We all like stories of serendipitous encounters with strangers which develop into a lifelong friendship or successful business partnership. However, serendipity needs a little bit of help sometimes. For example, you might just strike up a conversation with a stranger… but how to do it when you actually hate talking to strangers?

Check out: Networking When You Hate Talking to Strangers



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  • serendipity – the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way
  • foster – encourage the development of (something, especially something desirable)
  • wander – walk or move in a leisurely or aimless way
  • awkward – causing difficulty; hard to do or deal with
  • crutch – a long stick with a crosspiece at the top, used as a support under the armpit by a lame person
  • hackneyed – (of a phrase or idea) having been overused; unoriginal and trite
  • substantive – having a firm basis in reality and so important, meaningful, or considerable
  • commonality – the state of sharing features or attributes


Think about it

Answer the questions below.

  • What did Anthony Tjan’s study reveal about entrepreneurs?
  • What kind of situation do introverts find difficult to cope with?
  • How does the author make people come to him? Do you feel more comfortable speaking to a small group of strangers or in front of a large audience?
  • In what can bringing a friend in be of help to you?
  • What kind of opening question would you feel comfortable asking?


Practice makes perfect

Replace the fragments in bold with the words/phrases from the original article.

  • The power of serendipity is very popular in business circles.
  • Here’s how I’ve managed to compromise between meeting new people – and being exposed to interesting new ideas – and not having to start strange conversations.
  • When you have a “wingman” at your side to help highlight your accomplishments at networking events, it can give you the confidence you need to come up to others and join conversations.
  • They don’t have to be very deep; the goal is to begin a dialogue…
  • You don’t have to start following people closely; educated guesses and light online research can help you achieve quite a lot.


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