Last week I posted a blog with some conversation ideas – how to start, continue, and finish a conversation with someone new, especially someone in a different stage of life as you. There were a lot of ideas for questions to keep the conversation going. But, what about when you’re on the receiving end of the questions? What is the best way to share enough about yourself to keep the conversation going, but not share or talk more than you’re comfortable doing?
One of the best ways to share information, in any setting, is to tell a story. Stories are what the mind remembers, far above straight, 1-line facts. Just think about all the stories you remember from childhood, the stories you hear in church, or the stories your family tells and how everyone comes alive to participate. Stories are how we relate to each other. Stories are conversation starters. So… are you ready to tell your life story to a stranger? Okay, probably not. But that’s not exactly what I’m suggesting.
When someone asks you a question about yourself, you have a few options for how to respond. A straight-forward fact is often the first thing that comes to mind. But what if you shared just a little bit more? Maybe give a small story behind the detail you’re sharing? Let’s take a look at what that might look like…
Those small stories give the other person something to relate to, or respond to. Maybe they had a similar experience, or a completely opposite experience. Regardless, the small story will spark a conversation by inspiring the other person to share a story too, or at the very least, ask you more questions about your story.
This can bring a whole new energy to your conversations. Give it a try the next time you meet a new person and see how it goes. Feel free to report it back here too!