Six Ways to Make Conversation in Your Living Room

Written by on September 18, 2012 in Lifestyle - No comments | Print this page

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Isn’t it awkward when no one can think of anything to say?  Maybe you’ve invited your friends or family members over for a dinner.  However, there seems to be a lull in the conversation.  Don’t panic!  It’s not time to pick a fight ala Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.  Maybe all you need is five great ideas on how to start conversation with strangers or might-as-well-be-strangers.  Here we go…with six ways to start the spark.  We cover everything from cool coasters to the dreaded “crack a joke” idea.  Let’s go…

1.    Ask your guests how what they’ve been doing and actually listen.

If you’re worrying too much about what to talk about, then chances are you’re not listening as well as you could.  People love talking about themselves.  Even the most emotionally distant people have preferred topics they just love to rant on and on about.  So, draw your guests out by asking them how they’ve been doing, what they’ve been doing and how they feel about all that they’ve done.  Rest assured, they will discuss all of their stuff in detail.  You might not even get a chance to speak before the night is over!

2.    Play a board game.

Forget the TV and forget video games—unless of course, you’re holding a Street Fighter tournament and are inviting all of your childhood friends.  Grownups don’t come over to hang out…we come over to socialize.  Any object or distraction that demands full attention is robbing your evening of good conversation.  Instead, do something fun—like a board game, which encourages conversation from all players.


3.    Order Photo Tile Coasters

Guess what?  No one actually talks about napkins or paper towels.  Yet, a surprising number of households still use them, totally neglecting a great opportunity to start conversations with photo tile coasters.  Yes, you can upload a digital picture and create a custom tile coaster from it, whether you want to use a painting, a family photo, a joke or a humorous image.  Of course, you could use any object instead of a coaster, from a t-shirt to even a couch pillow with the likeness of a friend or family member.  It all makes for great exchanges.

4.    Crack a joke and relieve the tension.

If you sense tension in the room then the best reaction is an absurd reaction.  Crack a joke and break the ice with a group laugh.  Think “safe” comedy as opposed to your controversial one liners.  Lightening things up with a laugh is a great way to get positive emotions and adrenaline going for the night.

5.    Prepare topics and research them.

If you really want to make a good impression, research the person or persons you are inviting and choose a topic or topics that might appeal to them.  Read up on the subject so that you will have views, questions and comments to share.  Don’t treat the evening like an interrogation; ask questions occasionally and encourage your visitors to show their expertise.

6.     Ask Open-Ended Questions

The best way to ensure a long and awkward evening is to ask a series of yes or no questions, as if you were inviting guests to a job interview.  Instead, encourage conversation by welcoming answers and ideas.  Open-ended questions work much better than just asking yes or no questions.  Yes or no questions tend to be agenda-oriented, so you definitely don’t want to talk just to hear yourself talk.

Whether it’s board games, vacation stories or even a delightful photo of your wedding on personalized coasters, there are always ways to get your guests excited about the evening ahead.  Warning: trying one of these six approaches may actually cause your guests to want to stay all night.  So don’t be too interesting!

This is a guest post.  Hugh Parker is the owner of ZaZaGallery.com, a place where you can create photo tile coasters and other personalized gifts.

Image by photostock: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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