At a loss for what to say?

A Dance in the Country, Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, ca. 1755

It’s Valentine’s Day! Maybe you and your sweetie are dancing the evening away. Or maybe you find yourself single on the big day of love, and looking for some easy ways to break the ice with that cutie over there. We found some easy conversation starters in an article from Inc. magazine, and wanted to share them with you. Single folks can use any of these to get a conversation started, and anyone can use them to chat up other nice people anywhere! Sometimes you’re at a loss for what to say with the person you’re dancing with, and these will work every time. Give one or two a try, and let us know how it goes. See you on the dance floor!

“Starting a conversation with a stranger can be daunting, but it really isn’t that hard. There are really only three rules: Be pleasant and upbeat; be open and straightforward; and say something the other person will want to hear.

With that in mind, here’s are some conversation starters guaranteed to get things rolling. After that, it’s up to you.

1. “What nice (or awful, or wet, or unseasonable) weather we’re having!”

There’s a reason weather always tops the list of safe conversation topics. We all experience it, and we usually all feel the same way about it.

2. “Isn’t this a lovely room?”

If it isn’t, it still might be a nice hotel, or a convenient or pretty part of town. The point is to comment–approvingly–on your surroundings. If it’s an ugly room, you don’t want to say so because a positive comment makes a better first impression than a negative one, and besides, for all you know the person’s sister is responsible for the decor.

3. “Is this your first time at this event?”

If it is, and you’re an old hand, you can offer to share information or make introductions. On the other hand, if the other person’s been around a while and you’re the newbie, he or she may show you around.

4. “I really liked that thing you said.”

If your target has given a presentation at the event, then picking something in it to praise is a surefire way to get that person’s attention and good will.

5. “I really loved your last blog post.”

If your target has published any writing online that you’ve read, say so, and mention something you particularly liked. (This works on me all the time.)

6. “That’s a beautiful thing you’re wearing.”

It could be the other person’s shoes, a piece of jewelry, or even a necktie. If you admire someone’s taste, that person is almost guaranteed to like you. Commenting on someone’s clothing or accessories is usually a better idea than commenting on his or her hair or other physical attributes.

7. “Do you know anything about the next session?”

If she does, she can tell you all about it. If they don’t, you can speculate together.

8. “Do you know where the next session is?”

Most people love to give directions.

9. “Can I help you with that?”

If the person you want to meet is struggling to juggle a briefcase, overcoat, and cocktail, for example, you can win points by offering your assistance.

10. “Are you having a good event?”

Asking what someone thinks of the event you’re both at, and whether it’s useful or informative, will almost always start an interesting conversation.

11. “Do you know what’s happening next?”

What’s going on in the next time slot? If the other person doesn’t know either, you can figure it out together.

12. “What do you recommend?”

This could apply to a choice of sessions to attend, or hors d’oeuvres to taste, or even a tray of cocktails. Whatever the case, everyone loves to be asked for an opinion.

13. “I’ve been to your home town.”

If you know where the other person is from, and you’ve been to that place or have any connection with it, that’s almost always a good conversation starter. It can also work just to ask what the place is like, or what it is like to live there. (If the person comes from a large city, you can ask what neighborhood and go from there.)

14. “Do you know…?”

This is a similar conversational gambit to the home-town one. If you know someone who works in this person’s company, or in the same industry, etc., it’s great to inquire whether you might have a mutual connection.

15. “I’ve been wanting to meet you.”

Sometimes the direct approach is best. Stick out your hand, state your name, and then tell people why you’ve been interested in meeting him or her. Of course, you’re not going to say anything like, “I’ve been wanting to meet you because your company could really benefit from my services–let me tell you in detail about them.”

As long as you’re sensitive to the occasion, and to the other person’s time, letting someone know you’ve been wanting to meet him or her in the hopes that you could do business together is perfectly fine. It might even increase curiosity about you.

Turning Point

That’s me and my Instructor Jared dancing a Bolero at our recent Fall Fantasia event at Butte des Morts Country Club. I look pretty happy, don’t I? Dance will do that!

So, basically, a lightning bolt hit me! The first song was not even over yet, and I knew I wanted to dance for the rest of my life!

I have trouble remembering what happened following my revelation. Details are fuzzy, and I felt a bit dizzy. One thing is for sure, the lesson was over all too soon, and my mind was racing to find an opportunity to return. I left giddy and excited.

Since that day, my life has pretty much revolved around Ballroom Dance. As soon as a lesson, party, or dance event is over, I’m looking forward to the next time. Now I’m one of the Staff and may be welcoming you to the Club. Your first lesson could be your moment of inspiration. You won’t know unless you try!

Next time: Hey you GUYS!




Ballroom Image 3There we were standing in the lobby of the Club. My eyes darted around the room and through the windows into one of the ballrooms illuminated with spotlights. I could hear upbeat, rhythmic music, and I could see some other folks having their lessons.

“Welcome to TC Dance Club!” It was the friendly voice of a staff member greeting me. “Let me show you around”, she said. We glanced inside the practice studio, found a place to hang our coats and change our shoes, and were shown the refreshment area and the large ballroom. Lots of character was evident in this 1858 era refurbished brick building.

The preliminaries were complete and now it was time to begin my complimentary first lesson. I was introduced to my professional dance instructor, Jared. With a flourish, he held out his hand, we took dance position, and began to dance. We tried a couple of different dances, and he taught me some Salsa steps. I was surprised at how it was challenging but so much fun at the same time!

Next time…turning point

My First Entrance

I made the appointment with TC Dance Club and cajoled a commitment from my BFF for our complimentary first lessons. There really was no turning back now because I had my BFF holding me accountable, not to mention the other “ten thousand or so” friends, family, and associates I’d let in on the secret. For someone who usually avoids the spotlight, this was a bigger deal.

“I wonder what I should wear,” I said to myself standing in front of my closet. I had seen the glittering ensembles worn by the Ballroom Dance pros online and on TV, but I wasn’t sure what the Fox Cities version of those would be. Of course comfortable shoes with a slippery sole would be best, so I built my outfit from the ground up. Okay, leggings, flippy, fun skirt, and conservative top all in darker colors. That would work!

It seemed like the space of an underarm twirl and the day arrived! All that day I was excited and apprehensive at the same time. Text messages were flying through cyber space with my BFF, and we met in the parking lot outside the Between the Locks Building in Appleton on South Olde Oneida Street. We quietly scaled the stairs to the second floor and located the suite for TC Dance Club. For a brief moment I thought about backing out, but it was too late. Our eyes met. The only way was forward, through the double-hinged doors.

Next time…prelude

Setting the Stage

snowyroadLast February, after years of wondering what ballroom dance lessons would be like and faced with yet another “worst winter on record” with weeks of inactivity (I am not a cold-weather girl), I started talking to friends and family about trying ballroom dancing. I wanted to gauge reactions, get recommendations, and hopefully get someone to try it with me.
I did the research, compared websites, and talked for weeks with my BFF. She was like, “Really you want to do this?” with an astonished tone of voice. We talked about some of the many benefits of ballroom dance:  Improved physical and mental health, building confidence, and meeting new people, and eventually she caved and agreed to come with me.

I juggled our busy calendars and called TC Dance Club – Appleton to schedule our complimentary first lesson. A friendly staff member patiently found alignment with our availability and Jared, our professional dance instructor’s schedule, and voila, WE WERE COMMITTED.

Coming soon…my first entrance.