If you want to stand out you need to be different but most people I meet ask 1 of 3 questions:
How are you?
What do you do?
Where are you from?
Asking a more unique question will not only make a more memorable first impression but it will also boost your confidence, as you’ll be more socially at ease knowing you’ll always have a great conversation starter at hand.
At events, what has worked well for me, is to approach someone and say:
Me: “Hey, I’m David”
Them: “Nice to meet you, how are you?”
Me: Excellent! This is a fantastic event with so many interesting people. Who is the most interesting person you’ve spoken to so far?”
Them: (They tell you the most interesting person and why they have given this person that honor)
Now, I hope it goes without saying to not end the conversation at the first opportunity and walk away on a quest to find this person. Continue chatting and perhaps use what the person has said to add value to the conversation. For example, if they found “The Most Interesting Person” intriguing because of the charity work that they do, use that as a bridge to continue down that conversational path.
After the discussion comes to a natural end, keep an eye out for “The Most Interesting Person” and when you see a chance to approach them, greet them with:
“Excuse me…..I just met X, they said you were the most interesting person they’ve met at this event. They mentioned that you created/invented/started……”
Our first impressions play a key role in how people judge us. Maya Angelou the American poet and civil rights activist said: “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” When you approach someone with a genuine compliment, you lift them up and lower their defenses. Not only will you make the person feel great but your comment will have ripple effects, increasing the likability of your friend who referred you to them.
This approach may not work if you arrive at an event early or if guests have not had time to mingle. In this case, one way you can adapt the approach is to say:
Me: “Hey, there I’m David”
Them: Nice to meet you, how are you?”
Me: “Excellent. I’ve been looking forward to this event, I bet there are going to be many interesting people here.”
Me: “I doubt we’ll have time to meet everyone but are you game for a challenge?
Them: “What were you thinking?”
Me: “Before we leave tonight, how about we find each other and point out the most interesting person we’ve met during the evening, that way if either of us has not had the luck of meeting them we’ll still have the opportunity to do so?”
This little challenge adds skin to the game, which, not only, forms a bond between you and your conversation partner, it also hones your attention, keeping you alert for interesting people and making you a better listener, as you’ll need to retell key stories to your new friend.
Try it next time you’re at an event and see how it supercharges your ability to make connections and adds a fun challenge to your evening.
If you find this idea useful and end up meeting someone interesting because of it please do let me know…. maybe you could even introduce me to your new friend?
PS. If you want to learn the mental models to become a better questioner, you might find this interesting.