How to Start a Conversation At a Social Event

How to Start a Conversation At a Social Event

Starting a conversation to get to know another person or breaking an awkward silence can be stressful.  Generally, introverts have difficulty conversing with other people. They are quiet and often have nothing to say. Even extroverts who enjoy socializing will eventually run out of things to say. And during these times, there is this strange awkward moment of silence.

We are somehow pressured to say something. But the pressure creates mental blocks and prevents us from choosing interesting and appropriate topics to talk about. Why does this happen? Why does it have to be so awkward? Why do I have to suffer through all these?

These things are just part of getting to know a person. We often don’t run out of things to say when we are conversing with close friends and family. But if you’re talking with someone that you’ve just met, then expect some long awkward silences during your interactions.

It’s hard to talk with a stranger since you have to establish a common ground. You might not know what interests them, what they dislike, what offends them. And because of this we often try to play it safe and say nothing at all.

How to Talk to People And Never Run Out of Things to Say

You need a few tricks up your sleeve to hold a conversation with a complete stranger. By knowing how to talk to people you can improve your social status and create the foundations of a wonderful friendship. This knowledge will also help you create a network of professional connections.

The trick to talk with people is to:

Talk to Them Normally Like You Would a Close Friend

It’s very simple but very true. Most people try to be interesting and talk about all kinds of exotic and extravagant things. They believe that they have to win people over by making jokes or by talking about interesting things.  I hate to say it, but you’re not building a connection with them this way, you’re actually building walls and keeping them away.

Talk about the weather, about the place, about current events. It doesn’t matter what you talk about. What matters is the interaction between you and the other person. People often forget the topics in their conversations but they often remember how they felt during the conversation. So just be yourself and treat them like a close friend, they’ll eventually come around.

Get to Know Them by Asking Questions

The most basic trick in holding a conversation with a stranger is by asking them about their favorite topic.  And what is everyone’s favorite topic? Simple, it’s me! Me! Me!

People like talking about themselves, it’s a topic that they’re very familiar with. When you ask people about themselves they tend to get a good impression of you since you’ve taken an interest in their lives.

That’s why if you run out of things to say, then go for the safe and sure option of asking questions about the person you’re conversing with.

Ask open-ended questions

Which one is better?

This one.

You: Hi, do you like it here?

Stranger: Yes….*awkward pause*…. Do you like it here?

You:  Yes…*awkward pause*… See ya then.

Or this one?

You: Hey! I like your shirt. Where in the world did you get such an awesome looking shirt?

Stranger: You like it? Well I was out shopping one day where I saw this …..*blah blah blah*

The second conversation is obviously the better choice. The reason is that you used an open-ended question. Questions that can be answered by a yes or a no often in awkward silence. It’s hard for the person to continue answering when it can be answered by one or two words.

What you need is to ask questions that let their mind think and allows them to continue talking without holding anything back. Ask them about their day or how they managed to do this and that. The possibilities are endless.

Talk About Food

Talking about food is a universal topic, it is extremely helpful if both of you are at a party or if both of you are having dinner somewhere.

Some people are ignorant about the latest iPhones, tablets, and gadgets. While others are experts at medicine, programming and other topics. It’s hard to find a common ground if both of you have such a gap in knowledge. However, everyone eats food and it is a topic that most of us are knowledgeable about.

You can simply comment on how delicious the food at the restaurant is or you can talk about how the food in your country is prepared. It doesn’t matter, just say something to keep the conversation going.

Rephrase what they said if you have nothing to add

Stranger:  I’ve put a lot of work making that necklace and what did she do? She sold it! That girl sold it!

You: So you’ve spent all this time and effort on the necklace and she didn’t even care?

Stranger: Yeah, and….*blah blah blah*

If you have nothing to add or aren’t knowledgeable about the topic, then you can simply rephrase their previous statement to keep the conversation going. This shows the other person that you are listening to what they’re saying as well pointing out that you are interested in the conversation.

By repeating what they’ve said you’re creating rapport and you’re making the person trust you more. This will make them happy enough to continue conversing with you and they will share more about their life.

Share Something About Yourself

It isn’t just a one-way conversation. If you’re going to keep asking about other people’s lives then you’re eventually going to have to reveal something about yourself as well.  You can try to play it mysterious by giving vague answers, but being mysterious won’t help you form meaningful connections.

You don’t need to tell them your deepest darkest secret, you just need them tell them small minute things about yourself. This may come unnatural to introverts, but if you’re going to build rapport, then you need to learn how to open up and share details of your life.

Don’t Be a Know-It-All

You know whose fun at parties? That laid back guy who knows how to have a good time.

You know who isn’t fun at parties? That obnoxious know-it-all who thinks they’re better than everyone because they’ve read an entire encyclopedia in the span of 2 hours.

Don’t be the know it all, they’re hard to converse with and some people can be turned off by that “I’m better than you because I know more” attitude. If someone makes a mistake about a certain topic, don’t brush them off and correct them harshly, be subtle in correcting them. It’s even better if you don’t correct them at all.

LA Startups Crew
Los Angeles Startups
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
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LA Startups Crew
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.

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5 Best Instagram Tools to Help You Build Your Following in 2019

5 Best Instagram Tools to Help You Build Your Following in 2019

It’s true that it helps to be a celebrity if you want to amass lots of followers and likes on Instagram. The top Instagram accounts belong to celebs Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, Kim Kardashian, Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, and Justin Bieber. But it’s all about making your Instagram feed a lot more engaging, and you can do that with the following tools to boost your following:

1. The Instagram Marketing Mastery Bundle

This is truly a complete package with a 5-way combined method of achieving Instagram fame. This teaches you how to build your presence on the Instagram platform that can reach a wider audience. The various components focus on advertising, affiliate marketing to monetize your success, and engagement techniques to garner greater interest. You have growth tips to boost your user base and content strategy lessons to help you decide on what to post. At $29, this is a steal.

2. Savvant Instagram Optimizer Famous Plan

Knowing what photos to post on Instagram is a crucial skill, and that’s just one of the things you learn with this plan. This is designed to boost your own creativity so that you’re able to pick on your own the most suitable photos and imagery. You’ll learn to come up with the most engaging copy, while you’re also able to pick the right keywords, filters, and hashtags that make your content easier to find. Detail about the plan here.

A lifetime subscription to the plan may seem like a long time, but then at a total cost of only $40 you surely get your money’s worth.

3. Planagram Agency Plan

This time you have to shell out $50, but this plan comes with handy tools that really save you a lot of time and effort. This comes with an automated scheduler so that your posts, galleries, and stories can be aired exactly when you want them to be. They can be posted at just the right time for your audience to see. Detail about the plan here.

It’s a great way you manage your posts, as it can schedule up to 10 images at once. In fact, it can help you to manage up to 25 different Instagram accounts!

4. piZap Pro

Sure, Instagram has built-in editing tools. But that doesn’t give you a leg up since everyone uses them too. With the piZap Pro, however, you get a lot more than the basic editing tools. You get hundreds of interesting fonts with ad-free access and royalty-free stock images. You can do collage layouts, stickers, and filters. There’s even a custom emoji maker so you can make your own unique emoticons. Detail about the plan here.

This is an editing suite with basically everything you need. In fact, you can use the included templates to create YouTube channel art and Facebook and Twitter cover photos.

5. Appz Instagram Assistant

This is a Google Chrome extension, and the lifetime subscription will cost about $40. It’s like hiring your very own personal assistant who’s an expert on building your brand. It can automatically like, comment or follow other posts or users with the same interests as you do. It also shows you a lot of stats to give you an idea of your progress. Detail about the plan here.

Founder, Editor-in-Chief
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.
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LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.

How to Maximize Your Digital Marketing Budget in 2019

How to Maximize your Digital Marketing Budget in 2019

Many businesses don’t really regard themselves as digital companies, because they may offer “analog” consumer products and services. After all, they’re not selling high-tech products and software programs. Common small businesses include restaurants, arts, and crafts sales, and plumbing services. So since these are traditional businesses, often they employ traditional marketing strategies—and that’s a mistake. Instead, digital marketing must be at the forefront of any sensible marketing strategy these days.

It’s true that many of these old-school marketing departments have now added more modern online marketing elements like mobile marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and website operations. Yet often the focus is on traditional marketing methods like print ads and retail store promos. The digital marketing teams receive a far smaller share of the marketing budget.

If you’re running your own business, you have to increase the budget for digital marketing. In fact, the bulk of your marketing budget should probably go to digital marketing instead. Your digital marketing team should be at the forefront of your marketing efforts, leading the charge in promoting your brand and gathering data about your customers.

If you’re not convinced, here are some facts that should change your mind:

  • The vast majority of your customers are online. In the US, about 89% of the people use the Internet. Among the Internet users, 77% go online every day, 43% are online several times a day, and a staggering 26% are online almost constantly. The percentage of the constantly connected jumps to 39% for the 18 to 29 age bracket.
  • According to expert consumer marketers, the most effective marketing tactics include digital marketing techniques like social media, email newsletters, videos, mobile apps, website articles, and blogs. Online marketing is quite versatile, as it can also include webinars, webcasts, online presentations, white papers, infographics, and case studies.
  • With so many digital channels, it’s your responsibility to make sure that the message stays consistent throughout. Every platform should have the same information regarding your business, such as your location and your contact information. Your prices and promos should also appear the same for each channel. Your offline channels must also fall in line with your online promos, though this can be a challenge when you’re prone to quick reactive promotions.
  • The speed of digital marketing is significantly faster compared the traditional offline channels. This is in terms of fulfilling consumer demand for information. Direct mail and even telephone channels can’t compare to having all the information readily available on your website. You can also chat with your consumers and respond quickly via forum posts and emails.
  • The analytic tools for online marketing are also superior as you’re able to really track your marketing ROI. These tools can track how each digital marketing method is actually contributing to your bottom line. You can find out which methods are increasing your brand visibility, increasing your website visitors, and boosting your sales.

The basic truth is that all business these days are digital. You may offer traditional services like food products and plumbing services, yet marketing today must be online.

LA Startups Crew
Los Angeles Startups
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
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LA Startups Crew
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.

Newbie’s Guide to the LA Subway

Newbie’s Guide to the LA Subway

Everyone knows that you need a car in LA if you want to get anywhere. Unfortunately, that kind of widely held belief that resulted in the legendary LA traffic. If you want to get to your meetings on time in LA, then sooner or later you will have to park your car and get on the LA metro.

So how do you go about it? Here are the steps you need to take.

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Plot Your Journey from Point A to Point B

This means to figure out where you are, figure out where you’re going, and figure out how you’re getting there. You can use the Metro’s own trip planner, but Google Maps also has built-in LA Metro data.

Make your plans, though you may be surprised at how the estimated times of getting from one location to another is somewhat (or in some cases considerably) longer than when you go by car.

If you’re driving to your starting Metro point, make sure that the station you’re going to has parking on-site.

Paying for Your Fare

Paying for your metro ride is done through your TAP card, which you can obtain from the vending machines in the metro station. If you’re not sure about buying them on-site, you can also opt to buy them online so you can have it with you when you get to the metro. This TAP card will have to be activated and loaded up, but it’s acceptable for up to 24 different transit agencies in the area. It’s not just for the LA subway.

Every one-way local trip will cost $1.75 no matter what. It’s doesn’t matter where you get on and off, nor is the time of day relevant. It will always be $1.75 unless you go for Express and Silver Line bus trips. Those will cost you $2.50 per ride.

Getting on the Subway

So you’ve reached the metro station you need to start with and you have your TAP card with you. Just get on the platform, and mind the warning in yellow regarding how you need to STAY BEHIND YELLOW LINE. Once your ride arrives, get in and find a seat of there’s an available one.

Above you, you have maps that help you keep track of when your stop is coming. So just stand or sit there in comfort, knowing that you won’t have traffic to deal with. You can also just ask other people who may be experienced riders if you have questions regarding the LA metro. Just be polite, okay? In general, if you’re polite then other people will reciprocate with friendly advice so you can learn the ropes quickly enough.

If you’re prone to boredom, then you can always fiddle with your smartphone to pass the time. It’s safer to do this on the subway than when you’re driving, right? Some people also bring books and magazines to pass the time, though in some cases it’s meant to discourage conversations with other people.

Once you reach your stop, get off. That’s basically it!

LA Startups Crew
Los Angeles Startups
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
×
LA Startups Crew
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.