Cocktail Party Economics: Conversations That Will Make You the Center of Attention

cocktail party economics
Cocktail Party Economics is an entertaining book that tells you everything you need to know about markets but were afraid to ask –a must-have to “wow” people at that upcoming cocktail party. Today, co-author Eveline Adomait gives us some tips for navigating a cocktail party with ease.

It seems to me that attendance at cocktail parties can feel like a bit like walking through a mind field (that’s right a “mind” field not mine field!). Think of it: at any juncture, a random topic can pop up which you may know nothing…whether it is a person, place or thing or a more complicated theory or idea. When I am all dressed up at a cocktail party I may feel like I am in high society but when the discussion turns to a topic I know nothing about, things can quickly turn to high anxiety.

Let me share with you a few of strategies for coping with this situation:

Intelligent silence

This is very difficult to do and takes lots of practice. You must not register what I call the ‘blank look’. If you happen to be among a group of people and it is clear that everyone knows what is being talked about except you, just stay quiet but look engaged with your eyes and body language. This is also a terrific way to learn more about such riveting topics as Sarah Palin’s political views, the alimony settlements of Tiger Woods or the activities of the G8 central banks around the world. Later on at home you can make a point of Googling the important points you feel you missed. If you really think you need to know more about the topic immediately, you might want to head somewhere more private and pull out your smart phone and make a quick search!

Intelligent questions

If you look around the circle of people in the conversation and notice that many are registering a blank look (you of course are not), it is perfectly reasonable to speak up and enliven the conversation with an open ended question such as:, “I am not aware of the particular politics of Tajikistan but I find your comment very interesting. Where do you see the future of the country heading? How do you think this will impact us? Or, I didn’t realize that queen bees exhibit quacking and tooting behaviour. Do tell us more? Everyone in the group will be eternally grateful that you took the pressure off of them and without a doubt the speaker will love you for the limelight.

Learn more about a broad group of topics before you go to a cocktail party

Before I begin on this point, let me say that it is hard (actually I would say impossible) to know everything about everything so don’t worry if you rely heavily on my first two suggestions. However, there are some topics every self respecting business women needs to know a little something about. I would say how market economies work is one of those key topics. It comes up everywhere—in every media outlet and at quite a few cocktail parties. The good news is that you don’t have to know very much about markets to hold your own at a cocktail party. The little you do have to know is conveniently packaged into Cocktail Party Economics!

This is a guest post by Eveline Adomait, an Economics Professor and co-author of Cocktail Party Economics: The Big Ideas and Scintillating Small talk about Markets. You will come across such scintillating topics as Supply, Demand, Market failure, Financial Markets but in an interesting real-world way that helps makes these concepts understandable.

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