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I'd be willing to bet that you have at least one holiday gathering this year at which you won't know very many people. I do. In fact, it's coming up very soon. For many of us, me included, walking into a room full of people that you don't know well or at all can be very intimidating. So today, I'm sharing some ideas for starting and maintaining conversations. I will be putting these ideas into good practice at my upcoming holiday party, but they work well in any social situation. If conversing comes naturally to you, maybe these suggestions can take your skills to an even higher level.
First, take a few minutes to watch 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation, A TED Talk by Celeste Headlee. Celeste, a professional interviewer, says that a “conversation requires a balance between talking and listening”. Such a great reminder! Sometimes I worry so much about what I'm going to say that I forget to listen to the person I am talking to. Celeste shares ten things she has learned over the years that will help you have amazing and memorable conversations. Her suggestions are simple but effective.
Second, below are a few specific conversation starters. This isn't rocket science. These are just a few questions or topics that are generally a safe bet.
- Have you seen any movies lately?
- Binge watch any amazing TV shows?
- What are you reading?
- Did you take any trips this year? Where did you go?
- Do you have any fun trips planned for next year?
- What do you do for a living? How did you get started in that?
- Do you have any passion projects? What are they?
- What do you like to in your free time?
- What are your holiday plans?
- Do you have any favorite holiday traditions?
- What's your craziest holiday memory?
- Pay a sincere compliment.
- If you could have a conversation with anyone for an hour, who would it be?
We think it'd be a fun idea to print out a bunch of these questions on slips of paper and put them in a basket at your holiday gathering. Everyone could take turns randomly picking a question then listen as each guest has a turn to answer. No boring conversations there!
Want more conversation starters?
- Check out the website Conversation Starter World for tons more ideas.
- Or this article with 362 Holiday Party Topics.
- Try these 12 Days for Christmas Conversation Starters
Finally, let essential oils give you a little support. If you are hosting the gathering, diffuse a blend of oils that imparts a sense of community and belonging. Try this I Heart Oils custom blend.
Gathering Diffuser Blend
You can also try applying Motivate Encouraging Blend to your pulse points or to a piece of diffuser jewelry. This blend promotes courage and a positive attitude. It might just give you the confidence you need to be an amazing conversationalist. In addition, lavender & spearmint applied topically (diluted of course) over the throat can help you feel confident in sharing your voice.
What are some of your most effective conversations starters?