I just wanted to share a little trick I learned a few years ago that really helped me in those moments where I ran out of things to say and hit one of those awkward silences..
So a few years back I worked in a retail job in a small store.
All my coworkers were very outgoing and talkative.
It was fine when it was me and at least 2 other people. Because they would ALWAYS keep the conversation going and there was no pressure on me.
But when it was just me and ONE other person… UGH
I absolutely hated trying to keep a conversation going. It was exhausting. And I inevitably hit that mental barrier where my mind just went blank, and we ended up sitting in awkward silence.
Over time I did a variety of things to improve my conversation skills, but I’d like to share one with you that really helped and it was pretty easy to start using.
Now.. Just to be clear, this is NOT something I came up with. In fact, this is actually a very common “improv technique” to use while doing improvised stage performances.
Its just a simple acronym: HPM
Which stands for History, Philosophy and Metaphor.
The purpose of this acronym is to help you quickly come up with a response to just about anything a person says to you (in most cases)..
History: Is simply responding by sharing your own personal experience relating to what they say.
Philosophy: Is responding by expressing your beliefs, opinion or attitude toward what they said.
Metaphor: Is simply when you compare what they said to something that has a similar quality.
So for example:
Lets say someone said “I should probably clean my apartment when I get home”
And your mind goes blank.. You don’t know what to say.. Try HPM..
One by one, ask yourself these 3 questions..
History: “How does this relate to my own personal experience?”
Philosophy: “What is my belief, opinion or attitude toward what they said?”
Metaphor: “What does this remind me of?”
Some sample responses
They say “I should probably clean my apartment when I get home”
History: “I just cleaned my room the other day and finally found my other airpod!”
Philosophy: “I honestly love cleaning. I think its really therapeutic”
Metaphor: “For me, cleaning my apartment is like a treasure hunt, I always find stuff I forgot I had!”
So you can see..
The purpose of this acronym is to help you give yourself “content” to respond with.
Just ask yourself the questions, and respond with the answer.
Now.. This is just ONE small trick that you can add to your arsenal.
In the example I gave, theres many ways you could respond.
But in those moments where you find yourself panicking with mind blank.. This is an “easy out”.
So try it out! Just memorize HPM. Remember the questions. And if you find yourself in a tight situation, just ask yourself the questions and you’ll be surprised at how effective it can be.
So anyways! This is just one little trick that helped me a few years ago.
So I figured, who knows, maybe it could help someone else. Cheers!