Nothing makes a conversation more awkward than silence. Improv comedy rules can be used to help improve your life in a lot of ways, and social encounters are no exception. Conversations are really just an improv scene anyway.
Photo by Beatrice Murch
Even the best social encounters can get derailed into thoughts of "oh god, somebody say something! Anything!" If you already have a tough time in social situations, reigniting conversation can be even harder. John Freund at the blog Dumb Little Man suggests using a classic rule of improv comedy, "history/philosophy/metaphor":
...say you and your partner are on a roller coaster in a scene, and you suddenly have no idea what to say. Never fear! You can always rely on the good old HPM:
HISTORY — This reminds me of the last time I rode this coaster...
PHILOSOPHY — I HATE coasters dude! All the ups and downs make me wanna puke. But I go on one every day to prepare me for the ups and downs of life.
METAPHOR — Roller coasters are like cigarettes...
This works in real life too! Next time you're fumbling for words trying to meet that perfect stranger, don't ask a question! Questions are BORING. State an HPM instead.
Obviously this example is on the extreme side, but the HPM rule can be used on anything: something you see, something somebody mentioned, and so on. Instead of relying on asking personal questions, tell a story from your past, explain your perspective on things, or come up with an interesting way to describe something.
When you talk about those things, you have an opportunity to express who you are as a person and likely get to know others in a similar way. People might even find you more likable. So next time the conversation dies and starts to make its way toward the pearly gates of awkwardness, bring it back to life with some HPM.
3 Improv Comedy Tricks to Supercharge Your Social Life [Dumb Little Man]