The Dreaded Cocktail Party

Mar 14, 2018
Ever been at an event that required you to engage with others -- like a cocktail party? Do you find it hard to start up conversations with others? How do you get conversations going?

I dread cocktail parties. Chit chat about nothing with total strangers or stranding by myself trying to look comfortable.

So here I was going to one of these events at the behest of my spouse. I was determined this time to have a conversation worth having instead of the norm.  My intent was to truly connect and have energizing conversations.  When I arrived at the party I took some time to look around the room to see what was of interest. I’d recently read Will Wise’s book, Ask Powerful Questions, so I scanned the room to see what drew my attention and made me curious. I saw a couple point at something and then break into laughter; I wondered what was so funny. A man with a crazy tied walked by me headed to the bar; I wondered what the story was behind the tie. A woman stood gazing out a window with a rather forlorn look; I wondered what was going on for her and if she was okay.  I decided to head to the bar.

As I stood waiting for my drink, I introduced myself and asked, “What’s the story behind your tie?” To my delight, my cocktail buddy began sharing a heartfelt story about carrying on his dad’s tradition, which had started almost 30 years earlier. So many questions were sparked by his story, “Is this one of your dad’s ties? How did your dad get started doing this? Where do you find them?”  We had a vibrant and delightful conversation and we not only formed a real connection, we discovered we had things in common, like our dread of cocktail parties!

As the evening continued, I engaged in several more conversations. They each turned out to be a conversation worth having. I heard some great stories and discovered these events could be a delight. It is simply a matter of curiosity and questions!

How do you get conversations going at events like cocktail parties? Share your ideas for conversations worth having in unlikely places.


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