Culture TED Conferences

10 tips on how to talk to people at TEDActive

TEDActive2013. La Quinta, CA. February 25 - March 1, 2013. Photo: Marla Aufmuth

1. Start with a smile. “Smiling is one of the most basic, biologically-uniform expressions of all humans,” says Ron Gutman. Watch his TED Talk about the hidden power of smiling.

2. Just say hi. All it takes is one hello to open up doors. Here’s how to say “hello” in 150 different languages.

3. Remember: you are interesting! People want to talk to you. Think about all of the things you know and are an expert at. There are over 700 people at TEDActive and chances are high that you’ll find someone else who likes to wear polka dot shoesdoes archery or is addicted to coffee.

4. Do a badge check. Where are they from? What do they do? Call them by their first name. Trust us. It’s not weird.

5. Ask an interesting, “meaty” question. Sometimes the greatest moments of connection come from questions that don’t refer to someone’s past but what they plan to do in the future. What is your dream? What is your passion? What speaker are you most excited to see? What do you hope to learn?

6. Find a TEDActive host with a yellow dog tag around their name badge. Their job is to talk to you.

7. If you’re new, take faith in knowing that you won’t be new for long. Ask someone if it’s their first time here. Bam! You’re no longer new.

8. We value the introverts too. “Occasionally, I hope you will open up your suitcases for other people to see, because the world needs you and it needs the things you carry.” – Susan Cain

9. Pass out animal crackers or candy. Or compliments.

10. Interview people for a blog post about talking to people. That’s what I did! Here are all of the wonderful and friendly people I met and their conversation starters: