For some people, there’s nothing worse than those first five minutes of an interaction with a new person. What do you say? What do you do? Especially if you’re not in a business setting, where you at least have a business purpose in common, you can come up with a loss for words. You’ll never make a great impression that way!

Stop. Just slow down and think for a second. Even if you’ve never realised it, the first five minutes of conversation with a new person almost always go the exact same way. You and the other person exchange pleasantries and then go into the exact same or similar questions — who are you, what do you do, where do you live, where are you from?

Right? You know the questions are coming, now it’s up to you to set the tone of the conversation. How you respond to these predictable questions will determine the impression you make and how far and where the rest of the conversation goes.

Begin putting together some intriguing, engaging and thoughtful answers to the questions above, so you’re prepared the next time you meet someone new.

If you need even more tips for first-time social interactions, check out more videos on the Engaging Executive vlog or download a copy of my Amazon best-selling book, Engage.