I am an ambivert. If you don’t know, an ambivert sits neatly in the center of the introvert-extrovert spectrum. I recently finished Captivate by Vanessa Von Edwards (3 times, to be precise) and learned this. This book is all about “hacking” social interactions. After going through it I decided to go on a bit of an adventure. A social adventure. And just in time for my friends’ wedding shower.
Someone out there decided to make me their Best Man. And with great power comes the responsibility of setting up wedding showers. Leading up to the big day I was getting a bit anxious. Not about the event being successful. I was anxious about the prospect of meeting people. The reason?, I’m bad at conversation.
So it happened that by dumb luck and star alignment I discovered Captivate just in time to put a few tricks up my sleeve in anticipation of the party. I decided to implement these social techniques as a bit of a social adventure. By no means was I perfect, but I walked out of there calm and with a few positive testimonials about my humor.
So let’s talk about the three “hacks” I utilized at the party:
1. Body Language Manipulation
The first alteration I made was to adjust my body language. I made sure I wasn’t slouching. I made eye contact with everyone and I smiled. These were the first and easiest to do. What was more difficult was to take my hands out of my pockets.
Hands indicate intention. It’s the reason we shake hands as a greeting. Seeing people’s hands puts others at ease.With my hands out of my pockets I could make hand motions which are more engaging.
Adjusting the body was a good start. It was also not overly intimidating because the only discussion I had to have about this was with myself.
2.Work In The Five Whys.
The founder of Toyota Motor Company developed a technique for digging deeper into the failures at the company. The idea is that you ask Five Why Questions that help the person you are talking to get into more detail and eventually you will get to the root of the problem. By focusing on the reasons instead of the facts, you can get in to deeper conversation.
After finding a topic which we shared mutual interest. I focused on what it was about the topic that the person I was talking to liked. I found out why one person likes her job. I had another conversation where we raved about how much we enjoy exercising because of the various ways that the body is interconnect. I even learned about the 5 stages of habit building, which was super interesting.
It was a small shift the yielded strong benefits. Looking to get people talking about why they like something brought forth a very strong and genuine response from people. And since enjoy seeing people excited. It made the day easier.
3.Weave the Thread (Theory).
Thread Theory is the idea that you take a trigger word from the previous sentence and make it into the focus of the next. For instance I was talking with a friend and he was telling me about school. We were discussing theater and I wanted to bring it further. So I asked if he was in the theater program. He said know, but mentioned dance. From there I asked about his dancing.
A few minute later I learned that he will be going to school for dance/physical therapy, The Thread looked something like this:
Theater > Dance > College > Majors > Dance/Physical Therapy
I was able to learn five distinct pieces of information by just following where the conversation brought itself naturally. By honing in on the a keyword and bringing that up again the conversations kept progressing.
Like I said I wasn’t perfect. At one point I accidentally called the Bride’s younger brother a less politically correct version of a brat (I meant it lovingly) and the Maid of Honor did not understand the sarcasm. Luckily my friend (The Bride) thought it was funny. But these are just three of thirteen different “hacks” that Captivate offers. Moving forward in the next few weeks, this has become my newest adventure. I am looking to create more valuable conversations. If this interests you I would encourage you to look into Captivate.
So do you have any interesting conversation starters? Or do you have a social blunder to share? I would love to hear about how you thrive in your own social adventure in the comment section below and if you like what you are reading I encourage you to follow me. I will be posting every Monday and the next post will be on 6/18. So thank you for your time! Go find an adventure today!
John Latona Jr., The Boy with the Bear.