How To Engage Others In Lively ConversationHow To Engage Others In Lively Conversation

I have found that the best way to get someone to respond positively to you is to LIKE them!

Seriously! It is so easy!!! Plus, it works.

I've recently started a new position as a professional headhunter. I've always done professional networking and marketing for individuals but now have joined a new firm. Most of what I'm doing now is COLD CALLING. UGH..the dreaded COLD CALL.

What does it consist of? Hi! My name is Mary Gardner and I'm with GRN? who is the Director of Operations? From there I ask questions and gather information until I get the right person on the phone that might have a serious interest in my candidate that I'm marketing.

The difference that I've seen in my first few days is that the first day I was TERRIFIED to call. I didn't feel ready. I felt unprepared. I wasn't clear of the procedures and I didn't even feel comfortable with the phone. Here is what happened: the first few calls.. people almost hung up on me. They didn't have the tolerance for a person with no confidence.

Today, I relaxed. I committed to myself that I was going to have FUN and to make the people enjoy our encounter. I'd do that by showing them favor over the phone and acting excited to talk with them, even though I had no idea of who they were and what they did. And guess what? It worked! I spoke with numerous ?gatekeepers? as we call them, or administrative people who shared all of the information that I wanted about the company. I used their NAME in the conversation! I asked how they were doing and didn't ignore them. I asked about the weather when they were in south Florida and laughed with them when they forgot whether it was morning or afternoon in their greeting. I truly just enjoyed all of the people I met.. and guess what?

They liked me back!!! I expressed enthusiasm when speaking WITH them and TO them, and they responded in kind. It was so much more fun to speak with them when I stopped thinking OF MYSELF and my nerves, and started thinking about THEM!!!

Of course I did all of the standard things you do in small talk! I asked them questions and I listened to them intently. I asked about them, or their company or the weather or if they were having a good day, but I showed interest in THEM and their lives. That was the total key today to enjoying new people and getting them to feel comfortable with me.

I liked them.

How about you? Are you expressing interest and curiosity in others? Are you excited to speak with them? Do you show interest in their response? Do you laugh at their jokes? Do you sincerely want to show that person that they are OK in your book?

You might find what I found. A day of potential stress can turn into a day full of fun.

by Mary Gardner
References and Bibliography

Mary Gardner is a Professional Search Consultant and communications coach. She lives in Orlando with her husband and son. She can be reached at

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