Starting a conversation is often difficult, especially if you are dealing with social anxiety. However, there are many ways to start a conversation that can work in both personal and professional situations.
So, I’ve decided to take a look at five different ways of starting a conversation, along with examples of how each one works. I will also include a list of ice breakers you can use to get the ball rolling!
- What Is A Conservation Starter?
- Open-Ended Questions
- Ice breakers
- Common Ground
- The Best Ways To Start a Conversation in Different Situations
- Dealing With Social Anxiety
- Easy Ways To Start a Conversation
- Keeping a Conversation Going
- Why Not Excel In Any Conversation!
- Final Thoughts
What Is A Conservation Starter?
A conversation starter is a phrase or question that you can use to start a conversation with someone. They can be used in both personal and professional situations and can help you to overcome social anxiety by giving you something to talk about.
Five different types of conversation starters
- Open-ended questions
- Ice breakers
- Common Ground
Compliments are a great way to start off a conversation with someone, and they can help you to build rapport quickly. When giving a compliment, be sure to make it genuine and specific. For example, rather than saying “you are pretty,” say “I love your dress, it is so pretty!” or “that color looks great on you!”
You can also give a compliment on something the person has done, such as “you did an amazing job with that presentation today.” This is especially useful in professional settings where you may not have anything else to talk about besides work-related topics or if they are your boss and there is not much common ground to start from.
Compliments can also be a way to flirt with someone but be sure that you are reading the other person’s signals before doing so. If they seem uncomfortable or uninterested, back off and try another conversation starter.
Examples of compliments include
- You have a great style.
- That is a beautiful dress/watch/pair of shoes etc.
- I love your hair/eyes/smile.
- You are really good at X (a skill the person has).
Open-ended questions are a great way to start a conversation because they allow the other person to talk about themselves. When asking an open-ended question, be sure to wait for the other person to answer before you say anything else.
This will help you to avoid talking too much and will also give the other person a chance to share their thoughts and feelings.
Some good open-ended questions include
- What brings you here today?
- How do you know the host/hostess?
- What do you think of the event/party so far?
Statements can also be a great way to start a conversation. When making a statement, be sure to make it interesting and relevant to the other person. For example, you could say, “I love your necklace, where did you get it?” or “this is my first time at this event, what do you think?”
Be sure not to use statements that are too personal or invasive. For example, asking someone their age or what they do for a living can be uncomfortable for some people. If you are not sure if a statement is too personal, ask the other person first!
If you do not know the other person very well, or if you are feeling shy, ice breakers can be a great way to start a conversation. Ice breakers are questions or statements that are designed to help people get to know each other.
They can be used in both personal and professional situations, and they can help you to overcome social anxiety by giving you something to talk about.
Some good ice breaker questions include
- What is your favorite TV show?
- What is your favorite movie?
- Do you like to travel? Where have you been?
- What are your hobbies?
- Where are you from? / Where do you live now?
If you do not know what to say, you can always ask the other person about their interests or hobbies. They will likely be happy to tell you all about them!
When starting a conversation, it is important to find common ground with the other person. This will help you to feel more comfortable and will make it easier for both of you to talk. You can try by talking about things that you have in common, such as interests, hobbies, or your hometown.
If you do not have anything in common, you can always ask the other person about themselves. This is a great way to learn more about them and to build rapport. Additionally, you can use the situation to your advantage. In a coffee shop: ask about their order! Outside: comment on the weather.
Examples of using common ground as a conversation starter include
- It is a bit chilly today, isn’t it?
- What did you order?
- Do you normally play this sport?
The best way to begin a conversation is by using one of the methods discussed above. Be sure to choose the method that is most appropriate for the situation and be yourself! The other person will likely appreciate your effort and will be more likely to want to talk to you.
The Best Ways To Start a Conversation in Different Situations
In Personal Situations
Here are some examples of conversation starters in personal situations:
- Eating at a restaurant: “What did you order? How is it?”
- At a party: “Do you know many people here? Have you been to this kind of party before?”
- Meeting someone new: “What do you do for work? Do you like it?” or “Where are you from? / Where do you live now?”
- Talking to a friend: “How have you been? What’s new with you?”
In Professional Situations
Here are some examples of the best conversation starters in professional situations.
- Meeting someone for the first time: “What do you do for work? Do you like it?” or “Where are you from? / Where do you live now?”
- At a business meeting: “How has your day been? What have you been working on lately?”
- Talking to a client: “What can I help you with today? How did you hear about our company?”
Dealing With Social Anxiety
If you are feeling shy or uncomfortable, it can be difficult to start a conversation. However, it is important to remember that the other person is probably feeling just as nervous as you are. By taking the time to relax and breathe, you can put yourself in a better frame of mind to talk to the other person.
Here are some tips for dealing with social anxiety:
Relax your muscles
Tense muscles can make you feel more anxious and tense. Try to relax your body by taking a few deep breaths and focusing on your breath.
Think about things that make you happy
When you focus on positive thoughts, it can help to reduce feelings of anxiety. Remember that the other person is probably just as nervous as you are, so try to be friendly and smile!
Practice positive self-talk
When you find yourself feeling anxious about starting a conversation, tell yourself, “I can do this” or “It will all be okay.’ These positive affirmations can help you to feel more confident and relaxed.
By following these tips, you can put yourself in a better position to start a conversation with the other person. Remember to be yourself and take your time. The other person will appreciate your effort!
Easy Ways To Start a Conversation
Here are some easy topics to start a conversation:
This is always a safe topic to talk about, and it can be interesting to see how the other person perceives the weather.
Everyone loves to talk about their favorite foods and restaurants. Ask the other person what they like to eat or where they like to go out for dinner.
This is a great topic to discuss if you are meeting someone for the first time. You can ask them about their hometown and what it is like there.
Plans for the weekend
This is another great topic to discuss if you are meeting someone for the first time. Ask them what they have planned for the weekend and whether they have any fun activities lined up.
A recent news story
This is a great way to start a conversation if you want to know more about the other person. Ask them what they think of the news story and what their opinion on it is. This can lead to an interesting conversation about politics or current events!
If you are both travel enthusiasts, this is a great topic to discuss. You can swap stories about your favorite trips and ask the other person where they would like to go next.
Your hobbies or interests
This is another great way to start a conversation with someone you have just met. Ask them about their hobbies or interests and see if you have anything in common. You may be surprised to find out that you have a lot in common!
By using these topics, you can start a conversation with ease!
Keeping a Conversation Going
Here are some tips for keeping a conversation going:
Ask follow-up questions
After the other person answers your question, ask them another one to keep the conversation going. This will show that you are truly interested in what they have to say and want to know more about their life.
Compliments make people feel good, and they can help to make a conversation more comfortable. Be sure to give genuine compliments, not insincere ones.
Make light jokes
Jokes can be a great way to break the ice and make a conversation more fun. Just be careful not to tell too many jokes, or else you may come across as being rude!
When you share stories with the other person, it can help to build a connection with them. Be sure to share interesting stories that will make the other person want to hear more.
Maintain eye contact
Maintaining eye contact is a sign of respect, and it shows that you are listening attentively to what the other person has said.
Open body language
Keep your arms uncrossed and make sure to face the other person directly when talking to them.
Actively listening to the other person is one of the best ways to show that you are interested in them. Make sure not to interrupt and only speak when it is your turn to do so.
By using these tips, you can keep a conversation going and get to know the other person better!
Why Not Excel In Any Conversation!
We’ve put together our top choice of online handbooks such as How to Talk to Anyone About Anything: How to Communicate Better, Improve Social Skills, or Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, and finally The Social Skills Guidebook: Manage Shyness, Improve Your Conversations available in 2023.
Furthermore, we have The Fine Art of Small Talk: How to Start a Conversation, Keep It Going, Build Networking Skills, Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time, as well as How to Speak Effectively Anywhere: Real and Proven Ways to Develop Effective Communication Skills to help in various social and professional situations.
Lastly, we also recommend reading The Art of Conversation: How to Communicate Effectively by Refining Your Social Skill, Ask Powerful Questions: Create Conversations That Matter, The Conversation Code: How to Upgrade Your Social Skills and Your Life, and the Conversations Worth Having also available online today.
Learning the best ways to start a conversation is an important skill that can help you in both your personal and professional lives. By using one of these great conversation starters, you will become more confident when talking with others!
Remember that everyone feels nervous at times, so try not to let it get in the way of starting conversations. If you find yourself feeling shy or uncomfortable, take a few deep breaths and relax. With practice, you will be able to start conversations with ease.
Good luck and sure you’ll be the life of the party!