For people who are not used to the jet-set world, having a conversation with a millionaire or billionaire can seem extremely daunting at first. You might wonder what kind of things to talk to them about, especially if you don’t know them. Or how to behave if you are new in the jet-set group.
It will always be slightly awkward trying to keep a conversation with wealthy people because their essence of authority and status can feel intimidating in the beginning. But the truth is, these people are as normal as anyone else – hence the conversation topics don’t necessarily need to be grand of any kind.
Wealthy people often have very good knowledge in following topics: politics, international affairs, business, currency, fine dining, wine, whiskey, cigars, cars, yachts, private jets, travel, football, arts, theatre/opera etc.
It’s good to have at least some form of basic knowledge on these topics above, but nobody expects you to be a leading expert in all fields. In fact, unless you are born and bred in the high society world, it might even come off a bit too much if you start rambling like a leading encyclopaedia.
But the worst is pretending you know more than you actually do.
This is probably one of the biggest mistakes “beginners” do in the jet-set world. They feel insecure and want to make a good impression so they start acting over confidently about certain topics.
This is very easy to see through, especially for the millionaire/billionaire types who interact with people who like to show off on a regular basis. It has happened many times I’ve been in groups where a new person been very cocky about his/her knowledge and had the people laughing about it behind the persons back.
Do not try too hard.
Be natural and never pretend you know more than you do. If you are very confident in a particular subject, feel free to speak passionately about it – that’s often very appreciated. But never go to the limits of bragging and acting like you know it all.
If you are about to get to know someone of the jet-set crowd, be prepared that these questions might arisen.
– Where are you from? – Where do you live? – Where did you grow up? – What’s the typical dish of your country? – Any question about your country including politics or comments about the weather. – What do you do for a living? – What did you study? – Where do you usually go out at night? – What is your favourite food or restaurant? – How do you know someone in the group? – Have you ever been to XXX country? – Do you follow football? etc.
You see, pretty standard questions and nothing to really feel intimidated by. If you don’t know what to speak to the person about you can always refer to this list for ideas. Once you get a few questions rolling, it’s easy to spin on other topics when you get to know each other a little bit better.
If there is a group conversation going on, topics may be more general and about politics, travel, football etc.
My suggestion is to follow the news to get an overview of what’s happening in the world.
But also get a basic understanding on football teams, different types of wine, famous artists/art movements, who is who in politics, the best hotels/restaurants/places to go to, the hottest cars etc.
The more you listen to people who talk about these topics, the easier it will be for you to snap up and learn from them. In the beginning, listen more and observe then contribute. Once you know your stuff, join in!
However, sometimes people like to put you on the spotlight with a question you have absolutely no idea about.
Let’s say they ask what your favourite wine is. In your mind you have zero clue about what’s considered good wine, especially if you usually pick the cheapest one in the store (never say that though).
Mind you, there might also be a follow up question, “WHY you like this particular wine”, so don’t shoot yourself in the foot too early.
Remember that you have always the right to say that you don’t know – but of course, you will feel a little bit dumb using that phrase unless you’re really desperate for a way out.
If you want to get out of the situation with no further judgement and without pulling the “I don’t know card”, here are some examples of what you can say to try and escape.
“Hmmm… I’m not sure I can decide to be honest.. This one was tough! Which one is your favourite?” (Turning the question back and around works usually to lead off the attention as people enjoy talking more about themselves than actually listening to others).
“I’m not really a wine drinker, so I’ll need to pass this one. ”
“You know there was this wine I’ve tried ages ago which totally blew me away (lie of course)… Hmmm… The problem is that I can’t remember what it was named as it was quite rare, but it was absolutely divine. If I’ll remember I’ll let you know”.
To pull these off, you’ll need to say it confidently and with some basic acting skills. Nothing sounds worse than obvious lies!
But of course it happens and will happen many times you will be asked questions which will make you uncomfortable because of your little knowledge about it. It still happens to me sometimes, and I guess the trick is to just act relaxed about it and bullshit your way out somehow.
Unless you are at a very formal gathering, the jet-set conversation topics will often be quite casual and nothing for you to really worry about. Like I said in the beginning, these are just normal people. Jokes, exchange of opinions and passionate discussions is how everyone socialises.
But for you to be on the safe side, try and avoid following unless you know the people well:
– Don’t speak about racial or religious topics.
– Don’t lie too much, as it can always backfire.
– Think about what jokes you make, some jokes are not always considered funny, even if you personally think so.
– If you have extreme opinions of any kind, keep them for yourself unless you really know the group.
– Don’t bring up very heavy topics that kills the vibe.
– Don’t sound too deep or too pretentious when you speak.
– Don’t use overly complicated words. Speak naturally and never curse.
– Don’t share any stories that might come across as too personal. It will become very awkward for everyone.
– Don’t ask a person you don’t know too personal questions. If you’re unsure you should always excuse yourself prior by saying “Sorry, may I ask if….”.
– Don’t take up too much space before you are familiar with the new group. Nobody likes when an outsider takes over too much.
– Don’t use the word “like” too often.
So what to do? How to act to be liked?
I’ve noticed over the years how some girls become more popular with people thanks to their communication skills. Here is how:
– You should be a good storyteller. People enjoy listening to others stories, but you better know how to create a good build up.
– Crack a joke once in a while.
– Smile and laugh, it brings positive energy to the table.
– Ask questions, people looove talking about themselves and share their stories.
– Express your opinions but don’t go over board. Neither should you be opinion-less as nobody thinks the “I don’t know” girl is fun.
– Don’t wait to interact with people or the group. Follow the conversation with interest. If you are passive and look bored, the chances are you’ll turn in to the outsider.
– Be yourself. A cliché that always works.
(If I’ve missed anything, feel free to add in the comments section)