Keeping It Going
At a recent training, a participant shared a technique she uses to help her handle social events more easily. She uses the acronym FORM whenever she meets someone new to give her a structure that helps keep a conversation going:
F. Where are you from? This is based on the fact that we often like to talk about ourselves. Where we are from is usually a pretty easy thing to talk about. Keep in mind, some folks (perhaps those who score toward the Contained side of the Expressive–Contained facet on the MBTI® Step II™ tool) might think that is a bit too personal.
O. What organization do you belong to? We spend a lot of much time at our job, so coming up with something to say about that should come easily. Just try to stay positive and not whine about things or people you don’t like. That can turn a conversation in the wrong direction, unless you are Clairee from Steel Magnolias, who says, “If you don’t have something nice to say about anybody, come sit by me.”
R. What do you do for recreation? Get people talking about what they do for fun and they might not stop. I really enjoy playing tennis and I have to be careful not to hog the conversation once the subject of tennis comes up—to the point where you might second-guess my preference for Introversion.
M. Say something about me. You might not get to talk about yourself if you are asking lots of questions about the other person. Still, try to think of something to say ahead of time, just in case you get the opportunity.
I know that using the FORM technique might feel a bit rehearsed and disingenuous, but why not use a tool that helps? Next time I find myself struggling for something to say, I might just try it. I’ll let you know how it goes.