Be The Life and Soul of The Party
Don't you envy that woman standing in the middle of the big group at parties, happily taking part in conversations all around her - the one people look to when it's time to decide what to do or where to go? Of course you do - everyone wants to be in the thick of the fun and action. Here's how to get off the sidelines and learn how to command people's attention and respect when you're in a gathering.
Make The First Move…It's intimidating, but if you go up to people and introduce yourself rather than waiting for them to come over, they're more likely to remember who you are. Bear in mind that most people will be just as wary about initiating conversation, and many shy types will be grateful you've taken the burden off them.
…But Don't Monopolise ThingsThere's nothing worse than getting stuck talking to somebody who, no matter what the subject, manages to steer the conversation back round to themselves. Always reciprocate another person's interest - if they've asked what you do, make a point of questioning them about their job, hobbies or family, and take your cue from their answers.
So instead of waxing lyrical about your Italian experiences when they mention a trip they took to Rome, ask what they enjoyed seeing the most, or whether they made any surprising discoveries, before adding your own thoughts. Not only will people then remember you as a good conversationalist, you'll end up having a far more interesting discussion because you'll be learning things you didn't already know.
Get People's Attention…In a larger group of people, the secret of getting noticed is timing. Wait for a lull in the discussion to introduce your own insights. Apart from ensuring people will automatically tune in to what you're saying, this gives you time to weigh up the pros and cons of the topic and come up with something interesting to say, rather than just slipping in the occasional 'absolutely' or 'well, perhaps, but…'
…Without Showing OffCompeting with people in any area of life usually only makes them more determined to beat you - and conversation's no exception. Don't shout over others' remarks or issue loud, scathing put-downs rubbishing their ideas. It's flagrant bad manners to show such a lack of respect for what other people have to say, and will garner you the wrong kind of attention.
Make Killer Suggestions…Nobody wants to seem pushy when everyone's umming and ahing over a place to spend the evening, or sitting in the pub wondering where to go next - but a decisive voice is often the only way out of an impasse. Wait for your conversational lull, then 'pitch' your idea to the group with plenty of enthusiasm.
Saying 'We could try…' then naming the place isn't always enough to convince, but if you say 'there's this great little bar round the corner, it's got an amazing cocktail list/great music/a cabinet on the wall full of vintage Barbie dolls', then people's curiosity will be sparked and you'll have given them a talking point when you arrive at your chosen location.