New Media Expo is finally here and if you're a podcaster, I'm sure you're just as excited as us to be apart of it. Like many expos, you'll be meeting a ton of cool people, maybe even people you admire, so how do you make the most of it and not come off as a social loser? Well...
How to Start a Conversation with a Stranger
Pages and pages can be written about how you can approach someone, so I'm going to make it some what brief. Approaching a stranger is always difficult, but here are some simple things you can do. Make eye contact and smile, if the person reciprocates, then say hi and introduce yourself. Be friendly. Do you have an elevator pitch? Good. Throw it away. No one likes to hear rehearsed jargon.
You take so much pressure off of yourself by simply asking the person questions and inquiring more about what they do. Be genuinely interested in them first. Ideally, after the person answers your question(s), they will ask you some in return and boom, you've just started a conversation with a stranger.
It's easier to approach single people than people in a group, so start with that first. If you're both in a workshop or doing the same activity together just turn to them and ask open-ended questions like: “So what do you think of this so far?”, “What were your thoughts about [guest speaker]'s presentation?”, “Have you learn anything interesting?” Saying things like, “Tell me more.” or “Can you explain a little bit more about how you did that?” can also keep the conversation going.
When Conversation Gets Quiet
We all hate it when we realize that the small talk is over and there's nothing left to say. The only thing we can do is sit there quietly trying to devise an exit strategy. Awkward, but it doesn't have to be this way. If the person is just giving you one-liners and not reciprocating at all with you and your questions, then it's time to cut your loses. You can say things like: “Excuse me, I need to get a glass of water.”, “It was nice to meet you and I'm sure we'll be bumping into each other the next few days.”, “I'm going to go check out so and so event. It was nice talking to you.” You don't have to be rude to leave a conversation.
Weird header there, I know, but bare with me. You're at the expo, it's magical; like the first coffee of the morning magical, and you look over and there's none other than your mini-celebrity crush who you've been dying to meet. This person is a huge deal and as much as you want to talk to them, you don't want to look like a total awkward social disaster in front of them.
How do you get over it? Well, everybody poops, everybody has been sick and hungover and naked in a bush at 3am. Everyone. Make your mini-celebrity a little more human, maybe even slightly dislikeable. This person's dog pees in your yard and kills all your beautiful flowers, their TV is always a little too loud, and when they leave their house, they leave all their lights on and still claim to be 'environmentally conscious'. The point here is to see these people in not perfect light and if they're not perfect, then there should be no reason why you can't talk to them.
As a side note, every mini-celebrity is always excited to have new people come up to them and wallow in their glory. If they didn't, they wouldn't be at an expo. So, keep in mind that they're here to meet people too and it's your job to just make it easier for them to do that.
Come Say Hi!
Podfly will be at the New Media Expo event in Las Vegas from Monday 13th to Thursday 16th. Stop by, introduce yourself, and take some selfies with us! We don't bite :].
Podfly is a production company specifically catered to podcasts. We offer editing, show notes, and posting to your iTunes/website services all for a great price. Feel free to contact us for more information or email me personally at Ayn@Podfly.net.
Until next time,