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How You Can Talk to Anyone in Every Situation by Tim Fearon, Emma Sargent

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3
Chapter
35
Conversation basics
If the thought of having to start a conversation with strangers
makes you feel distinctly anxious, don’t worry. The chances
are that you dont have any problem talking to your friends.
So remember that; there was a time when you didn’t know
the people that you now feel most at ease with. In fact, aside
from family every relationship you have started has been with
a stranger. It follows then that every social event is an opportu-
nity to meet people who may become friends.
So now the question is, what can you do to set yourself up to
have a good time whatever the event and what are some of the
strategies you can employ that will ensure you have the best
time possible?
First things first
We already know that one thing that marks out the most suc-
cessful communicators is that they always have an outcome in
mind. So if we apply this to ourselves it translates into a very
simple question: What do you want?
What do you want to get out of any event that you attend? When
you leave the event, how will you know you have achieved your
outcome? This can sound a bit formalised or businesslike but you
really can apply it to anything. For example:
A party it might be just a real determination and focus on
enjoying yourself.
An office ‘do’ speaking to at least three people from differ-
ent parts of the business.
A dinner party deciding to find out at least one thing you
never knew about all the other guests.
HOW YOU CAN TALK TO ANYONE IN EVERY SITUATION
36
A charity event finding out as much as you can about the
charity and the way it is organised.
A ball – dancing with at least one person that you do not know
.
A conference making five new connections and speaking to
at least one of the speakers whose subjects most interest you.
A networking event deciding, once you have seen the
attendance list, exactly who you want to connect with.
An external training course learning and being on first-
name terms with three to five of the other attendees by
lunchtime on the first day.
And you don’t need to stretch yourself too far. Give yourself
something to aim for and that in itself will allow you to focus
on other people rather than on yourself and any uncertainty or
nervousness that you used to feel.
The secret to being interesting
Surprisingly, the people who are regarded as the most inter-
esting and who get invited back tend to be those who are
interested in others, not those who go on and on about them-
selves. You’ll have heard of, and probably even met, people who
could ‘bore for Britain’. Well, you never want to be seen as one
of those, do you?
So get curious about people, about their backgrounds, about
their lives, about their loves. There’s nothing that makes people
feel more flattered and want to spend more time with you. Have
you ever had that experience, where you’ve been made to feel
like the most fascinating person in the room? How did it make
you feel?
We were talking a little while ago to a friend of ours, Julie, who,
the evening before, had been to a party with her boyfriend, David.
‘What was it like?’ we asked.
‘Oh, great for David!’ was her slightly acerbic response.
‘What happened?’

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