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Sunday, June 8, 2008

Conversation Starters

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Are you looking for conversation starters? How does one start a conversation anyway?

Don’t you admire people who waltz into a room and immediately find themselves immediately sharing jokes with someone, while you’re standing alone, all self-conscious, hoping for something to happen?
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The thing is, we all feel nervous when encountering strangers for the first time. We all wait for someone to come and talk to us.

Take the initiative and talk to someone. Chances are, that person will be relieved that you did and you would have gained valuable experience as well as an increased sense of confidence.

Starting a conversation with a stranger can be daunting, but the rewards can be great. Here are some conversation starters that can help you start a conversation.

Greet and introduce yourself – The most basic technique available. All you need to know is the word “Hello” together with your name.

State a fact – This is something that is known as small talk. If you’re seated in the audience waiting for the show/speech to start, you could turn to the person seated beside you and say: “Lots of people seated here today.” or something to that effect, just to try to break the ice.

Make an inquiry – This is an easy one. Just ask someone around you a question. Everybody likes to feel important, and asking them a question is a way to say: “I think you are knowledgable and I want to hear what you have to say.”

Use a leading question – A leading question is one which attempts to guide the respondent's answer. Leading questions which lead the conversation to a certain topic could easily serve as a good conversation starter, and will depend on the situation at hand.

Ask open ended questions – Open-ended questions are questions that encourage people to talk. They help in establishing rapport and helps gathers information about the speaker. These questions avoid simple brief response such “yes” or “no.” which may easily kill off the flow of the conversation. These include questions such as “Tell me more about yourself.”

Pay a complement – This is something that will definitely endear you to the other person fast. Everybody likes to be complemented, and as long as it is done sincerely, from the heart, there is absolutely no drawback.

Look for items on the person to comment – This technique is usually used in tandem with paying a complement. When you look at a person, immediately identify something nice which that person is wearing and mention it.

John Maxwell, one of the world’s leading experts of leadership, has a 30-second rule. He advocates saying something nice to each person you meet 30 seconds upon meeting them. If each individual in this world follows this rule, the world will indeed become a better place to live in.

The above are proven conversation starters that can be used to help break the ice with a stranger.

When employing these conversation starter techniques, do remember to employ the basic techniques of interpersonal communication such as practice active listening as well as becoming genuinely interested in the other person. Follow the five techniques of good interpersonal communication.
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This will not only allow you to get the conversation started, but also to get it moving as well. Start talking and practice better interpersonal communication, today!

6 comments:

C K said...

Really good tips there. I'm someone who's absolutely horrible with starting conversation.

Will definitely keep these tips in mind. Looking forward to more fantastic posts. Cheers!

maiylah said...

Great tips on starting a conversation. I am also a John Maxwell enthusiast and I am glad to learn about his 30 second rule from you.

Thanks!

Nishadha said...

This is a very interesting article , I guess I would go for ask a question method and this reminds me to compliment my Project manager more often :)

Bobby said...

This is a great article. I am always at a loss when facing a crowd of people and am terrible with small talk. I will try some of these out. I came here by way of Jasmin's Heart.

Wenbin Nah said...

I'm glad that this article has helped you guys out in some way.

Interpersonal Communication Skills said...

Very useful tips. Simple yet effective in starting a conversation =)