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Not everyone is born with the gift of gab. But being able to strike up a conversation is a very important life skill. It is important in terms of personal relationships. Every friendship and love affair has to start with a first conversation. In terms of business, being able to open a conversation is also quite important, especially for individuals who are in sales. In fact, being able to start up conversations is so important, that entire books and seminars are devoted to this very subject.
The most important thing about starting a conversation is to be as natural and relaxed as possible. If you seem nervous or uncomfortable, it is likely that you will make the other person feel the same way, and that the conversation will either fall flat or feel awkward. So, before you approach someone to begin a conversation, take a deep breath and make sure that you have something to talk about. The best two topics to open a conversation with are the present situation and something regarding the person that you are approaching.
Here are some examples of conversation starters that have to do with the situation:
Conversation starter in an academic setting: “I really like the books that we are reading, but I can’t help but notice that the professor picks his nose during the whole lecture. Have you noticed that as well?”
Conversation starter in a professional setting: “I saw that you were in the quarterly meeting last week. What did you think about George’s remark on what is happening in Singapore?”
Conversation starter at a bar, party, or other leisure spot: “What do you think of this music?”
Conversation starter in an academic or professional setting: “Your presentation was really great. Where did you come up with that idea?”
Conversation starter at a bar, party, or other leisure spot: “I noticed that you were carrying the latest issue of the New Yorker. Have you gotten to David Sedaris’ essay yet?”
In order to open a conversation, you will have to improvise so that your starter matches the circumstances. All of the conversation starters above were imagined for application in a specific setting. During the conversation, remember to pay attention to what the other person says and to respond in kind. Also, if it turns out that the person simply isn’t in the mood to chat for some reason, end the conversation gracefully.
Cupcake15-I do find that men like to talk about their work.
I think that good business conversation starters could be to ask the interviewer how they started with the company.
They will proudly let you know how they got their start. If you can find something that the person is proud of you should always consider this a great source of conversation.
For example, if the interviewer has a plaque or an award of some kind on his or her desk, you should ask about the achievement.
People do like to talk about themselves especially when they discuss their most proud moments.
Sometimes if you notice that the representative has children, you should mention that
in conversation and maybe ask about their ages.
If you have children too, this would be an excellent opportunity to connect with the representative.
I also want to add that dinner conversation starters are usually a little different and tend to pertain to light current events and issues that are not controversial.
Sunny27-Great conversation starters always have a relatable comment or question.
If you are observant you can pick up clues that might make it easy to strike up a conversation.
Noticing a handbag or admiring a watch or a pair of shoes is an easy way to strike up a conversation with women.
Open ended questions work best because they allow the person to continue to talk. The more the person talks the more you will learn about them which will make it easier to contribute to the conversation.
Conversation starters with men could relate to current events or business. Admiring a car or watch can go a long way in encouraging conversation. Men enjoy talking about their work and their achievements, so if the conversation could be directed in this fashion you will have a lively conversation.
Oasis11- I agree with you. I think that party conversation starters can be difficult at first, but if you find some common ground with someone at the party it does make things easier.
Sometimes the conservation flows naturally, but other times you have to think about what to say.
Great conversation starter questions could be, “How do you know the host?” Another question could relate to how long the person has lived in the community.
I always find with party conversation starters that I try to talk about something that I may have in common with the person. This is easy if it is a child’s party from school because then you can discuss the school itself
, the curriculum, and the teacher for example.
From that point you can move into other areas of commonality that you discovered through conversation.
Just remember to listen more than you talk because people will not want to hear you talk about you talking about yourself incessantly.
Asking questions and moving your body toward the person that you are speaking to gives them positive body language messages that will encourage them to continue.
Good article- I think those were great examples. I also want to add that complimenting someone on what they are wearing is another good conversation starter.
Most people love talking about themselves and what makes a person open up more than a compliment. The compliment should always be sincere.
For example, if a mother is holding a baby that you think is unattractive rather than saying how cute the baby is, you can comment on the clothing that the baby is wearing or how you love babies in general. You may even ask how old the baby is.
This way you do get the conversation started in a polite yet sincere manner.
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