We’ve all been there – sitting around a dinner table, things are going well at first, and then it happens…the awkward silence. The painful silence and everyone can hear the host panic, searching their brain for some scrap of an interesting topic. No one wants the conversation lag to make an appearance at their party & lucky for you, we won’t let that happen. Think of us here at LaurenKelp.com as your Entertaining Fairy Godmothers and this post as step one in how to achieve entertaining mojo. Don’t worry, we will cover cooking for guests with dietary restrictions, the perfect playlist, and other pro-tips, but first things first – How to battle conversation lag.
1. Create a conducive environment for conversation
Talking is out of the question, let alone good conversation, if the music is too loud. Do everyone a favor and set the volume before your guests come over. Keep the volume low enough so it won’t interfere with conversation.
2. Ask open-ended questions
This is the proverbial slam-dunk for table talk. Asking a creative, open-ended question will not only get the person you posed the question to talking, but will engage the entire table. Here are some of my favorites:
- How did you meet your boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband?
- What was your favorite toy when you were a kid?
- What are your favorite Instagram accounts to follow lately?
3. Ask a follow-up question!
Yep, I know! It sounds zainy (eye roll), but asking a follow-up question creates a space for your guests to elaborate, expand, maybe even tell a personal anecdote. Asking, “how did that make you feel?” or “what was that like?” work in almost any situation. Get creative! Ask a question you are genuinely curious to know. You might just learn something fun about an old friend.
4. Pay attention to your guests physical needs
Look around, see who needs a re-fill or a second helping. Don’t let your guests worry about interrupting this great conversation flow we’ve worked hard to achieve. Anticipate their needs and jump in to serve/re-fill when necessary.
5. Do more listening than talking
One of the duties of a good host is to help maintain the flow of conversation. An easy way to do this, is listen more than you talk. Be mindful of how much you are talking. These are all your friends, so be careful not to dominate the conversation. Help guide the flow by asking questions (steps 1 & 2), bringing up topics all your guests might have in common (save the taboo ones), or by paying attention to your guests physical needs (step 4).
There you have it. Five super easy steps to maintain good conversation flow without the awkward lag. Above all, remember you are the host, so pay attention to all of your guests, engage them, and anticipate their needs. Entertaining is an absolute blast, but when you’ve got a new group of people or guests that don’t know each other, there is some leg work involved. Have no fear, your Entertaining Fairy Godmothers are here!