Small Talk Is Difficult

If like me you’re introverted, shy, or you feel uncomfortable in a room full of strangers then a networking event or a conference can quickly become a stressful situation.
Sometimes you will pull out your phone and mindlessly scroll in silence or pretend to take call just to avoid eye contact with others so that you don’t have to make conversation.
To help avoid these awkward moments use a sales technique called the FORM method can help you to build an initial conversation so that you can establish relationships for the future.
But I’m not in sales I hear you say – of course you are – you are there selling your own personal brand.

F.O.R.M stands for Family, Occupation, Recreation and Motivation.
The idea is that these 4 topics can open up a conversation easily and help you to discover more about the person with whom you are talking.
That way you can delve into topics of conversation that involve shared interest topics.
Generally speaking, people like to talk about their life. They feel more important when you are asking questions about them — and it helps to keep the conversation flow.
This, in turn, makes them feel more at ease and relaxed.
Let’s break down the F.O.R.M. acronym, shall we?

F is for Family
Do you have kids? Where is your family from? How long have you lived around here?
My wife and I do not have children but we do have a dog who I love to talk (or moan) about and of course we have extended families, now’s is not the time to share your deepest family secrets or air dirty laundry but there is bound to be common ground.

O is for Occupation
What do you do for a living? What is that like? What drew you to that line of work? Or my favourite question – what would you say is the most important thing that a young person wanting to enter your profession should know?
In case you are wondering – recruitment is sales if you cannot make a connection with clients and candidates and cannot take rejection then you will fail – if you fail and do not make placements you will be fired – if the thought of this upsets you then do not pick recruitment.

R is for Recreation (and Reading)
What do you like to do outside of work? As a middle aged man losing the ongoing battle against ageing I usually ask about sports in fact a networking event was where I first met the guys I climbed Kilimanjaro with but you can ask about hobbies, TV shows, movies and of course what are they Reading?

M is for Motivation (and Money)
What motivated you to come here today – who are you hoping to meet or what are you wanting to learn about. What would count as a success for you ?
Money – anything that is current news and falls into neutral territory is fair game, I hope you read the business pages if so be ready with some insightful questions.

You should be able to have a great initial conversation around these 4 questions — and, of course make some new valuable contacts !!
Get out there !