You’ll never run out of conversation openers if you remember this one word. Writing on the Personal Branding Blog, Maria Elena Duron gives a great tip that will help you to avoid awkward gaps of silence in important networking situations:
You need to be better in real life than you are in social media – not the other way around. [tweet this]
Hopefully, these tips and this little formula will help:
First, remember whoever is the one asking the question is the person controlling the conversation.
Then, spend more time listening to people than talking at them. From their responses, this will help shape the context of the conversation.
Ask about their:
F = Friends and Family
A = Aspirations and Accomplishments (what are they hoping to do; what have they done lately)
B = Business
U = Understandings (what have they learned lately)
L = Loves (interests, hobbies, passions)
O = Organizations (non-profits or industry associations they’re involved with)
U = Undertakings (latest activities)
S = Sports
If you can do this when you’re in a conversation that’s seeking a topic, then you’ll see that people will find you to be – a great person to speak with.
Make it all about them. Put structure in your conversation without sounding like you’re interrogating them and you are one step above everyone else in making friends and influencing people.
Read the whole article.
And if you’re really bold, substitute Spirituality for Sports. One way to do this is to mention the latest spiritual book you’ve read — or your favorite — and ask if they’ve heard of the author. Not everyone is comfortable going there with a stranger, so use your best judgment.