WORK-LIFE BALANCE / APR. 11, 2015
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Awesome vs. Boring Ways to Start a Conversation

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I know, I know, you have some really serious issues making eye contact, talking or even being in close proximity to other human beings. You could always go to the local prison and speak to inmates, there’s bullet-proof glass separating you and you don’t even have to look them in the eye because you can converse through the phone. But, let me minimize your risk of being shivved in the back by using some useful conversational cues so that you don’t have to visit the prison at all.

See Also: How to Navigate Difficult Conversations at Work

Forewarning: Be Appropriate

Although pulling down your pants and exposing your new boxers with your trousers around your ankles will make an impression, it probably won’t make the best of impressions. Try to stay within the restraints of civilized society. Here’s a sum up. Bodily functions are not OK. Nudity is not OK. And hitting beating or in any way injuring the person you are talking with because you don’t agree with them is wrong.

Hi my name is ‘Insert Name’

Tried true and booOOOooring, this is how everyone introduces themselves. Sure it’s an easy method to break the ice but it will also get you forgotten promptly.

Hi, my name is what, my name is who? My name is wiky-wik-‘Insert Name-y’

Step number one: meet and befriend Slim Shady era Eminem look-alikes (cigarettes, McDonalds and malt liquor should do the trick). Keep them well stocked with the aforementioned items and they should loyally follow you around embracing you as one of their own. When the opportunity arises to start a conversation, use a call and answer hip-hop format.

You: Hi, my name is

Lookalikes: what?

You: My name is

Lookalikes: Who?

You: My name is

Lookalikes: wiky-wik ‘Insert Name-y’

What do you do for a living?

Ok, to get the ball rolling on a quaint conversation this is a real gem. But, when the question is directed at you, do you really think that ‘Accountant’ is going to show all your skills and attributes? No, it’s not because accounting is numbers and numbers are inherently boring.

I challenge you to a Gauntlet of skills I am most proficient at

Set up a crepe making station, a model making table and a beanbag juggling arena. These are things that you excel at and if you beat them they will remember that. Just remember to reiterate upon completion with: “O for three! I beat you in crepe making, model making and beanbag juggling! Suck it loser.”

The weather is nice today!

Really? You’re borrowing conversational points from your 70 year old Grandma? No this in not how you do it.

I will change the weather, can you?

Now this is a show stopper and although it involves a bit of techno-trickery you can be convincing if you’re confident about it. Here’s how you do it: Download a thermometer app on your phone and make sure to keep the phone in your pocket. When you make your statement, pull the phone out and act like your concentrating very intently on changing the temperature (which it will eventually because it’s really hot in your pocket). After a few minutes open your eyes and proclaim: “Ha! I lowered the temperature by two whole degrees!” You can thank my 5-year-old nephew for that one, since it was his idea.

See Also: Top 5 Phrases to Initiate Meaningful Small Talk

Now you’re a master conversationalist, go forth into the world and sow your word seeds! If you have any other suggestions, feel free to let us know in the comment section below.

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