As a nerd I love geeking out about fantasy, books, engineering and philosophy.
But in high school it was not always that,..uhm,.. practical. You know,… during that awkward stage of life.
As a typical nerd, I was always a flat out mute. During parties, meetings or whatever social settings my peers forced me in.
I ‘fondly’ remember leaving the party of my best friend. Just because I could not get myself talking to strangers. I was shy, anxious and plainly didn’t know what to say.
Somehow it was easier to avoid conversation entirely.
This was all kind of acceptable…. Until the summer of 2010, commuting back home.
I was sitting on the bus, minding my own business. When out of nowhere a radiating beauty comes sit next to me. A hot skater girl, exactly what I always fantasized about (romantic fantasy people, not carnal, mind you 😉 ).
I thought, this is it. Que the random teen movie soundtrack and go. Time to shine!
Of course I did nothing.
I couldn’t even utter a word. I lacked the experience to be even remotely social. Nevermind being charming.
That’s when I had enough!
I made a plan. I deduced two main problems to initiating conversation. The 30 seconds right before and at the start of conversations are the hardest. So why not do those on auto-pilot?
I researched and wrote down a few simple opening questions. Then started rehearsing. Just so I could start a good conversation without thinking. A few false starts later and I learned to initiate dialogues spontaneously.
With some practice you too can start talking on auto-pilot. Better yet: you can enjoy it!
Thus I present my elaborate scripts to initiate meaningful conversation. Socializing won’t be so scary anymore.
Start making amazing connections using these starters. Great for opening people up. Because these questions make people think and talk positively. Making others and yourself feel good. Laying the base for sustainable connections.
Feel free to steal these scripts – on the condition you start memorizing and applying them.
1 Hi! How are you? – [answer] – Why are you feeling [answer]?
An easy way to start. But you go beyond the standard, by asking why. Most of the times people don’t ask you why you are feeling a certain way. They just dron on.
This way you give others the chance to tell about themselves. And you get to know them.
2 Hi, Nice to meet you. So tell me, what is your story?
A bit bolder. This approach may startle people a bit. But asking people what they are about flatters them. Give them the spotlight. So others have the chance to talk about who they are. Listen carefully, this is a great opener!
3 Hey I love your [genuinely compliment item], where did you get it?
This one is a bit less rehearsable. But practice and try it anyway. Paying people compliments is awesome. Everyone loves it. How often do you get a compliment? Not too often right? And when you do, it is great. Why not give that feeling to others.
Look carefully, notice what you like, say you like it, followed by a question were they got it. Doesn’t matter whether you compliment someone’s car, shoes or smile!
4 Hi, so what was your highlight of the week?
This lets people reflect on what they did, with a positive twist. Not just how was your week? No, what was the highlight!
Acknowledging and asking what was positive the last 7 days. You will definitely bring people in a positive mindset.
5 Hi! So what personal passion project are you working on right now?
Most people work on something they like or want to passionately get better at. It’s in the front of their minds all the time. For you it might be ‘learning to socialize better’.
Ask people about their passion! Listen, show interest and voila, you connect.
Initiating conversation can be hard. Remember, for most people it is difficult. Be the confident socializer using these questions. So you can start creating genuine connections. Memorize, try them and keep practicing. Soon it will be easy to make new friends!
Want to learn more? Timon teaches social skills and confidence to engineers, nerds and geeks. By showing the right mindsets and easy applicable techniques. Learn to lose your inner doubter, make new friends and feel confident while doing it. At Techlecticism you can learn to be your best self.