) Be aware of body space, but maintain eye contact. "Isn't it crowded today."
Add some accelerant to the mix - say an intimate detail. "I hate cooking for one - I'm stumped on what to cook for supper "
Have some spare wood - props like a book, a map and, a few pieces of news for small talk gambits. "I've gotten turned around.Can you point out the Hotel Vancouver on the map?"Did you know Alice Cooper was born on Christmas Day?" "Just picked up the latest Sherlock Holmes on video? Which detective do you like?" "What do you think of Kepler-22b?"
Active listening and open follow up questions to understand his/her point of view or experience better. Avoid I statements. Imagine you're a tv interviewer. Your challenge is to discover as much as you can about your partner in a short time.
Try burning something exotic - "Imagine you're on a beach. Tell me what you hear, smell and feel. Listen for the expressions is your partner kinaesthetic, auditory or visual?
Your first match will go out - keep practicing. The more you practice meeting people, the more comfortable you'll be. Start off by just saying hi to 3 people a day.