10 Conversation Tips For Your Next Corporate Event
No matter how much of a social butterfly you are, the workplace combines a number of different personalities who are brought together for one thing… Work. The last thing you want is awkward social tension between you and your coworkers. To lend a helping hand, Eventup has picked out some great conversation starters for you and your colleagues.
1. Your Free Time:
One of the best ways to engage your colleagues is to strike up a conversation about what they do with their spare time. Ask about their plans for the upcoming weekend or what they did the night before. As excited as people get about their job, everyone loves their free time and time off. It’s a great way to find out more about your coworkers and their interests. You might even discover a few mutual interests between the two of you.
For many people, a favorite subject of discussion is themselves. If you appear extremely interested in your colleagues, they’ll happily open up with you, avoiding any awkward pauses. To keep yourself entertained, chime in when you find that you have interests – or even differences – but keep it positive. After all, often times, opposites attract.
3. Current Events:
Although it can seem like a dry, boring subject to discuss, the news is a great way to start a discussion. There are always new arising issues being brought up in the news, so brush up on your current events. Just remember, money and politics should usually be avoided. They are controversial topics that often lead to disagreements and conflicts, the last thing you want amongst colleagues working together every day.
4. Don’t just stick to surface questions, dig a little deeper:
Yes, when getting to know people, the basic questions are a good start. But to really strike up a good conversation, ask clarifying, thought provoking and open-ended questions. Avoid yes or no questions to ensure your coworker will actually communicate with you and engage in conversation. They’ll be excited you’re curious to learn more about them!
5. Where are you?
Your surroundings can be a great place to start when talking to someone. Chances are, your corporate event will not be held in the office, but rather in a hotel ballroom, on a yacht out in the deep blue, or a Malibu Estate. Wherever you may be, you are all there together and can relate to that.
6. Avoid General Remarks:
As excited as you might be that the whole office actually dressed up for the Halloween party, try to avoid making general statements like “This is so great that everyone got into it!” Instead, try something like “This is so great that everyone got into it! What’s the best costume you’ve seen yet?” This combines a general remark with an open-ended question to help the conversation going instead of cutting it off.
7. Body Language:
Even though you may have been stuck with the office chit-chatterer, be aware of your body language. As long as the conversation has gone on, try your hardest to remain engaged by nodding, smiling, and keeping eye contact. That being said, the same goes for you. While you’re talking, make note of peoples’ expressions and body language. If you find people constantly checking their watch or cell phone, chances are you’ve gone on a little too long.
8. Breaking the Ice:
The toughest part of interacting with your coworkers is starting a good conversation. We’re not just talking the typical “Hey! How are you?” but rather the start of a good conversation. One good way to initially break the ice is to start with a compliment. If you like someone’s handbag, or shirt and tie combo, let them know. It’s a good way to find out more about common interests and spark a conversation that they, and maybe you, are also interested in.
9. Be prepared:
As easy as it is to converse with others, you may want to come into the event with a few things prepared that you find interesting or funny. Perhaps a funny story or recent experience you had and are willing to share. It’s a great way to loosen up the atmosphere and get everyone relaxed from the start. This way, conversations will go smoother from the start.
10. Take a Deep Breath and Relax:
The fact of the matter is that your company event is a chance to relax and get to know your coworkers. It’s not meant to cause stress or make you feel uncomfortable. Take a deep breath, and be yourself. As we already mentioned, your office is most likely going to be a mixture of people. There is no need to act like anyone other than yourself. Try to remember to have fun!