Talking to Strangers
For many people, the idea of approaching a complete stranger – in the street, at an event, even in social circles – is pretty terrifying. After all, we’re told almost as soon as we can speak not to talk to strangers.
For exhibition staff, however, talking to strangers is part of the job description – so here are some tips on how to get over this very common social phobia and start conversations.
Check Body Language
There are two sides to this coin. First, check the body language of the person you’re trying to approach – are they looking hurried, rushed, hassled? Maybe not a good bet. Relaxed, open and friendly – you probably have a better chance. Second, check your own body language. You need to smile and be confident, make eye contact – but don’t be too overbearing and don’t get in their face.
Look For Icebreakers
When you approach a stranger, you need to find something to say which will get their attention, open up a conversation, and hopefully get them to warm to you. Compliments are a frequent tool for breaking ice – “I love your hat, where did you get it?” as are comments about the weather or current events. Staff at events and exhibitions can often use the products and services as an icebreaker to find out exactly what the attendee is looking for. Sometimes, your conversation target might have something that indicates a particular interest of theirs – a slogan on a T-shirt, perhaps - and if you happen to know anything about it you can key into that to start a conversation. For example, anybody in a Skyrim t-shirt is likely to stop if you shout “Fus Ro Dah!”
Ask Open Questions
Once you get somebody to stop and talk to you, you need to keep the conversation flowing. Ask open questions – ones that can’t simply be answered “Yes” or “No” to get them to speak to you. Conversation is, after all, a two-way street. This allows you to find out more about them, so that you can tailor your conversation and your pitch to them.
The fact is, not everybody wants to have a conversation. You can’t tell what they’re thinking or feeling, and there may be a million reasons why they don’t want to stop and talk to you. Don’t take it personally; brush it off and move on.
At Breeze People, we have a select portfolio of experienced and talented exhibition staff who have the skills and confidence for any campaign. Whatever your brief, we’d love to hear from you – just give us a call on 02380 015 000.