So often when we’re not sure what to say, maybe in a situation when we have to talk with people we don’t know well, we try to turn the conversation to topics we’re familiar with. Sports, movies, our last vacation…these give us a place to start from.
The trouble here, though, is that it’s hard to know whether the topic we’ve prepared holds any interest for the person we’re talking to. I suggest that, instead, you ask questions.
What brought you here?
What have you enjoyed so far about this conference/event/meeting? What has surprised you?
I was recently in X for a week; have you done any traveling you have just loved? Where should I go next?
When in doubt, remember: most people like talking about themselves. Ask a few questions instead of launching into a monologue, and you’ll be all set.