Here’s a blog entry from Pamela’s staff member: Katharine Sawchuk.
From March 29th to April 3rd I worked the Vancouver International Auto Show. I felt like I was swimming through a sea of all kinds of people. My job was to represent Smart Car – which is owned by Mercedes. I had never done anything like this before; for five hours a day my job included studying everything I could on the Smart Car and then basically regurgitating all that information back up in a conversational manner to potential clients.
The first couple shifts, I will admit, were slightly awkward. Only because I felt like I was a little bit of a robot; repeating the same facts over and over again. So what I did to make things less clinical was find a conversational topic to hash out with someone first before talking about the Smart Car. For example, if I saw someone wearing a Canucks shirt or a shirt with a musical band on it that I recognized, I would say “hey, awesome game last night, eh?” or “Oh I loved that last album.” I found I would get the response I wanted right away – more relaxed, more honest and then I could start talking about the car.
I also enjoyed just watching the crowd itself; how people would interact with each other when they bumped into one another, how salespeople would approach people, what people’s ‘default’ body language generally was. For the most part whenever I work with large crowds, I feel most people are in a rush; they don’t take the time to speak personally with one another and this was – for the most part – the case for the auto show.
I found the easiest way to speak with these total strangers (most of whom were older men rolling together in groups) was to spark up a separate conversation, make constant eye contact, smile and act confident. Even if I didn’t know the answer to a Smart Car question, I would still smile and act super interested in finding out the answer. As soon as you take control and act as confident – but still as friendly – as you can, people do let their guards down and let your ideas and opinions in. Finding something you both have in common is definitely the way to kick start any conversation.