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Small Chat @ parties

I have 5 holiday parties in the next 3 weeks. I hardly know anyone attending any of these, I work independently, many don't know my role in the company, I'm younger than most of my colleagues but, in a higher position, I feel like the only interaction I've had at work is people stating the obvious and judging my age. For the most part I'll just smile and say hello in the hallways. Any good topics for awkward parties?
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Re: Small Chat @ parties

  • story of my life. i'm such an introverted person and everyone at my office is at least 10-20 years older than me.

     

    the only thing i can think of is to work on befriending at least 2 other people during the time before the party.  then try to strike up a conversation (or be around them) at the party.  Hopefully that will let you have 'group' type conversations if theres 3-4 of you standing in a small cluster...and there is potential that someone would mention something that you can comment on to join in/ be social. 

    standing around the food or TV or other conversation item might help...so you can talk about it (i did this when there was a football game on tv last year. i can talk sports, so that helped out a LOT).

    ask questions. if people don't know what YOU do.....do you know what THEY do?  ask questions and get to know someone.

    have an escape plan (a white lie to get you OUT of that party).  You have to pick up a friend at the airport...... cook dinner for guests.....take your grandma to the grocery store.... whatever!  Be sure to thank the host of the party.

  • Try to get people to talk about themselves.  A good lead in is by commenting on something at the party, like the food.  "Wow that looks amazing.  I can cook an awesome macaroni and cheese, but I could never cook something like that.  Do you cook?" And then keep asking questions that follow up on their responses.  Like, food talk can lead to conversations about favorite restaurants or traveling.  Or for you, you might not know what other people in the company do, so you can ask them what lead to them taking that job - their school, prior jobs, etc.  

     Look for someone or a couple who also seems like they don't know many people and latch onto them.  There will be people there just as anxious as you to be engaged in conversation.   When you make other people feel comfortable, they will like you.  

  • You mentioned you were higher up than many, but that also means you have a work connection. Ask them what they do, how long they have been there, where they are from etc.... My theory is the friendlier I appear, the more people want to talk to me. I also don't want to seem snobby to those that are below me on the work chain, and realize that if I am quiet it may come across that way. Good luck, have fun, and don't rest too much pressure on yourself!
  • I usually ask people about their favorite trip/destination or ask if they are travelling anywhere in the near future. I have found we have some destinations in common and you talk about what each of you did in that country or locale.

    Another is what are you doing for the holidays which may lead to travel or discussion about family.

    Another I used when I lived in Florida is ask if they liked any water sports. Found out one of our big bosses was a windsurfer. Not what I expected.

    You could also ask about hobbies if you have some yourself to also talk about if they say no but do you?

    When I go to local sorority meetings I ask how long they have lived in the area since I just moved here 6 years ago.

    That is all I can think of for now.

  • You're in luck, most people dislike the small chat required at these sorts of gatherings.

     I used to work in sales and I discovered on my own and through training that the best way to have lengthy conversations with people is to ask open-ended questions.

    These are questions requiring more than a "yes," "no," or other one-word response.

    "Tell me about your hobbies...work...kids...spouse...interests...car...last vacation..."

    Or, "What did/do you like or dislike most about....."

    People like people who smile, are sincere, and are interested in them.

    When people give you responses seek commonalities between yourself and relate back to them a story of your own or an ancedote or something you've read. Avoid religion and politics...also office politics.

    Oh, wear clothing that is at the appropriate level of dressiness but be comfortable in your clothing so you aren't self-conscious.

  • People love to talk about their kids. My mom told me this when I started medical school and it is so true. Many times I had a better relationship with the nursing staff (well before I had children) just because of asking about their children. It can be a launching point for so many topics that you can get to know somebody a little better quickly.
  • image Adjudi-Kate:

    Try to get people to talk about themselves.  A good lead in is by commenting on something at the party, like the food.  "Wow that looks amazing.  I can cook an awesome macaroni and cheese, but I could never cook something like that.  Do you cook?" And then keep asking questions that follow up on their responses.  Like, food talk can lead to conversations about favorite restaurants or traveling.  Or for you, you might not know what other people in the company do, so you can ask them what lead to them taking that job - their school, prior jobs, etc.  

     Look for someone or a couple who also seems like they don't know many people and latch onto them.  There will be people there just as anxious as you to be engaged in conversation.   When you make other people feel comfortable, they will like you.  

     

    This.  People love talking about themselves (whether they realize it or not)  Whenever I feel introverted, I just get people to talk about themselves.  Though it is also important to, at the very least, appear interested in what people are saying.  (I know this seems bad, but there are times I have to force myself to be interested lol)

    PitaPata Cat tickers Anniversary
  • Great recommendations guys!

    We just have 2 parties left and we've met some interesting people so far!

    image
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