January 28th, 2012
I am out practicing in the wild again. At a mixer where people are drinking coffee and eating finger food. I have just introduced myself to a young woman and have started to talk about what she does for fun in her spare time. She likes opera, russian authors, illegal gambling and single malt whiskey from Islay. This is the part of the conversation where the two of us get to know each other. I make sure not to rush the conversation along. I keep her talking with the questions I have carefully prepared.
I notice it when she mentions she has not had time to get to the opera for several months. I think about my pal who sings opera and is a knowledgable conversationalist. I make a mental note to connect them. It will take less time for the two of them to meet locally, for example in this bar, than traveling all the way to the opera on the mainland. Next time she goes to the opera the new knowledge will enhance her experience.
I Liven Up the Atmosphere by Telling a Short Story From My Spare Time
When I tell the story from my spare time I act more engaged than what is usual in the modest country of Norway. I tell a story about a sailing trip where one of my friends ends up in a local caribbean jail. We had to sing for the guards to let him out, without them paying thousands of dollars in bail. The story is a little over the top, but the WAY I tell the story is MORE over the top. I am pushing at the boundaries of unwritten social rules. That way it is hard for my conversational partner to tell about her own hobbies in a disinterested way without looking like a boring jerk. I want her to show emotional engagement. That way it is easier to spot the signs of discontent about not being able to tend to her hobbies. My goal for the conversation is to uncover her needs and understanding how I may help.
Explain what your hobby entails in four sentences
- Practice in front of the mirror. Use a lively body language, mimic and tone of voice. Look into your own eyes in the mirror while you practice.
- Write down three questions about peoples hobbies and practice them out loud. It is better if the questions are open. Meaning people can not answer them “yes” or “no”. “Who, what, where, why or how” are good starts to open questions.
- Test one of your questions on somebody you know on the phone today.
- Practice to be more engaged when you talk. Write down the names of three of your friends who speak in an engaged way. Take note of their facial expressions when they tell stories. Try to mimick them in front of a mirror.
Next blogpost is about how you give true value to people you meet while mingling.
Last blogpost was Tell People About Your Job.