Published on February 18, 2021 in Audience Retention & Conversion.
If you're in business or sales, staring a conversation with a complete stranger (which may be a potential customer, a potential investor, or someone else who may be able to help your business) is often required. And I think it's fair to say that we all agree that starting a conversation with a complete stranger feels awkward and weird.
Here are links and resources mentioned in today's video. Enjoy!
That said, I have a few tricks to help here. I start friendly, light conversations with people all the time in every day life because I wanted to overcome that feeling of weirdness and awkwardness.
So here's my first pro-tip: Don't start with something generic or boring. Don't start by commenting on the weather or some other generic, dull subject. Instead, make a comment about something that's happening in the moment.
And further , what I often do is turn it into a question. That puts the ball into the other person's court.
So for example, if there's construction happening nearby, I wouldn't say, "boy they're making a mess," I'd say something like, "Geeze, do you think they could make a bigger mess?"
The key is to make it light, fun, casual, and relaxed.
And that's my next pro-tip: Asking questions. It's my secret weapon. People love talking about themselves. "This place is great, have you been here before?" or "Have you seen this event before or is this your first time?"
Another trick to break the ice is to comment on something they're wearing (so long as you keep it appropriate) "That's a great looking tie, where'd you get it?" "That's a beautiful necklace, was it a gift?"
Again, people love to talk about themselves...so long as you make them feel relaxed and comfortable. For most people, there isn't a more interesting topic than themselves. So by asking them questions about themselves, this opens things up to a casual exchange.
That said, some people are guarded or introverted and don't like talking about themselves...so you'll have to gauge the situation in real time. Do they appear uncomfortable or are they opening up?
When you speak to a stranger out of the blue, really what you're doing is breaking an invisible social boundary, so be respectful and light. Yet if you're personable, they'll open up to you. Don't be a creep or a weirdo! Remember to keep it positive, natural, and light.
And their responses to your questions give you natural material for follow-up questions, "So you said you lived in Vancouver. How long did you live there?"
My third pro-tip: Practice. To get skilled and conformable at starting and continuing conversations with strangers, you have to do it a lot...At the grocery store, in line at the bank, at the park...anywhere really.
Of course, as with anything, the more you do it, the more practice you get. The more practice you get, the better and more relaxed you get.
The ability to talk to strangers is a great skill to have...and lends itself very well to marketers, sales people, and small business owners.
Hope you enjoyed. See ya next time!