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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Breaking The Ice

Going to a wedding where you don't know most of the guests? Feeling a little shy and not sure how to navigate a whole day of talking to strangers? What to do?

First plan some questions to ask ahead of time. This lets you easily come up with an easy question to show your interest in a new acquaintances without searching for one spur of the moment. Think about easy social questions that apply to almost everyone.

Or consider comments that you can make that are easy for new acquaintances to reply to like how pretty the bride looked, how much you like the flowers, how moving the ceremony was, or how much you like the location where either the ceremony or the reception are being held. A short comment with a  followup question asking their opinion can get the conversation started.

You can also easily ask if people are friends of the bride or groom and after they tell you follow up with how you know the couple. Introduce yourself to others by name. Say "Hi I'm Nancy, I'm a friend of Tina's. I don't think I've met you before. Are you a friend of the bride or groom? " Easy social chatter that breaks the ice lets you move onto additional conversation. Party conversations don't have to be 'deep' but rather should show your interest in others.

Ask open ended questions that require a response from the person you are talking to. This immediately gets the conversation started. An open ended question requires a person to reply with their opinion or thoughts and encourages them to elaborate--and a conversation is born.

And a compliment to your new acquaintance is an easy way to get the conversation started. What man or woman doesn't like hearing a compliment? It's hard to dislike someone who is admiring your shoes, suit, dress or hair.

Listen to conversations other people are having to pick up cues to good questions to ask them. If you overhear someone talking about their golf game, there is a good chance they'll enjoy discussing their passion with you. It lets you gauge ahead of time what you have in common with someone so you aren't floundering around for commonalities.

  • Keep it light, this is a wedding not a philosophy conference or a political rally.
  • Don't just talk about yourself, show an interest in others, who they are and what they do.
  • Keep it friendly and positive.
  • Have positive and open body language. Often our non-verbal communication says as much as our verbal conversations.
  • And most of all, remember, first impressions do matter. Show people your best side.
  • Critical to meeting a lot of other people and having a good time? Look like you're having a great time even if you are uncomfortable. People are naturally drawn to others who look like they are having a great time, so be the person who is enjoying themselves. When you can have a good time with one or two other people you soon meet a whole new group of friends.
Now you're ready to go to the next wedding (or party) and feel comfortable meeting new people and making new friends.

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