How Introverts Can Easily Start Conversation

Left out of Group discussion

How can an introvert be involved in group conversation?

One of the most difficult things for an introvert is to begin a conversation with a group of people they don’t know. In this article I will give you tips on how to do just that comfortably…without sweating or hyperventilating.

I’m an extrovert, I freely admit that.  My four daughters joke that I “could make friends in an elevator.”  I was going to object but in fact I have made friends in an elevator on more than one occasion.  What I mean is, learning about their family, their name, occupation and sometimes even exchanging contact info, in a 3 floor ride!  I enjoy it.  If you don’t, let me help.

My goal is NOT to make you like me. My wife is an introvert.  It’s part of her charm.  She won’t raise her hand for a free gift or make eye contact with strangers. After 24 years of marriage still whispers “Don’t embarrass me or draw attention to me.” as we enter parties or group settings.  I understand how introverts think and how anxious group situations can be and have some practical conversation guides you can easily use.

Let’s talk about how you can OWN a group conversation.

1. Don’t Use a Greeting Alone, 

Don’t say: Hi, Hello or some other greeting.

Don’t use a greeting alone because the person doesn’t really need to respond, and if they do choose to respond it will most likely be a one word answer.

“Hi”     —     “Hello”

“Good morning”     —     “Good morning”

Yawn…I can hear the boredom already.  Feel your palms starting to sweat as you slowly try to find a reason to walk away?

2. Don’t Ask Simple Questions

“How are you?”     —     “Good”

“Where are you from?”     —     “Dayton, Ohio”

“What do you do?”     —     “I’m a computer analyst”

Gosh!  This guy just doesn’t want to talk!  I’ve asked several questions and nothing. Simple questions, solicit simple answers. Simple answers leads to awkward conversations.

Remember: Complex Questions =
More Comfortable Conversations

3. The SECRET is… Ask For Stories, Not Facts

Instead of asking…

“Where are you from?”         ask…
“What’s the strangest thing about where you grew up?”

Instead of asking…

“What do you do for work?”         ask…
“How did you get into your line of work?”

They will tell you, “I’m an air traffic controller. I got into that because I was trained to do that in the Navy.”

Response: “Wow, tell me what you liked best about the Navy.”

Instead of asking…

“How was your weekend?”         ask…
“If you could go anywhere, where would you go and why?”

Stories develop better connections.

BONUS: Want to be a Black Belt in Conversation?

4. Give Unexpected Responses

If someone says, “How was your flight?” instead of responding, “Fine.” try this:

I would pay extra to fly on an airline where the seating was based on IQ!

or for the very brave…

“I read about a Continental flight in 2007 where the airplane bathroom reversed its pressure! There was a 3″ deep stream of waste water running down the aisle in coach!  So I guess compared to that, mine was pretty good.”

If someone says, “Isn’t it nice weather today?” instead of responding, “It sure is.” try this:

“This is the same weather it was during the moon landing, if that actually happened.”

Now you’ve provoked someone into taking a stance on the subject or running away screaming, but they’re not bored!

Try some of these techniques and come back to comment on how they worked please.

I look forward to hearing your stories.

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Off to NY City for Personal Growth

Today’s a busy day.  I have a couple meetings and then grab a train to NYC for my pastor’s coaching network with Nelson Searcy.  It’s kind of a Small Group for Sr. Pastors.  Twenty pastors from around the country meet monthly.  We study a different topic each month by reading a book and sharing our thoughts with the group in a report.  When we come together we then discuss the topic for a couple hours.  The second half of the day is spent discussing the pressure points in our churches and finding solutions.  It’s great personally and for our ministries.  Topics have included: evangelism, small groups, stewardship, staffing, raising up leaders, service planning, assimilation (moving people from guests to members) and personal growth so far.

Why I am writing about this here?  Because I want to encourage each of that unless you are intentional about personal growth…you will NOT grow.  I know, not a new revelation there but we really don’t need some new revelation from God, we need to walk out what He’s already given us.

What’s your plan?  Will you be closer to Jesus more next year than you are now?  Is your faith more effective in your life and the life of those around you this year than it was last year?

 

The Morning After

Well Monday mornings are always a down time for me.  I usually have the “holy hangover” from ministering Sunday.  Then Sunday night we had a creative team meeting to discuss upcoming series and Christmas ideas.  So I was especially tired this week, physically, but refreshed spiritually.

It was wodnerful to spend time with the Fedeles at dinner.  Pastor Steve Fedele brought a really good word Sunday and gave very specific prophetic words to individual people.  I was encouraged at the word the Lord spoke to me personally through him regarding me mentoring  men called to ministry.  I have been doing a small group for a while with the goal of activating people into their ministry calling, so it was good confirmation to the direction God is taking me.

As most of you know, we had our Connect Group kick off at the church two Sundays ago.   A great time for all.  I don’t just preach about small group involvement but believe in connecting in groups so strongly that I host one and participate in one myself.

So, on the morning after, Monday morning, I encourage all of us to look at our Christian journey and see are we growing.  If not, what’s probabably missing is the encouragement and accountability a Connect Group brings.  God Bless