Walking up to a total stranger and striking up a conversation can be terrifying - whether you are networking or at a singles mixer.
Conversation, in the dating world, is the fine art of knowing when to initiate conversation, how to keep it going and upping the ante to asking for a first/second date.
Are you a smooth talker? Do you stumble and stammer? Are you the type that clams up and says nothing? At all? No matter how badly you botch your first attempt with that special someone, you will do 100% better than those who do nothing at all.
In any case, here are a few tips to help you break the ice on your next date or cocktail party:
1) Confidence is King
Be yourself, be friendly and smile. The confidence and warmth you exude when you approach someone will determine how successful you are with your introduction. Enthusiaism is contagious. Be open. Be excited. They will return the feeling.
2) Show Interest
Your goal is to generate good conversation, relate to the other person and get them interested. Find questions that would engage your interest and go from there. There's no perfect opener, so trust your instincts and come up with something uniquely you. TIP: Stay away from the one liners. They're awkward for everyone.
3) Pull a Topic Out of Your Hat
It always helps to have a couple of topics in mind should you find yourself in one of those awkward silences. Keep up with current events or seek material in your daily RSS feeds. Talk about something you are passionate about or an upcoming business trip/vacation. Think of it as adding spice to a simmering delight.
4) Practice Listening
Being a good listener is a potent aphrodisiac. Ask questions that require more than a "yes" or "no" response and truely listen to their answers. For bonus points, ask a follow-up question based upon their answer. While you may not know much about gardening, don't be afraid to ask questions and seek to understand their world better.
5) Keep It Positive
When you talk about yourself, keep it positive. Stick to your best attributes and the interests you are most passionate about. Like I said above, enthusiasm is contagious. Bring something positive, exciting to the mix and you will get something back of equal value.
6) Time of Your Life
Lastly, focus on having fun and don't forget to smile. Who knows, you might have the time of your life!