there are obviously some people you just will not be able to talk
to because they are absolute bores or they are angry or upset or
something, but I have found that that is only about 1% of the
people, if even that. For the most part, if you persist in asking
questions, you will be able to talk to anybody, anytime.
There are three segments to this process:
Go in those directions.
What you are trying to do is to find common ground. What makes
people afraid to talk to others is that they are afraid they
won’t have anything in common. I have found that usually, if you
ask questions for a minute or two, you can always find a
connection with someone, and then you’re set. The worst that
could happen is that you ask the person questions for a few
minutes and find nothing. But what will that person tell others?
That you seem to have a genuine interest in others. That is a
great reputation to have!
That is another key here. You can’t be a selfish, arrogant
person and be successful. I am talking true well-rounded success,
not just collecting a pot full of money.
The best way to describe this process is to write out a mock
conversation. You will notice the kinds of questions I would ask,
when I find a connection, and how I would go in that direction.
“Hi, I’m Chris Widener. What is your name?”
“Well, Joe, what do you do for a living?”
“I sell insurance.” (Possible connection here. Everybody has
“Oh yeah? What kind of insurance?”
“I insure Oil rigs in the Adriatic Sea.” (Whoops. Lost
“Wow. That’s must be fascinating. Married or kids, Joe?” (I
have a wife and kids, maybe we can show pictures)
“No, actually, I’m single.” (It isn’t looking good yet)
“So, who do you know here at the party?”
“Well, nobody. I am the brother of the host’s accountant.
I’m in town for a week and my brother had to make an
appearance.” (It is going in the wrong direction here)
“So where are you from?”
“Nebraska.” (Bingo, there it is. The connection! Now let’s
go in that direction)
“Really? My dad was from Nebraska. Even though he died when I
was four, my grandmother used to take me back to visit my
relatives every summer growing up. It sure was a lot of fun. Were
you city folk, or did you live on a farm?”
“I grew up on a pig farm.”
“That’s what my relatives did! As a kid I always wanted to
ride one of those sows. Luckily my uncles never let me attempt
There you are. Now just start asking questions about what they
did growing up, how they liked it etc.
If you get adept enough at asking questions of others, you will
inevitably find a connection to talk about. And having something
in common with someone is the start to a long and mutually
beneficial relationship - one of the foundations of success!
I am in a career where I meet new people all the time and this
is exactly what I do. I am no better conversationalist than most
of you. It is just a proven way of getting a relationship off the
ground with someone you have just met.
Here it is again:
Ask questions, find connections, go in those directions.
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Learn more about Chris at chriswidener.com!