(Sing to “Winter Wonderland.”)

Deadlines ring. Are you listening?
It’s a strain! (Are you schwitzing?)
A beautiful sight, be confident tonight.
‘Cause GPC will help you to be grand.

In our office we can plan your show, man,
Help you be the super star you are.
They’ll say: Are you harried?
You’ll say: No, man!
‘Cause I prepared at Ginny’s, ain’t it grand!

Later on, we will smile;
As we practice single file,
To face unafraid,
Winning points that we‘ve made,
Talking to the board in Corporate Land.

In the boardroom, you will take a breath, ma’am,
Turning a client to your fan.
We’ll have lots of fun with one and all,
When some colleague tries to knock you down.

Your prep shows. Ain’t it thrilling?
Though your boss is still drilling.
We’ll frolic and play, the GPC way,
Cause with our help your boss will shout hooray!

Later on, your desires,
Will be filled, higher and higher.
Through connections that you’ve made,
Face bright and brave,
Talking to the board in Corporate Land.
. . . .Selling new ideas, that’s your plan.
Leading- . . . Like a winner. . . That’s your brand!

With Warmest Wishes From All of Us at
Ginny Pulos Communications
Power and persuasion in every presentation.

Ginny Pulos is president of Ginny Pulos Communications, Inc., a speech and media consultancy, and adjunct professor at NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. She is an expert in presentation, storytelling and persuasion in corporate environments.r (www.ginnypulos.com). 

For more tips on speaking with confidence check our other blog posts. We welcome you to subscribe to our posts and the Ginny Pulos Communications Facebook page.

To make networking effortless and successful takes thought, preparation and social skill. Conversation at any social situation should be charming, intriguing or delightful to be successful. Communication includes speaking, listening and questioning or responding. Small talk can begin with an attention-getting statement, or a question that can’t be answered by a simple yes or no, or it can be a pleasant self-revelation. Here are a few tips that will help you be charming, engaging and successful.

1. Start by preparing three small talk subjects for use in social situations with as much attention as you pay to your wardrobe. Anything from subways to submarines will do if the topic contains the basic elements in the art of conversation. You might reveal something about yourself to a complete stranger to build a bridge of rapport. For instance, when I first spoke about networking and turning small talk into big deals, I showed up at the event at the Comedy Club for the cocktail hour and discovered I’d put on shoes from entirely different pairs. In the rather dim light in my bedroom I couldn’t see that one was taupe and the other a sage green. Instead of feeling self-conscious, I shared my chagrin with my audience of strangers. We all had a good laugh on me, of course, and the bridge of rapport through humor had been crossed.

2. Know the answers to questions you’re commonly asked. Now’s not the time to fumble and fumpf and farrumpf! Small talk is meant to intrigue, delight, amuse, fill up the time pleasantly. It’s meant to help establish rapport and believability and help us make a connection. More than anything else, it’s meant to make people comfortable and put them at their ease. A conversation at a social gathering is a great opportunity for successful communication.

3. To be more efficient in your conversation, be direct and to the point by using simple, short, honest sentences. Think of your bottom line. Back it up with one or two support ideas and begin. Don’t beat around the bush. Winston Churchill could have said, “The position in regard to France is very serious.” What he did say was, “The news from France is bad.”

4. Don’t monopolize or soliloquize. And avoid the “I” or “my” disease. Instead, include others. Pull them into the conversation. Toss the ball!

5. Choose interesting topics, not boring ones. Refer to some pithy tweet or post. Know the subjects that really turn your personality on. In “My Fair Lady”, Professor Higgins told Eliza — with horrible result — to “Stick to two topics: the weather and your health.” Other boring subjects generally include recipes, food, health complaints, golf shots or other sports triumphs, domestic complaints, dogs or your kids. There’s a famous anecdote between Winston Churchill and the then U.S. Ambassador. The Ambassador said, “You know, Sir Winston, I’ve never told you about my grandchildren.” And, Sir Winston replied without skipping a beat, “I realize it, my dear fellow, and I can’t tell you how grateful I am!”

6. Don’t interrupt. There are actually some pros and cons. Do interrupt if the person is clearly going on too long, putting people to sleep, moving into areas that are seriously offensive, or if that person is becoming a public nuisance. Never interrupt with irrelevant questions or remarks, finish another’s sentences, help tell a story or argue about unimportant details. And speaking of interrupting, here’s a point of awareness. Studies show that men frequently interrupt women.

7. Do you know someone who argues with everything? To manage this person in a social situation, don’t argue back. Instead, look for a kernel of agreement. Avoid the words “but”, “however” and “unless” and go gently. You might say, “That’s true. And here’s something else that’s true.” Or say, “It might be good…” instead of “We have to….” Try not to overreact to an argument. Summarize by paraphrasing. “You’re saying that….” Don’t get argumentative back. Use a proper tone of voice, have a pleasant look on your face and make sure that your speech is unhurried.

8. To handle prying, embarrassing or inappropriate questions, if you’re quick on your feet, think of the greatest comeback ever. Or, you might try one of these. The trick is to know yourself and what really works for you.

* Make a polite refusal. ”I know a lot of people don’t mind talking about their sex life (how ;much money they make, how old they are), but I’m old fashioned.”

* Use humor. This is where you can think fun, think friendly and use your charm to give the other person a break. ”I can’t tell you all my secrets.”

* Exaggerate. “I have $300 million to invest in Twitter, doesn’t everyone?”

* Or, offer the close relative excuse. ”Even my husband doesn’t know my politics.”

* Confess embarrassment. “I have to be honest, I’m embarrassed by your question.”

* Try throwing the question back. “I won’t tell you how I’m voting, but anyone who knows me could guess.”

* You might question the question. “I really have to wonder why anyone would ask such a question.”

* Be vague. “How much do I make? Enough.” (Or, “Not enough.)

* Or, you might put up a complete barrier.
“I plead the fifth.” Then swiftly change the subject.

Bottom line: be sensitive to the climate around you. Be tactful at all times and avoid the possibility of racial, gender, sexual or ethnic slurs.

As to the listening part of the equation, we’ll take that up in our next article. Check our blog for other posts on networking, engaging others and rapport.

Ginny Pulos is president of Ginny Pulos Communications, Inc., a speech and media consultancy, and adjunct professor at NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. She is an expert in presentation, storytelling and persuasion in corporate environments.r (www.ginnypulos.com). 

For more tips on speaking with confidence check our other blog posts. We welcome you to subscribe to our posts and the Ginny Pulos Communications Facebook page.

What Our Clients Say

Ginny’s very effective!  She knows her stuff!  Everything she said made sense.  I learned more about myself.  I gained the confidence to tell my own story and use my emotions to help express my experience and get the attention of the audience.