Just read a great post on schmoozing a room: savvy socializing over on Guy Kawasaki’s blog. I think we can learn about connecting with teens by applying some of these tips. Here are some tips, with my added thoughts.
Apply these tips next time you meet:
1. Think analog, not digital. You better be doing both. I’ve found here that not all of my students have email, so I can’t rely on it alone. I have to still use it, though, to connect with those who do have it. Personal touch will always be more effective than email.
2. Find a commonality. A common place of interest will make both of you more comfortable. It helps the student feel less intimidated (unless you come across as an expert on whatever you have in common). Focus on their interests and likes, not yours.
3. Prepare a self-introduction. Seems like a no brainer, but worth mentioning. Pass this one along to your students, they should be ready to introduce themselves to the students they don’t know.
4. Read voraciously. This gives you something to talk about if their is a lull. Don’t just read YM books/articles/blogs, read youth related stuff, too.
5. Approach the person standing alone. So true! Make sure you connect with “loners” before you connect with the crowds.
6. Just smile and say Hi or Hello. “According to research, those are the best opening lines.” (quote from Susan RoAne, author of list) Remember you do not have to have something brilliant and life-changing to say. Just say something – preferbly Hi or Hello.
7. Make small talk. Get to know them. Be yourself.
8. Listen, listen, listen. Students love to talk about themselves to people who will listen. Just listen and get to know them.
9. Go everywhere with the intention of having fun. Make it fun for them to be there. Let them see your true personality.
10. If you want to make a positive memorable impression, treat students like people not like numbers! Don’t treat students like they are just one more number to getting to your next attendance goal. Show them love, treat them like Jesus would.