Starting a conversation is one of the hardest parts of communication. Some conversations begin easily, but others seem as if it hard work just to get them off the ground. Having a good idea of great ways to start a conversation will help you avoid problems the next time you try to begin a conversation.
There are five basic things you must know about starting a conversation that will end up being interesting and fun. The following outline explains how and why they work. Try keeping these in mind the next time you chose to start a conversation.
1. Do not drill with questions.
The person you are talking with should not feel as if they are facing the firing squad. Do not keep firing questions at them without giving your own feedback and actually conversing.
Nothing is worse than feeling like you are getting the third degree. Asking too many questions quickly will only make the other person feel uncomfortable and leave them looking for a way out of the conversation before it has really begun.
2. Be funny.
This is not meaning you need to do a stand up routine, but just tell a funny story to break the ice. You’d be surprised how sharing something funny that happened to you will get others to open up. Everyone loves to laugh and laughing makes people feel comfortable. This is a sure fire way to lighten up tense and get people talking.
3. Ask open ended questions.
Open ended questions are questions that require more than a simple yes or no answer. Open ended questions allow people to elaborate and this creates conversation. You are drawing the person out and making them become part of a conversation.
Open ended questions bring growth to a conversation as opposed to questions with yes or no answers that stunt the growth of conversation. You can avoid awkward periods of silence that usually follow a yes or no questions as well.
4. Make the other person comfortable.
You can really get a person talking if they are happy to be talking to you. Let them initiate topics if you notice they seem uncomfortable. If you notice they seem distracted ask them if there is anything you can do to help. Maybe they really need to talk about something, but didn’t want to bring it up.
You can turn a total stranger into a friend by just making them feel as if you want to hear what they have to say and that you care about what they have say. Watch invading personal space also. Stand far enough to give them breathing room, but close enough to be able to clearly hear them.
5. Bring up a subject everyone can talk about.
The safest bet in starting a conversation is finding common ground. Pet peeves make for good conversation starters because everyone has them. You can start off by telling a story about one of your pet peeves and others are sure to join in.
These conversations tend to make everyone laugh and really enjoy the conversation. A feeling of camaraderie also forms and allows everyone to talk freely, making for great conversation.
These five tips can help anyone learn how to be a better conversation starter. You can use them all or just chose one or two you really like. Test them out to see how good each works for you. Knowing ahead of time what you want to say can also help ease your nerves about a situation.
Keeping these five conversation starter tips on your mind will definitely help you to be better at the art of communication.
Peter Murphy is a peak performance expert. He recently produced a very popular free report: 10 Simple Steps to Developing Communication Confidence. Apply now because it is available only at: conversation starters