Category Archives: Networking & Small Talk

6 Important Tips to Get the Most out of Business Networking


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We may well be into the 21st Century, but that old adage, “it’s not who you know, but who know’s you” continues ringing true.

In fact, some people (myself included) have gone further with, “it’s not who knows you, but who remembers you” that counts.

The Art of Successful Networking for both personal and professional success are still key components in our world today. Yet, it is still an area that many of us fall short of, mainly because a significant proportion of us operate behind the miracle and wonders of the computer, and that good teachers on the subject are far and few between.

Here then, is a list of 6 Tips on How to Get the Most out of Business Networking  
(Adapted from the Financial Post – Read the Original Article Here)

1. Commitment

Commit yourself to speaking to people you haven’t met, and avoid the comfort of just hanging around familiar faces.

Commit yourself too, to having quality conversations, and by that I mean finding out about what they do, how you can help them and vice versa.

2. Dress the Part

The business world is a big marketplace, but that doesn’t mean you should dress like you are actually at one.

The way you dress, reflects how much effort and consideration you’ve put into your personal and professional branding. A haphazard ‘put-together’ suggests you don’t care – and if you don’t why should others?

3. Be Professional

Being professional means applying a skill or practice in the course of work, and that takes effort – effort which goes over and beyond what you would normally do in the personal sphere.

Being professional, thus requires you to prepare the “tools of your trade” and doing everything which is necessary to get the job done and done well. This includes preparing your name cards (the crisp and nice ones), polishing your shoes, reading up on who might be attending the event, and what they might be interested in etc.

4. Seize the Initiative

Don’t rely on others to take the lead. Be first to break the ice; they are probably just as nervous as you are and are also there for a purpose.

5. It’s Not Over Even After Its Over

A big mistake most people make at the end of a networking event, is thinking that it’s over after everybody’s gone home.

It’s not.

That people have gone home means that your work has entered the second phase of “staying in touch”. When the dust’s settling, that’s when you get the breeze going by keeping in touch and reminding them you are keeping them in mind (preferably with ways to help them in whatever ways necessary).

In a subtle way, it is also an indirect way of reminding them to keep a look out for opportunities for you.

Regardless, it’s still a great way to have them remember you – and that’s important, isn’t it?

6. Stay Visible

Join a networking/professional group or volunteer your services. Whatever it may be, the key point here is that you should be able to meet new people, show others what you are capable and continuously apply Tips 1-5.

Offer to speak at events, or publish articles; position yourself as the “go-to” person in your industry.

At the end of the day, it’s more important about who knows (and remembers) you, than who you know, is it not?

***

Do you have any other tips where it comes to Networking? Share it in the comments section below!

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The Power of Storytelling: 10 Reasons Why Stories Are Such Powerful Tools


We’ve heard a lot about it. Speakers use it. Politicians love it… But Storytellers started it.

What exactly endears an audience to stories? And what makes it such a powerful communication and learning tool that has stood the test of time?

Here are 10 Reasons Why Storytelling is Such a Powerful & Effective Learning Tool.

Continue reading The Power of Storytelling: 10 Reasons Why Stories Are Such Powerful Tools

Concise Communication Tips for the Day


When East Meets West - What Do You Do?

Greetings are cultural dependent – A Chinese person would most likely ask “Have you Eaten?”, to which you should answer “Yes..” to start the conversation.

A Westerner would most likely ask, “How are you?” or “How have you been!”, to which you answer “Great, and you look great too!”.

Unfortunately, the biggest wrong answer a Westerner can give when he meets a Chinese person is to answer “No! Are you giving me a treat?”!

Similarly, it’s important to take Westernized comments such as comments such as you were great! And “you’re really charming…” with a pinch of salt!

Reciprocity of greetings in cultural contexts is the key. The problem of miscommunication often arises when one party misreads or mis-reciprocates the other party’s advances!

Speaking Without Fear – Are You Afraid of Yourself?


I was taking a little walk the other day when I bumped into this young chap at a bus stop. He was slightly taller, well dressed and proper in his nice shirt and pants. I was in a red jersey, white sports shorts and sandals.

He looked like he was ready to take the world by storm. I looked like I was ready to be hoisted out on a flag pole as the flag of Singapore or Indonesia!

Yes, he was making me look bad by simply standing next to him.

Unable to bear the awkward silence, I broke the silence first and started small talk. It was weird at first. He probably thought I was gay or something. But I managed to win him over after about 30seconds after we both eyed the same cute girl who walked past the both of us…

Anyway, I digress!

We began talking about the weather, how wretched and unpredictable it was and how it was more comfortable to be wearing a light jersey, shorts and sandals as compared to his expensive suit (woo hoo!). Then we began talking about our work. He was an accountant working in one of the local SME (small and medium enterprises) and introduced myself as training in communication and public speaking skills.

By then, our conversation was on autopilot as we waited for our bus to arrive. The name of the “pilot” in my conversation was “Mr Curiosity” as I allowed it to direct and fish out some of the challenges my new found friend had with public speaking. Apparently, it was the usual – fear of failure/falling flat on stage, how to keep the audience interested and what are the things he should do on stage etc.

I’ve heard these things pretty much all the time now – and I must admit it that I face it all the time too. Yet, I’ve also come to recognise that fear can be a powerful ally, and I’ve since learned to let it direct my attention towards areas I need to shore up when I’m preparing to speak.

Yet, the revelations I got from my new friend did remind me of a a couple of pointers too when it comes to managing fear. Here are some of them:

*** My new friend and I aren’t that different – so are many of the people we’ve met and will meet.

Strangers are just friends you haven’t met. Essentially, most of us face the same concerns and face the same challenges. In fact, because our society’s structured and conditioned in a certain way, most of us even share similar values that we can all relate too!

The significance of this revelation is this – if many other people share the same concerns and value as I do, then there’s a higher chance I will be able to relate to them! Or if I don’t, then I there’s at least a higher chance that I would be able to guess correctly what are some of the values, challenges and concerns that other people face when it comes to a particular topic/event/subject!

Of course, I’m taking quite a wild shot in presenting this theory. After all, it’s hard to apply such a generic theory to specific situations or circumstances when there’re specific requirements to be met and cultures to adhere too. Still, it’s a start, and that start can lead you to finding the things you need to meet those expectations – via research.

You see, at the end of the day, researching via interviews and statistics will be able to give you a feel of the general sentiment, mood and perspectives of the people that you’ll be talking to. The best thing you could realise after conducting your research, however, is to realise that you’re not all that different from the people you were afraid to speak to.

In that instance, you would come to realise that your audience are actually extensions of yourself and your friends. They’re not as hostile as you think – and there’s no need to be afraid either.

The key challenge here, however, is for you to research, prepare and preempt the reactions of your audience. Only then would you be in a better position to engage and endear yourself to the people whom you wish to connect with – fearlessly.

Related Posts
Fear Busters – 10 Tips to Overcome Stage Fright

You Make a Difference!


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Mead

We go about doing many things in life. Sometimes, we get so used to doing certain things and being so comfortable with certain people that we start taking them for granted – and forget about the differences they make in our lives.

A friend of mine hadn’t. She found this beautiful email in her inbox one day, and she took the time to send it to me, as a way of thanking me for a difference in her life.

This was the story (in video form), she sent me:

I think the story’s an enlightening read, simply because it highlights how one seemingly small action, and a seemingly minuscule initiative could snowball and impact someone’s life in ways that we could never imagine.

One of the biggest ironies in life, and idiosyncrasies of Man has always been how we seem hope and seek to be make a difference, and yet forget about the seemingly simple and easily doable gestures which can really make a big difference in the lives of other people.

You don’t have to be a star or celebrity to effect change, really. All you need is a willingness to express appreciation and the initiative take the first step. After all, you don’t have to be “great”, to be great!

Be great by making a difference! Spread the joy now by sharing with them this video or this post. Or if you really want to get the pictures for your email, you may get them below! Otherwise (if you can wait) you can send me a mail and I’ll forward them to you! It might take awhile, but I’ll do my best!

Make someone smile today! Make a difference by telling them how they’ve made a difference in your life, today!

Don’t wait! Make a difference, today!

Continue reading You Make a Difference!

How to Look Confident by Knowing Where and How to Look!


Many of us have heard about the importance of maintaining eye contact whilst we are speaking. For those of you who aren’t sure about it or are having difficulty recalling the significance of maintaining eye contact here’s a quick recap, followed by simple to use but effectives techniques on how to use your eyes to charm and connect. Continue reading How to Look Confident by Knowing Where and How to Look!

Hook, Line, and Sinker! Your Guide to Creating Interesting Introductions When Meeting New People!


Has this ever happened to you before?

You walk into a party/meeting… you see a couple of people. None of which you’ve ever met before.

Alone.

You’ve two choices. Strike up a conversation. Or stand at a corner and shroud into oblivion.

Then again, I guess you might very well choose to seek out the person who invited you over first, then proceed with one of the two choices.

Then that’s where it happened. The questions start coming in:

How are you going to start? What are you going to say? And how are you going to keep the conversation going?

Initiating conversations, and keeping them going are probably some of the biggest challenges that people face when it comes to meeting new people. And one of the key concerns that most people have when it comes to striking conversations is maintaining the initiating and maintaining a high level of interest throughout the conversation. That, and attempting to leave a positive and deep impression on the new friends you meet.

How exactly do we strike up conversations that intrigue, interest and leave a deep impression on on the people we just meet? Continue reading Hook, Line, and Sinker! Your Guide to Creating Interesting Introductions When Meeting New People!

Everybody Wants to Be Entertained!


Everybody wants to be entertained. And when I mean entertained, I do not mean entertainment in the Russel Peters or Jerry Seinfield sense!

Entertainment is not necessarily confined to the field of humour. Horror, mystery, drama and fantasy are other forms of entertainment that appeal to the senses of people. Don’t you think so?
Continue reading Everybody Wants to Be Entertained!

Friend over ‘Stranger’


What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you’re about to meet someone new?

Do likely scenarios of rejection flash before your eyes?

Do scenes of embarrassment strike fear into your heart?

Or does fear and uncertainty grip you?

Honestly, who/what exactly do you see when you approach someone whom you’ve never met before? Do you really see a stranger – a six-headed monster with razor sharp teeth who has the ability to inflict pain and embarrassment upon you – or do you really see a potential new friend, whom you have yet to meet, speak to, and spend good times with?

There is a key difference between the two. The perspective you adopt will determine the attitude and your course of action in dealing with these “new people”. Your course of action, would in turn determine the result you have with people.
Continue reading Friend over ‘Stranger’

10 Tips to Improve Your Speech


1. Speed Up, Slow Down

Varying your speed! You can slow down just before you reach the climax of your speech to add to the suspense. Or you can speed up to add drama and excitement to your story. Either way, you may add interest to your speech.

2. Vary your Tone

Same goes to your tone. You may use a high-pitched tone when describing a lady (or how your lady-boss howls at you at work) or a deep raspy one (like how Count Dracula might use to seduce his next victim).
Emulate a firm one for authority or a looser and relaxed on to generate that playful mood.

3. Vary your Volume

Increase your VOLUME to EMPHASIZE certain KEY words. Decrease it every now and then to make the audience strain to hear what you have to say.

Varying between the two can help you capture their attention whilst adding interest to the story you’re telling.

4. Pausing for Emphasis

This concept is pretty similar to varying your volume – somewhat. Have you noticed that the audience become particularly sensitive to their surroundings when silence is introduced suddenly in a room?

Wouldn’t you look up to check what’s going on the room when the speaker cuts off halfway in silence?

Make full use of this heightened sensitivity to drive home a key word or idea. The words or phrase following this silence should be as short as possible, preferably between 1 – 3 words, to avoid dampening the effect.

5. Eliminate Filler Words

Avoid using words like “Um”, “Er”, “Hmmm”. Generally, these words tend to convey a sense of uncertainty and suggest that you may be unsure of what you’re saying. These would definitely work against you during persuasive and/or sales speeches.

6. Smile!

Smiling (whenever necessary and appropriate) helps take fear away from your mind. Research has proven that a person’s state of mind may be affected by his physiology.

When you appear happy, confident and positive, your mind forgets about fear and you’re left to enjoy your presentation.

Smile and the whole world smiles with you!

7. Animate

Animate your message! In moderation of course. Gesticulate while trying to make point. Use your fingers to number your points “Firstly, Secondly, Thirdly etc”.

I’ve also realised how powerful facial expressions can be where it comes to animating your messages. Raise your eyebrows to depict surprise or shock. Or squint your eyes to depict scepticism.

There’re a thousand and one ways you can make use of your facial expressions to animate your message. Play around with your expressions and discover what your face can do by practising in front of the mirror!

8. Relax

Most of us are usually able to relate and speak to our family and friends without much difficulty.

Our minds perform best when they’re relaxed and free. Like our muscles, our tensing up can only lead to cramps, and it wouldn’t be nice to have a mental ‘cramp’ while your speaking!

Relax by taking deep breaths and focus on having fun!

9. Practise, Practise, PRACTISE!

Now if you’re still reading this, you may wonder – How may I relax and have fun if I’ve never done “this” before?!

“This”, of course, refers to speaking in public for the first time, or speaking frequently in public.

Well, to be completely honest, I didn’t enjoy the process of speaking when I first started too. IT WAS HORRIFYING!

But what I really enjoyed was the end product of speaking. I enjoyed knowing that I had taken a step that many others feared taking. And I enjoy having the knowledge that I’m a better person as a result of my act(s) of courage.

Now, I continually seek every opportunity to practise. Every act of courage I take propels me toward becoming a better speaker and person.

And I derive delight after each practice session!

10. Review

So is this a case of “Practise makes perfect”? – NO! It’s useless if you keep repeating the same mistake over and over again whilst hoping for a different a result!

Understand that there’s no perfect speech. Regardless of how good you are as a speaker, or how well delivered a speech was, there will ALWAYS be room for improvement.

Seek to improve yourself continuously. Review each speech session and see which areas you might need or want to pay greater attention to.

If required, record yourself and play it back for reviewing later.

Seek advice and feedback from your audience (where appropriate) to highlight blind spots.

Seek materials (like my blog! *winks*) to help you target specific areas for improvement!

Download the Complimentary Article on Winning With Fear to Speak with Confidence!

Power Sharing! Win Over a ‘Matchmaker’ in Less than 45mins!


Great! I’ve just go back from a Toastmasters meeting a local tertiary institution and got to meet several new people (and friends)! The meeting was an eventful one. But what’s really got me piqued about my meeting new people was this little after-meeting conversation that took place with my new friend on our way home.

You see, I’ve never met this young lady prior to today’s meeting, but over next 45 minutes as we journeyed our way home together, we managed to share about our lives in school, past relationships, plans for the future, hobbies and interests, little gripes about her boyfriend and (are you ready for this?), she even offered to recommend me a girlfriend! My, talk about the power of networking!

Now how did I build that rapport over a meagre 45 minutes? Simple, go read my posts on Networking and Positive Image and Impressions!

Now seriously, throughout the conversation, my new friend hinted that I was “hyperactive” and that it was “apparent that (I) held myself in high esteem”. All these while I’m exhausted after my earlier exertions for taking part in an earlier camp (which explains my hiatus over the past week).

Hyperactive? High self-esteem? Are these the known characteristics of an introverted man?

I doubt it. Yet, this was the impression I gave her.

I’m not saying that I lied to win her trust or her friendship. I didn’t. I answered all her questions honestly and truthfully. Yet, despite our difference in age (I’m about half a decade older than her) and difference in our educational backgrounds, we managed to connect. And now we’re friends!

Like what I mentioned in my earlier post in It’s All About You, building rapport will require you to look through the other person’s perspectives and responses and build upon them. It’s also important that you understand what kind of “communication language” that other person is speaking. Noting her youth and exuberance, I could have killed the conversation with my lectures on how to be a better speaker and/or life in university.

Yet, our dialogue was just that – a dialogue! We spoke and we laughed at each other, with each other. And we enjoyed each others’ company throughout the duration of the bus ride! No awkward silences or blank stares.

Now how’s that for a tip on winning friends (and a potential matchmaker) over to your side in less than an hour?

Conversation Starter: Crouching Cuppa, Hidden Dagger


Like some great inventions, some great techniques in inter-personal relationships and communication are discovered by accident. I discovered one through such an accident today.

I was helping out in school (yes, I’m still studying!) as a facilitator during our Freshman Admission Day exercise when a group of facilitators (all ‘boys’) gathered and chattered eagerly among themselves. Apparently, they caught sight of a pretty freshman and were daring each other to make the first move to talk to her. She was alone and standing at a corner.

It took awhile for them to mumble among themselves before chickening out. By the way, these ‘boys’ were my seniors in school!

Whilst they were tripping over themselves egging on each other to make the first move, I was at the refreshments counter… when suddenly a thought came to mind. Picking up a cup, I filled it up with punch, walked over to the girl and offered her a drink – which she gladly accepted. We spoke on for the next 15 – 20mins… and I forgot all about the ‘boys’.

* * *

In all honesty, I’ve never really created ‘props’ like this before to initiate conversations. And today’s experience has highlighted to me the important role props may play where it comes to initiating contact with strangers.

Seriously, a conversation prop may serve as both a shield and a sword.

Allow me to explain the dynamics:

Prelude

Taking this morning’s event as an example, since the lady was standing alone, my sudden approach could have had a startling and destablising effect on her. And especially for Asians, this sudden approach may appear weird since our culture dictates that we be more reserved, and we can be quite shy.

Secondly, since the room was bustling with people and she was standing alone, I couldn’t really be sure if she was a crazy psycho waiting to snap, or if she was waiting for someone else. Therefore, I needed a test to know her current state of mind.

The Shield

Notice that there can only be two outcomes to my offer: She either accepts it, or declines.

Should she decline, I’d know that she’s not in the ‘friendly’ mode and it’s better to leave her alone. And since her declination of the drink is just that – a declination to drink. She was not rejecting me personally, and there’s no damage inflicted on my ego.

The Sword

Now on the other hand, since she had accepted the drink, I knew that she had accepted my gesture of goodwill and that split second allowed me to determine that she was in a receptive state of mind. The result of the ‘test’ allowed me to take a step closer to knowing her better, and build on the conversation.

* * *

So here’s one more strategy you can use to initiate conversations and make the first move! If you like to know more about starting and maintaining conversations and the dynamics of small talk, feel free to check out my related posts below! I believe you may also find Doug’s comment about how the prop his dad used to initiate conversations under my post titled Conversation Starters.

Seriously, I think these are valuable resources for anyone who hates retreating into their shell whenever they want to meet new people, or for anyone who simply wants to make more friends! They are easy to use and execute, and don’t require much money to execute!

All one needs is the desire and willingness and knowledge on how to breakthrough!

Now go out check them out and make a new friend today!

Related Posts:

Conversation Starters
It’s All About You
It’s All About You – Body Language

Pour Your Heart Into It!


Where it comes to speaking and fulfillment of goals, it came to my attention that seldom does one succeed without enthusiasm, passion and belief.

Like a laser beam, I believe that when we are able to focus all our energies – mental and physical – onto a particular task or goal, half the battle is won with our intense desire to win.

Can you imagine a motivational speaker who’s trying to inspire his audience to embrace nobler ideals and beliefs, when he himself isn’t convinced in what he’s preaching?

How about a product salesman who’s trying to sell you something… would you believe in his sales pitch that “it’s the best product in the world” when even he hesitates to use it?

*

Belief is a crucial factor where it comes to summoning our passion, enthusiasm and abilities.

I believe, that with total belief, our minds become focused on achieving a particular task. Suddenly, all that we see are the things that we CAN do, and HOW CAN we solve the problems. The question becomes: “HOW CAN WE SUCCEED”, instead of “how we could fail”.

Beliefs breed confidence. And confidence breeds action. Action breeds results. And results in turn breed more confidence. This is what I call the empowerment cycle.

Confidence is a funny concept. Somehow, it’s extremely infectious!

A confident general inspires his soldiers, and they’d gladly give their lives at the command of their leader.

Same goes to a confident partner in a romantic relationship. A confident partner instills security in the other person and leaves him/her assured of their mutual stature for each other. Could you imagine two insecure people together in a relationship!? It’s not going to be a pretty sight, that’s for sure!

People are generally drawn to those who possess the energy and drive in life. These are the passionate and enthusiastic individuals that we so often see making waves in the corporate or social organisations. Of course there are exceptions. Yet, it’s hardly usual to see an insecure person helming an organisation for long. Wouldn’t you agree?

Similarly, where it comes to making a powerful and impressive speech, it is crucial to bear in mind that it’s not really about WHAT you say. It’s about HOW you say it!

When was the last time you found yourself swayed by a person who sounded immensely excited about what he has to say? It could have been the discovery of a new stock/share on the market with immense potential (or less than immense potential) and you went along with it just because he sounded so enthusiastic and convincing?!

Regardless of the content, who would you prefer listening to? A person who’s genuinely excited about what he/she has to say, or a person who’s just really excited (like that bland tasting cup of coffee)?

I’ve observed that it’s always easier to speak about what you’re keenly interested and passionate about than to speak about something you’ve no interest in. Isn’t that true?

Incidentally, it’s always more pleasurable to listen to someone who knows what he’s saying (or think he knows what he’s saying) than someone who appears jittery and nervous. Isn’t that true as well?

If you were to speak about the first time your son/daughter got a 100% in his/her quiz or the time when he came out tops in a local competition, would you have to think about it much before you began sharing about it to your neighbour(s)? Or have you met someone who couldn’t stop talking to you about their favourite stamp collection album… could you get them to stop (even after 323 attempts at trying to stop the conversation)?

Granted it, the last example’s a negative one! We really don’t want to bore our audiences! Yet, I’d like to use that example to highlight how much easier speaking could be when we Pour Our Heart Into It.

And how about the case of trying to make impactful speech?

Same thing goes: Pour Your Heart Into It! Let your passion and enthusiasm show! But this time, make sure it relates to the audience. There’s no point talking about your stamp collection when your listener is only interested in collecting bottle caps!

Speak with enthusiasm! Live with passion!

What would your success story be?

Handling Criticisms


To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing

Most people hate getting critcised. Many people try to avoid it. Yet, there’s really no way to get away from it.

I recall this story of the mule and the Old Man and His Grandson…

There was once an Old Man and his Grandson, travelling to the city market with their mule and luggage. Midway through their journey, they chanced upon a group of men, who commented that the couple were “idiots for walking” when they had a mule.

Thinking that they made sense, the old man lifted his grandson onto the mule and joined him soon after.

A little while later, they came across a group of middle aged women. Like the men earlier, they too commented. This time, however, they criticised the pair for lack of sympathy and thoughtlessness for making the mule bear both their weight.

Taking their words to heart, the old man alighted and proceed on foot.

Again, (they must have been cursed or something) a little while later the pair chance upon another group of women who criticised the grandson for making his aged companion walk!

Ashamed, the little boy alighted and had his grandfather rest atop the mule.

To complete the sequence (and prove that they were really cursed!), the pair came across one more group of a few teenagers a few moments later. Incensed that the man was making the young boy walk, the group criticised the old man for being selfish!

Bewildered, the pair did next best thing they could…

…THEY CARRIED THE MULE FOR THE REST OF THE JOURNEY!

* * *

Moral of the story: You cannot please everybody.

Since we can’t please everyone with whatever we do, then why bother getting so preoccupied with it in the first place?

Many of us become so concerned with pre-empting criticisms that our actions and thoughts revolve around trying avoid getting criticised than what’s the best thing to do. The opportunity cost of this is often a result that is less than appealing and attractive than what we could’ve achieved had we dedicated our efforts to evaluating our choices and next course of action!

What do you think?

Are you preoccupied with what people might think of you when speaking or meeting new people?

Or are you really focused on getting to know other people and giving them value?

“I don’t know what the key to success is, but the key
to failure is trying to please everyone.”
– Bill Cosby

Conversation Starters


You’ve heard of fire starters. Now I’m going to introduce the concept of “conversation starters”, a tool which you can use to ignite a conversation!

Initiating a conversation is pretty much like starting a fire. You start it and you want it to burn. You don’t want it to die prematurely and endure the smoky, awkward silence. I would like to think of igniting a big fire as equivalent to starting many small ‘fires’ along the way to keep it going.

The following are some of the sure-fire (pun intended) tips on how to get a conversation going and how to keep it going:

1a. General inquiries about oneself

Questions of these genre include:
How are you?
How have you been?
What have you been doing lately?
You look ________…
You don’t look too _________…

1b. Take it one step further

ie: After saying “You don’t look very comfortable. Stayed up late working?

Human beings are programmed and socialized to be accurate and will seek to right the inaccurate assumption through clarification. And unless they’re genuinely not interested in talking to you, you would be able to strike up a conversation with anyone who starts to talk about why they look the way they do!

2a. Weather

It’s a hot day today isn’t it?
It’s raining cats and dogs outside today?
That’s a very bad storm isn’t it?

The keys to weather questions lie in griping. Of course you could talk about a beautiful day too, or about that rainbow you see outside. But nothing gets on people’s nerves more than something they’re really frustrated about… and there’s no gripe topic quite as universal as bad weather.

2b. Take it one step further

Goodness, I’m all soaked! And so are you! Bad weather isn’t it?
My, it’s so hot outside! What’s it, like 40 degrees celcius?
(And my favourite) My, it’s so hot outside! May I have a tissue/napkin? It’s horrbible weather don’t you think?


3a. Appearance Questions

Got a new haircut?
New dress?
New shirt?
New shoes?
New glasses? etc…

3b. Take it one step further

Nice Shirt! Where did you get it?
Nice pants… Where’d you get it?
Nice … ok… you get the trick

The key to Appearance Questions, is sincerity. Though it’s applied universally to all the earlier two questions types as well, sincerity is especially important in Appearance-type Questions.

You can’t win if you lie, because there may well be 10 other people who might comment that the particular dress stinks. And if you flout the rule of sincerity one time too often, news of your ingenuity is going to spread and nobody will ever take you seriously again. An insincere appraisal of someone is a big insult, and insults hurt. Hurt enough, and you’ll become unpopular. it’s as simple as that.

Never underestimate the power of Sincerity!

For tips on how to keep the conversation going, you may refer to my earlier post on It’s All About You!

Making new friends is fun! Isn’t it time to for you to add more fun to life?