We were at an exhibition this weekend. Should we have let people look at our display without interruption, making us appear disinterested, or should we have made a nuisance of ourselves by asking questions of the visitors to our stand?
We have a selection of approaches because everybody is different and sends out different signals. One of the better approaches is to try to find out about the visitor, make them feel at ease and not bombard them with information that we think they want.
Children can feel awkward around their classmates. Stage a party and get them talking to each other. Allow them to choose conversation topics but emphasize that they should consider what topics others would find interesting, not to just concentrate on what interests them.
Pleased to meet you!
✦ Explain that today is party day!
✦ Give four or five children a ‘Host’ badge. Give everyone else a ‘Guest’ badge.
✦ Send each of the Hosts to a different party area in the room. Warn them that as with most parties, they may not know all their guests, but should make them feel at home.
✦ Emphasize to the ‘Guests’ that it will be polite to talk to one another as well as to their host. They will need to think of conversation topics: subjects of interest to one another.
✦ Randomly, assign guests to parties. Give a signal for conversation to start.
✦ Move among parties. Is the atmosphere good? Help out with the chat.
✦ Repeat the game with new hosts and new groups of guests.
✦ Do the children now feel able to have friendly conversations with all the class?