Sorry Chevy lovers. We are not bashing on Ford. We're not talking about Mustangs either. We're talking about how to carry a conversation without being awkward using something called the F.O.R.D. method. Now stay with me as I break it down for you.
F.O.R.D. is an acronym for Family, Occupation, Recreation and Dreams. I first heard of this approach to communication from Practical Psychology. I promise you that this method works the following social settings but are not limited to:
- Trade shows
- Wedding receptions
- Meeting your Airbnb host
- Work parties
Here's each aspect of the F.O.R.D. method and examples of how you can apply it:
FAMILY: Even if the person you're talking to was raised by a pack of wolves, that person has a family. Getting to know more about someone's family life will help you better understand who you're talking to. It's also key to share appropriate information about your family members like sports interests and favorite restaurants. Here are a few questions you can ask regarding an individual's families:
- If you are meeting a couple for the first time a good question to ask is "How did you two meet?".
- If you're on a date, ask "Are you the oldest or youngest out of your siblings?".
- If you're at a family reunion talking to someone with kids who just moved, ask "How's (name of cousin/daughter etc.) handling your recent move to (name of location)?".
OCCUPATION: Interestingly enough, chatting with someone can be touchy subject if the person hates his/her job or is ashamed in any way about it. I was talking to someone who was offended by me asking "What do you do?" a few years ago. I'm still trying to understand how he was deeply offended but maybe that's just me.
In a book I recently finished by Leil Lowndes, it states one of the best ways to ask someone about his/her occupation is to ask "How do you spend most of your time?". If you're at a work party chatting with a co-worker, you can ask "How did you hear about your job opening?". If you can tell that the person you're talking to is proud of his/her job, continue asking occupation-related, open-ended questions. It'll keep the conversation flowing and you won't have to worry about awkward pauses.
RECREATION: When I spent a few days in London during February 2017, my wife and I stayed at an Airbnb. Our host was Adrian, a British citizen. On our first night at Adrian's place, I noticed an American football in his hallway which was an unusual sight in a country where soccer is king. Luckily, Adrian is a friendly guy so he was easy to talk to. The second night at his place, I brought up his American football and his eyes lit up in excitement. It turned out that Adrian had spent time working in San Francisco and became a big NFL fan and continued to watch NFL games whenever he could after moving back to the U.K.
Like Adrian, we all have different hobbies and interests whether it be hiking, video games, cooking, powerlifting or participating in book clubs. You can ask people what they do for fun or what they do to hang out on the weekends.
DREAMS: Aspirations and goals help us reach for more in life. This aspect of the F.O.R.D. method is fun and tends to be easier to ask open-ended questions. Here are a few questions you can ask:
- Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
- What countries are you planning to vacation in?
- What do you want to achieve in your career in the next 2-3 years?
Not everyone will be equally responsive to the questions you ask. Be patient and take time to listen to responses when using the F.O.R.D. method.
What aspect of the F.O.R.D. method do you enjoy talking about the most? Let me know in the comments below!