When you're surrounded by a crowd of unfamiliar people at an auction, it can feel like you're frustratedly alone in a sea of faces. However, even if you're a shy person and don't like small talk (like this blogger!), you can strike up a conversation pretty easily with your fellow bidders at an auction, considering you're in the same place for presumably the same thing. If you're stuck for ideas, here are some conversation starters you can use on your fellow bidders. Who knows -- maybe you'll end up with a new bidding buddy!
If you seem to be bidding on the same type of object as someone, strike up a conversation about your shared interest in the item. This might mean you end up discussing your collecting habits, or the merits of a certain type of vintage car find. Either way, it should be easy conversation, since you don't have to stray into personal territory, and you probably have a lot of experience with the topic.
Along with pre-auction jitters, you may want to be indulging yourself in thought about what you'll do if you don't win. If you spot someone else waiting for the same auction as you are who seems equally nervous, start talking about your alternatives should you not be the winner. Have you heard rumors of other auctions? Do you plan to stay and bid on something slated for later in the day? Or will you talk to the winner and see if you can give them something else as alternative compensation for the item? This can lead to a mutual brainstorming, and maybe you'll both end up happy in the long run.
You can make tons of business and personal connections at auctions, so feel free to talk about other resources you know of -- for everything from a friend who owns a business they might be interested in patronizing to alternative auctions you've heard about thanks to an obscure email newsletter you receive. You may walk away from the auction with much more than any items you win, since connections are one of the most precious resources in today's professional world.
Sometimes, an annoyance can turn strangers into at least acquaintances, if not friends. You may find yourself discussing other fellow bidders, particularly ones who have been rude to everyone around them, with the people around you. Just be careful you aren't engaging in harmful gossip!
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