In the professional and non-professional world of conversations, there is an aspect that is not often discussed – how to talk to anyone, anywhere. While some folks feel at home jumping into new settings and conversations, there are those of us who truly want our introverted selves to come out of hiding so that conversations can flow smoothly. If this is you, a helpful and essential tool to keep in mind for these occasions is a common philosophical acronym used by business coaches and socially awkward people alike, known as FORD.
What is the FORD Acronym?
FORD stands for Family, Occupation, Recreation, and Dreams. These four topics are great for getting a conversation started, as well as contributing your own insights and input. This is an easy tool to keep in mind and even think about ahead of time while considering specific settings you may find yourself in, either in a personal or professional environment. For example, asking about family and occupation is more appropriate for a business setting where you may be meeting someone for the first time because the topics are personal, but still within a professional boundary. For those people you are getting to know on a more personal basis, inquiring about their hobbies or recreation may be more appropriate. Giving your own answers about all of these topics is important to keep the conversation going.
Another important and easy part of having a conversation is giving cues. Nonverbal cues can be as simple as nodding your head to show you are listening. Another example is standing up straight with your body language conveying that you’re open and engaged. Things like keeping your arms uncrossed, broadening your shoulders, and keeping your chin up will show you’re receptive to what they’re saying. Verbal cues like asking questions will have the same effect of showing you are engaged. Even if you are feeling unsure of yourself, giving off the impression that you’re comfortable, and enjoying the conversation will help it to flow better.
It is much easier to talk to someone if you ask them about themselves. As humans, we typically enjoy talking about ourselves. When feeling uncomfortable, or unsure in a new setting, using the FORD acronym, giving cues, and steering the conversation towards the other person can all help you to feel more comfortable talking to anyone, anywhere.
About Megan Valco
Megan Valco is an Account Assistant at Haute In Texas. Currently attending UTSA, she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Digital Communications. Her hobbies include enjoying day trips to Fredericksburg and the beach, painting and finding new thrift stores to shop. After graduating, her aspirations have no limit as she plans to continue working in the PR and Marketing world, as well as, traveling and living across the U.S. and abroad.