how to start a conversation

How To Start A Conversation Using F.O.R.M

Ever met someone for the first time and got an awkward feeling? That feeling probably came from not knowing what to say. It happens all the time. Your mind goes blank, you can’t find the right words, you’re not sure what to say or how to say it! How to start a conversation and keep it going is simple if you use F.O.R.M.

What is F.O.R.M?

F.O.R.M is a simple 4-step formula that you can use to start a conversation and once the conversation is started, F.O.R.M helps you know what to say to keep it going.

The F.O.R.M. acronym can help you remember the key topics of conversation and where you want the conversation to go. F stands for family, O for occupation, R recreation and M message.

How To Start A Conversation About Family

ways to start a conversation

People love talking about their family. For you as the marketer, you may see something on a person’s timeline and could use that as a starting point for opening up a conversation.

For example, let’s say that as you scroll along someone’s timeline, you see some pictures of a birthday party. You can reference that by noting children you see in the picture, asking if they are the person’s children? Comment on how cute they are or their bright smiles or their adorable outfits, for example. Continue by asking how many children do they have, boys or girls and what are the ages.

You can do this with any pictures you see – weddings, family vacations, graduations, etc and just ask appropriate questions based on the picture shared on the timeline.

It’s also important that you participate in the conversation as well. For example, if the person tells you she has a set of twins, you can respond by saying that you do too  (if you do, of course) or maybe you ARE a twin. Share that. You’re building rapport and make connections.

Additionally, you can ask about where the person was born and raised, what made them leave and where they live now. 

How To Start A Conversation About Occupation

how to keep a conversation goingIn this area, you want to get a sense of what the person does for a living. Some people love their work, others don’t. Some people wish they made more money. Lots of people hate the daily commute. Others have long hours.  Some want to be boss-less. There are so many areas within the topic of occupation where you can get a sense of a person’s “current situation” and then expand on it making note of it for future reference.

Your questions could be: So, what kind of work do you do? How long have you be in that line of work? What are some of the challenges? Do you enjoy it?

You can further develop this part of the conversation by asking, What would you recommend to someone preparing to go into this field? 

Getting people to talk about their work gives you information on what their needs may be, again making note of it.

How To Start A Conversation About Recreation

topics for conversationAnother area where you can get to know more about a person is recreation. Here you’ll want to know about their interests, what they like to do for fun, perhaps their favorite kind of food or their hobby. You might ask them about the kinds of books they read, their favorite author, whether or not they’re into sports. You can find clues about some of these things on their timeline.  

As a reminder, when the person says something that resonates with you, respond to it. For example, if, through your questioning, you find out that the person likes basketball and you do as well, say that. Take it a step further and say, Did you see that game last night? or Who do you think will win the championship? 

Learning about what the person likes to do, their interests and hobbies gives you information on what they may want to do more of. This is important as you gather information about the person for future reference.

Your Participation Is Important

Remember that you never want to sound like you’re interrogating the person. Your goal is to lead the conversation without making the person feel uncomfortable and you do this by participating and contributing to the conversation as well. Keep your responses short but to the point. 

An example, if a person tells you that she loves Tony Robbins and his work, you can share that you do as well and that you’ve gone to one of his events. Share some of that experience.

Look for commonalities and express them. You are building rapport here and rapport goes a long way in the end.

What Is Your Message?

It’s important here to note that you’re getting “intel” through a series of conversations. Before you get to the Message, you have to get through the other three…this is called FORing.  FORing gets you to the Message. 

Once you’ve gotten some “intel” on the person, you’ll want to now invite them to take a look at your presentation. So, you can say, The last time spoke, you said you wished you had more time to spend with your family. Or, when we spoke the other day, you mentioned how you needed more monthly income.

This is where you present what you have but only asking if they’d be interested. Your question could be, What if I could show you how you a way you can get more time to spend with your family? Would you be interested in taking a look? Or…If I could show you a way to make some extra income every month that wouldn’t interfere with what you’re currently doing, would you be open? Or…Do you keep  your options open for making additional income?

Cold market prospecting is not the easiest thing to do but with a simple formula like F.O.R.M., you can warm up the connection in no time and eventually share your offer.

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22 thoughts on “How To Start A Conversation Using F.O.R.M

  1. Theresa,

    Awesome way to help everyone understand FORM and how to actually apply it. I see people mention this many times, but they never spend the time to break down what that might look like!

    Well Done!
    -Jamie

  2. I use FORM all the time. However, I use the M for money. I ask, “How much money would you need to make to realize that my business opportunity works for you?” But, I like the M for message. Great Point!!

    1. Hey Gary…I’ve seen M to stand for motivation as well. I guess whatever you choose is fine as long as you get to the presentation. 🙂

  3. Such a nice way to break it down into four important things! Brilliant way to enable marketers and sales personnel to hold a good conversation with prospect clients!

  4. These are some great tips. By the way, I think the person with the awkward convo you mentioned is me. I also hate when it feels like I am being interrogated when meeting people. I will definitely keep F.o.r.m in mind.

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