You know that awkward moment at a party or networking group when you meet someone and then you both stand there not knowing what to say next? It’s happened to us all. But it doesn’t have to. If you can teach yourself a simple strategy, you will never be faced with uncomfortable silences whether you are at a party or a business event of any kind.

How? First, stop saying this: “I don’t know what to say.” I hear people repeat that like a mantra. So, let’s try to stop reinforcing our ability not to be able to do something and focus on the solution.

The issue is not what to say, it’s what do I ask? Questions are the answer!  So how do you become skilled at asking questions?

The singular best way is to memorize and use just one or two “go-to” questions that are your favorites and that you can use in 99.9% of situations.  Here are mine:

My favorite question with a stranger is, “Where are you from?”

My next favorite question is, “Have you been to (the conference/restaurant/meeting) before?”

And my next favorite… actually I don’t have a next favorite because I can assure you that you don’t need to have another question planned. The conversation and your questions can flow directly from what you learn from these couple of simple questions.

As Dale Carnegie said in his book How to Win Friends and Influence People, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” How do you talk to strangers quickly and easily? Turn them into friends. And there is only one way to do this and it is so easy: ask questions!

What are your favorites? Let me know.

Comments? Please let me know your thoughts. And if you liked this post, please share! – AW

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