The most common situation that causes problems for many is meeting new people and socializing at parties and social events. Surveys show that many people feel uncomfortable in a room full of strangers and are anxious about approaching others. How do you feel when you enter a party alone without a friend to guide you and introduce you to other guests? People are chatting happily like they were old buddies but often they have just met before; so do not think that you are the only outsider. So how do they manage to break the ice and get the conversation going?
The first step, the most difficult for people is to start the conversation. They are so much afraid to appear stupid. Why are we afraid to talk to each others? To solve the problem of starting a conversation, prepare yourself before coming to the event. Think about some interesting short stories (remember some stories you and a friend enjoyed discussing about), find the actual burning news (people are always pleased to give their opinion about what is hot now). Then let’s go to the party! There, start circulating among people like you are searching somebody you know, with a pleasant smile (this shows that you are friendly and open to communication, the opposite give off signals of skepticism and nonreceptivity), and with open arms (this makes others feel that you are receptive and listening, the opposite make you appear nervous, judgmental, or skeptical). Keep your eyes open for friends, acquaintances, or people already engaged in a conversation that appears open to others. Then casually stroll over and (using their names, if you remember) say, “Hi, how are you?” or “”Well, hello It’s been a while. How have you been?” or “Hello, my name is . . .” or “Hi, didn’t we meet at. . . ? My name is …” Introducing yourself is the easiest way to start the conversation with a complete stranger.
The second step is to get the conversation going. Here come your pre-prepared short stories or the actual burning news. Then again with your pleasant smile start communicating. Also, it is important to lean forward slightly while the person is talking to show that you are listening what he is saying. This will encourage him to continue talking. Be sure to smile back when the person smiles and be tolerant of your interlocutor beliefs if they differ from yours. Sometimes, make brief periods of eye contact but not too much because some will feel uncomfortable. You may be interrupted by other guests (friends of your interlocutor, or guests trying to make conversation like you). Again with a pleasant smile, introduce yourself with a handshake or a warm greeting and inform the newcomer that you were talking about something and you will be pleased if he could give his opinion. When you feel that the conversation is getting boring, you can also comment about the food, the music, the pictures on the walls, or anything or anyone in your immediate surroundings, as long as it is positive. It is also interesting to compliment others about what they are wearing, doing, or saying.