If there’s one thing that I’m really terrible at is at starting conversations… Although this not seem such a big thing it is a disadvantage in any event, especially because it undermines my confidence. And tonight I have this big event with people I am not that comfortable with: peers, superiors, competitors…
I read about this problem and I’m willing to try this sentences, in the case that I, as usual, have absolutely nothing to say this evening in this industry gala:
1. “That is such a great ring/ necklace/ watch…”
It seems that starting with a comment on something personal is positive, personal and not too intrusive. I’m hoping that this can help me to find out something about the person sitting or standing next to me
2. “What’s your reaction to the news that came out yesterday?...”
This one is quite obvious because some very relevant news came out yesterday about one of the players in the industry. I’m hoping I can ask this one first because it will be on top of everyone’s heads
3. “This is to toast to our team winning the award!”
I’m hoping this one can cheer up our table. To Be positive, to smile and to celebrate each other's victories works in every situation! This One is a quick win! The good vibes this happy toast suggest will take care of our formal conversations for a while ;)
I’m willing to make it easier for other people to get some clues on what to talk about when beginning a conversation so I will be focused on not giving the shortest answers and to give some suggestions on what to say next. I may just tell them about my winter holidays in France or my 3 kids being sick at the same time… maybe that will work!
Have you found yourself in this situation, maybe also at a professional gathering? What seems to work and gets you feeling more comfortable? Please share!
Wish me luck!
My name is T. S. Coelho and I live in Lisbon, Portugal, with my husband and three kids. I work in the asset management industry, managing an equities fund.