Happy Fourth of July! You may engage in celebrating today’s holiday as a party host or guest and either way, you’ll have the pleasure of expanding your social and possibly also your professional network. From backyard barbecues to weddings, the meet and greet is on, for business or pleasure. Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you will feel more at ease if when you encounter new people you can draw from a little repertoire of conversation starters that you can easily recall.
Here’s a list of conversation starters designed to make your summer celebrations a little more fun. Keep in mind that when you approach a party guest, or a guest approaches you, smile and show that you welcome that person’s presence and you’d like to converse. While you might encounter the rare monosyllabic type who is too awkward to make small talk, in which case you can smile and slip away as quickly as socially acceptable, most partygoers and attendees at social or business functions are primed to meet and get acquainted with interesting people. They’ll meet you halfway and together, you’ll create the conversation. You will likely be joined by others and that’s all for the good.
- Hi, I’m ______; and you are…? Nice to meet you! Do you live in the neighborhood ?
- Hi, I’m ______; and you are…? Nice to meet you! How do you know (the host)?
- Have you been having a good summer, so far?
- Do you like the summer holidays better, or winter holidays?
- Are you a summer vacation person, or a winter vacation person?
- I’m walking over to the drink table. Can I bring you something?
- The buffet looks delicious (holding your plate and drink)—may I sit here?
- As you see, I’m checking out (the hosts’) books. They have a lot of good titles. Do you see something here that you’ve read?
- Who is that singing? Could it be Sarah Vaughan?
- OK, pop quiz–How many oceans are there on planet earth?
I hope you meet some good people both today and at the social and business functions that you’ll attend this summer and that you’re able to build one or two relationships that outlast the events you attend. Relax and allow yourself to have a good time.
Show interest in the people you meet. Tailor your conversation topics to those with whom you are speaking. Don’t monopolize the conversation. Listen more than you talk and listen actively. At some point in a lively conversation you may want to jump in with a witty retort, but try to avoid interrupting and one-upping.
Finally, don’t over-share and if you meet someone with whom it appears there could be a mutual interest to talk business, exchange cards and plan to follow-up a day or two after the party.
Thanks for reading,
The Tall Ships Parade in Boston Harbor. June 16, 1017 Photograph by Kim Clark