How To Build Rapport With Meaningful Conversations:
Updated: Feb 17
When we meet people, there is a silent exchange of energy that takes place - Our body language, the way we walk, dress and carry ourselves will always speak louder than words! Practice Makes Us More Confident: Before going to important social events - Most good conversationalists practice a quick prep routine to help them boost their self-confidence.
Please note, the preparation needed is super easy to follow and can even be implemented in the car, on your way to the meeting/event.
10 Easy Steps to Boost Your Confidence Before a Meeting:
1, Set an intention before any meeting - Think of the reason, why are you going to this meeting? Is it for Enjoyment? To find new clients? To develop a deeper connection?
Focusing on your intention - gives you a deeper purpose while speaking to someone. This sense of purpose is then felt in your aura and you will be seen as someone who seems more confident and self-assured.
Note: Whatever your intention may be - Meaningful conversations is the best way to achieve your goal. Whether it’s work or play - people prefer interacting with people who are good at building rapport. 2, Compartmentalize any unproductive or stressful thoughts that aren’t related to your current meeting. Compartmentalize it - By making brief notes about whatever is bothering you on your phone. So that your brain knows that it can stop thinking about it for now. Writing it down on your phone is akin to a do list - which tells the brain to stop worrying for now - as it can refocus on finding solutions whenever you’re done with your meeting. 3, Center yourself with deep breaths. Long, slow, deep breath maximizes the amount of oxygen that flows to the lungs and brain. Deep breaths stop any feeling of anxiousness AKA ‘The fight or flight’ response by calming the mind and relaxing the muscles of the body.
4, Boost your mood with uplifting music or repeat affirmations like; “People like me - I am a warm, confident and engaging conversationalist.” 5, Give yourself a pep talk: Using your first name or the pronoun "you" instead of "I" can make it easier to deal with stressful experiences. In the minutes leading up to your event/ meeting give yourself a pep talk, “Karan you have a magnetic personality! You are confident and wise! You always say the right thing at the right time."
6. Get your blood flowing: Do some light stretches or walk for few minutes to send more oxygen to the brain and reduce tension.
7. Strike a power pose. Make a quick stop in the restroom to strike a victorious power pose - Hold your arms and legs in a way that says; “I am a winner - I turn every situation into an opportunity to grow.". This will help you feel more confident and powerful - And it will help you perceive any challenging situations as opportunities to grow.
8, Re-interpret your nervousness as excitement. Both nervousness and anxiety are states of high arousal. This Harvard research suggests that re-interpreting anxiety as excitement will help you look forward to whatever was previously making you feel nervous. 9, Close your eyes and visualize your favourite person smiling at you and smile back warmly - Then enter the event /meeting with this warm smile.
10, Authentic people are more approachable: People prefer approaching people who are comfortable in their own skin and have a warm smile and a warm handshake that isn’t too firm or too light.
So whatever your intention may be, remember that you are here to build lasting, authentic connections. No one likes to be used - authentic connections are based on trust and friendship.
Okay, so now that we have set our intention, body language and smile - What do we actually say to create more meaningful connections?
Communication is a key aspect in making any relationship more authentic and meaningful.
But to have more meaningful conversations - we need to first figure out how to start a conversation as smoothly as possible.
5 Smooth Conversation Starters:
1, Simply introduce yourself and ask them how they know the host of the event. 2, Genuinely compliment them on their attire: When you aren’t sure which adjective to use You can always use the word interesting or unique. E.g: That’s an interesting tie - where did you get it from?
3, Speak about something that you both can see in your immediate environment. E.g: How’s that drink/appetizer? What do you think about this artwork?
This can also be helpful at work - Noticing a photo frame on a colleague's desk or an interesting screen saver on their laptop - Is a great way to spark conversations about their personal life.
4, Talking about Food or Beverages is the easiest way to get people talking:
A, Can you recommend any unique cocktails/appetizers/desserts here?
B, The food looks so good… I’m not sure what to get! What looks good to you? C, Ooh this is yummy - Have you tried this?
D, I like exploring new restaurants and cafes - Which ones do you love going to?
E, I’m going to grab a drink, does anyone else want one? This can be a good way to open up further conversations with whoever chooses to join you for a drink.
5, Holiday or Seasonal Specific Conversation Starters: E.g 1: January: I can’t believe it’s already 2021. How did you celebrate New Year’s Eve?
E.g 2 : May: Ah it’s so hot I can wait to go up to the mountains - Where would you want to go this Summer?
Congratulations! You’ve initiated a conversation but there’s an art to keeping a conversation going.
Tip: Remember most people love talking about themselves.
10 Tips to Keep a Conversation Going:
1, Instead of asking what do you do work-wise ... Ask them; “How do you spend most of your time during the day?”
This one is a winner as it allows the other person to share something that they truly feel like talking about.
Also, this tactic can even make a stay at home mom or dad feel comfortable enough to share their individual stories without any fear of being judged. 2, What is your ultimate goal/dream in life? This one is a great way to find out what someone’s passionate about. 3, What do you like doing to relax and unwind at the end of a busy day? Or what's your favourite thing to do on the weekends? 4, If they ask you a question - Don’t reply with monosyllabic - yes/ no or single worded answers. That’s like the biggest conversation killer.
A, It takes 2 to keep a conversation flowing. So answer in a way that gives room for the conversation to continue. Ending with a question is always the best way to go. E.g 1: I love travelling to Europe - have you been? Nope……. X Conversation over! E.g 2: I love travelling to Europe - have you been? No, I haven’t been to Europe yet but I always wanted to visit. Which are your favourite travel destinations so far?
B, When asked a question - Asking how about you? Is a great way to continue the conversation, based on the same question that was asked to you. E.g: Do you like watching Horror movies? No way - I get nightmares - That’s why I don’t watch them anymore. How about you? 5, Don’t try to compete when you’re having a conversation:
If someone talks about lifting heavy weights - Don’t try to show off your skills by saying - Oh that’s nothing I can lift blah blah blah. Instead say: Oh good going…I love lifting weights too and then ask them for their favourite workout tips. This tactic wins more friends versus being a show-off. People like it when they get an opportunity to share advice - it makes them feel more accomplished. 6, Be a Good Listener: Instead of worrying about what to say next - TRY TO REALLY LISTEN TO WHAT THE OTHER PERSON HAS TO SAY.
If you pay attention, you will always find an interesting tidbit in their words - that can be used to launch a new question to keep the conversation flowing. NOTE: Don’t get too excited about your next thought. People can tell when you aren’t truly listening - especially if you’ve already started talking even before they can finish their sentence! 7, If the person you are talking to - Is a better listener than a talker -Then test out a different range of topics based on whatever you can guess from their appearance:
A, If they seem fit and toned - Ask them about their workout routines or share any interesting diet plans you have read about.
B, If they seem artistic/ creative types - Discuss your favourite films/books/ music.
C, Or just captivate them with Funny/ Interesting Stories about your life or your day: Keep a list of your favourite stories that you can share in moments like these or remember the fun highlights of your day. E.g: There was crazy traffic on my way to this event - you will never believe what caused the traffic jam - An Elephant!
8, Find Ways To Stay in Touch - If you feel a mutual connection with someone, get their contact information with these tips
A, “I really enjoyed our conversation today, it would be nice to stay in touch - Do you want to exchange numbers?”
B, What’s your email address - I will send you the link to that hotel/ restaurant/ travel agent/website that I was talking about.
C, Give me your number. This way I can keep you updated on the next food tasting event /live performance/workshop/event (related to whatever fun topic you both discussed)
9, Who is your biggest role model? This one always gets people talking more about who motivated their life.
10, What is your favourite childhood memory? This gives you a glimpse of what they were like as kids.
So now that we have learned how to have meaningful conversations.
It’s important to learn how to manoeuver your way out of tricky situations at social gatherings...
6 Ways To Manoeuvre Your Way Out Of Tricky Situations At Social Gatherings:
1, Try to stay away from taboo topics like religion/ politics that might make people angry or uncomfortable.
If someone asks you a taboo question:
A, Excuse yourself politely (Restroom / Important phone call, etc)
B, Switch Topics: Oh! Before I forget I wanted to ask you about...
C, Distract them with a compliment: By the way.. I absolutely love your earrings - where did you get them from?
D, Invite someone else into your conversation so the conversation switches, or ask that person to introduce you to someone.
2, Include other people: Have you ever been in a group situation, where 2-3 people just keep talking and the others seem bored or neglected.
It’s always nicer to include other people in a group situation with whatever topic is being discussed. You never know these people might end up being loyal friends. 3, If someone is being cold and arrogant, don’t let them ruffle your feathers. Excuse yourself, and if needed, re-center yourself in the restroom with - “The 10 step guide on how to boost your confidence;” listed at the beginning of this post. Once you finish the warm smile exercise listed in Step 10 - Go back to the event with a warm smile. Your warm vibe will always attract the right tribe.
4, Accept people as they are without judgement, criticism, or trying to prove how superior you are to them. People will always appreciate you more for not trying to advise them without permission.
5, If someone is in a bad mood and you notice they don't want to talk about their present problem - Try talking about lighter topics that may bring a smile to their face. (Music, movies, travel destinations) E.g: Whenever my friend is in a bad mood - I just have to talk about her dog to bring a big smile on her face.
6, If you are in a work-related event - Be attentive and proactive. Before you reach the event - Ask your boss or your seniors if you can help in any way. This will definitely gain you brownie points.
I hope these pointers helped you feel more confident about initiating conversations at your next social gathering.
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