Striking Up a Conversation
It’s normal to feel a bit nervous when approaching someone new. Everyone gets a little shy at first; after all, you don’t know what this other person is like. The only way to know for sure is to get over the shyness and approach them.
Start with some ice breakers to start a conversation and follow-up questions to sustain the conversation. Listen attentively to their responses – this can make or break your follow-up questions.
Here are 5 Tips to get that conversation started:
1. “How are you doing today?”
A genuine hello accompanied by a heart-warming, three second smile is one of the most basic, highly effective ice breakers there is.
Often, we brush simple things aside as being too simple not realising the simplest things can have the biggest impact in life.
Think about the people who say “good morning” or “hi” to their neighbours. This simple greeting is usually followed up with “how are you” or “how are the kids?” Before long, the two parties are talking about their families and even favourite sports teams.
2. “Nice shirt!”
This comment represents a classic technique that is quite effective for starting a conversation.
Regardless of whom you are talking to, saying something genuinely nice about their outfit, accessories or even mood will usually be received well.
The person receiving the compliment will thank you and possibly say something nice about you in return. In doing this, a dialogue begins. Keep the dialogue going by asking a question like “Where did you buy the shirt? I really like it.”
3. “Do they always have such long queues?”
Simply commenting on an unpleasant or uncomfortable situation that you both experience in your immediate surroundings is another effective strategy for starting a conversation.
You can comment on literally anything from a long queue to noisy waiting room or a wobbly chair.
By focusing on an unpleasant situation that you both find yourselves in and subtly complaining about it, you cleverly suck the other person into an unwitting pact that unites both of you against a common enemy.
4. “It’s raining cats and dogs”
Yes. Talk about the weather. It may sound clichéd, but it works wonders in real life.
People talk about the weather all the time – and it’s a topic everyone has an opinion on! Think of how you have an opinion about what dress or fashion choice is right for different weather.
Once the person responds, you can ease into the conversation with “small talk” like, “The wind is so strong; it nearly blew me over!”
5. “Oh, did you hear about…”
Kick-start a conversation with a description of an interesting, entertaining and/or funny story.
Get right in to your story description and then allow the other person to make a remark or share an opinion of the story.
If your story is interesting enough, there really is no telling where it could take the ensuing dialogue and for how long you could stretch the conversation once your new friend gets on board.
As Business Development Director for Creativedge Training & Development Ltd, my main focus is to drive and increase new business opportunities for Creativedge.
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