Conversation Starters - FROM A BLANK MIND TO A GREAT MIND
Why is it so hard to start a conversation with a stranger for some people, and so easy for others? I think one of the easiest things to do in life for many people is talking themselves out of starting a conversation with a stranger. Maybe it’s fear, social anxiety, or past experiences. Regardless where it stems, most people experience the same results when they force themselves to approach a stranger on the fly, “their mind goes blank”, and they ramble aimlessly in their conversation.
In the book First Impressions for the Business Professional – Why Some of Us Excel and Most of Us Fail, you’ll discover the OPEN formula which ensures you can approach anyone and keep the conversation flowing with ease. Before you learn to utilize the OPEN formula, you’ll discover how to ensure your mind never goes blank during those important situations of meeting someone for the first time.
From my observation, the vast majority of people who are great conversationalists are what I call “subconsciously prepared” mentally.
This simply means, they are so comfortable communicating with people, they have learned to organize their thoughts, ideas, and stories in a way that allows them to connect and relate them to virtual anyone with ease. For the most part, they appear to have a talent for connecting with others. It is often said you are either born with this talent or not.
Well if you’re not one of those people who are subconsciously prepared there is still hope as you can learn to become what I call “consciously prepared” mentally. This simply means you spend a little time daily preparing yourself to have topic’s to talk about.
Always keep up with current events. If you don’t have a lot of time everyday to read, cnn.com has an outstanding blog called “5 Things to know for your new day”, which provides condensed versions of the top 5 news stories every day.
Read books that have a broad interest. I usually talk about Malcolm Gladwell’s books because there are so many amazing stories to pull from.
Four must reads by Malcolm Gladwell :
1. The Tipping Point—This book describes how little things can make a big difference
2. Blink—This book is about the power of thinking without thinking
3. Outliers—This book tells the story of successes
4. David and Goliath – Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants
Most people need help telling stories. The rule of thumb for storytelling is, tell a story, make a point. Most people find themselves rambling on about a story with no point. A place to practice your storytelling is Toastmasters. This is a non-profit organization focused on public speaking and leadership. This is a supportive environment where you can learn how to talk in public and practice and master the art of storytelling. The most important aspect of this process is you’ll get feedback to get better each time.
The phenomenal thing about being consciously prepared on a consistent basis is, overtime you will start to experience being unconsciously prepared as conversations will just start flowing, and people will start viewing you as a great conversationalist.
Key Lesson: The secret for transforming a blank mind into a great mind comes from a little preparation daily.