This time of year many of us have busy calendars packed with parties, parties, parties. It’s an excellent time to let people know about what you do and how you can help them.
Or is it?
A better approach, instead of launching into an elevator pitch, is to simply sit back and listen to them. Ask them questions. Let them talk.
In other words, practice active listening. This establishes a clear connection between you and whoever you are conversing with. Active listening shows a mutual understanding between both parties in the conversation. The goal is to show that you care and are interested in whatever is being said to you, so start by doing small things such as nodding and repeating some things back to show you understand what was said. And always ask questions!
Not sure where to start? Here are a few questions to help you get the conversation going:
- “How do you spend your time?” is one of my favorites. They have an opportunity to answer it however they see fit: work, family, charity involvement, sports, etc.
- “Where did you go to school?” is another great question. It allows you to learn about their background and gives them a chance to tell their story.
- “How long have you lived in this area?” allows them to speak about their connection to the community.
- “What’s your favorite holiday tradition?” gives them a chance to tell you a personal story you’ll remember.
The idea is: talk less about you, and learn more about them. You’ll be surprised at how easily the conversation flows.
What are some of your best tips to maneuver holiday parties?