A lot of people would be great in social situations if they could just get things started. Instead of having great conversations, though, they sit back and wonder what would have happened if only they had done something. This brings me to my tip for today:
MINGLE TIP #78: MASTER THE THROWAWAY COMMENT
Making throwaway comments is one of my favorite things to do. It can be done with strangers or with people you have known for your whole life.
A throwaway comment is just a comment made to break the conversation barrier (what I call "glass breaking"). Here is the way I see it--imagine that every person you come in contact with has a case of glass surrounding them. They can't see you or hear you until it is broken. All it takes to break this glass and get a conversation started is to make a comment, any comment.
Here are some thoughts:
(1) A throwaway comment does not have to be fancy. People often make the mistake of thinking that they need some fancy pickup line or impressive comment to start a conversation with a stranger. Not true. A simple "how are you" can be more than enough to get things started.
(2) A throwaway comment does not have to win the person over. Like I said, a throwaway comment has one purpose only--to break the communication barrier. A compliment is not necessary unless you are truly inspired to give one.
(3) One throwaway comment can be enough to get a vibe. A lot of times the reaction to your opening comment can say a lot about people you are talking to. They may give you an icy response, or they may open up and talk to you for the rest of the night. If they turn out to be icy, no problem. Just gracefully move on.
(4) Throwaway comments should have no agenda. Whenever you decide to approach someone, you should never have an agenda to try to win them over and/or get a date with them. Your only goal should be to see how they react and to see if they might be interesting. Dig a little deeper before deciding to try for a date.
(5) Throwaway comments can be used just about anywhere. You don't have to wait until you are at a bar or formal event to practice your social skills. You can use throwaway comments just about anywhere you find yourself (and to both sexes). A random comment to a stranger is not automatically hitting on someone. It's just talking.
(6) Throwaway comments are a great way to practice your social skills. If you feel like your mingling skills are getting rusty, get out to a social event and have a goal of making comments to as many people as possible. Just remember to not get caught up into being results oriented. If everyone that you talk to is cranky and uptight, that is no reflection on you. It's a reflection on them. Consider it information gained.
UPDATE: The more I study social skills, the more I realize how important it is to be able to make casual, normal sounding throwaway comments. Whether your goal is to get a date, network, or just make new friends, the ability to make observational comments is critical. If you want to get better at this important skill, practice in no pressure situations so you are ready to go when it counts.
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