How To Start a Conversation
There are many social situations that call for interaction. Breaking the ice and starting to talk to someone you don't know can be difficult. Someone you've never spoken to before can seem big and scary. But learning how to start a conversation is really just using good manners and showing a genuine interest in others. The secret of speaking to someone you've never met is not to get nervous, pay attention and ask questions.
In general, people like to talk about themselves and will respond favorably when asked simple, friendly questions. Here are some ways of getting people talking:
- Start with a simple - Hello (or some other greeting)
- Look around you. Situational starters are the best to initiate a conversation. Perceive what's going on around you, and talk about it in an interesting way.
- Offer a compliment. Don’t overdo it, though. Don't lie and say you love someone's hair when you don't, but if you like someone's dress, or shoes, then say so. A sincere compliment is a wonderful way to get someone to warm up to you. Be careful, though, not to say anything personal that will scare the person off. It is best not to compliment a person's looks or body.
- Be polite. If you want people to like you and want to get to know you, politeness helps a lot.
- Practice shy confidence. Be confident in forcing yourself to speak to the person in question, but be shy as in letting them know that you respect them enough to worry about their reply.
- Ask questions. People love to talk about themselves, so get them going. This is an old technique, but it works well. As you don't know the person very well, you don't want to pry into anything too personal. Just keep it friendly and respectful, don't go into interrogation mode.
- Practice. Making conversation is a skill, which has to be learned.
The difficulty with this conversation is that it's very different from most of the ones I've had of late. Which, as I explained, have mostly been with trees. - Douglas Adams
Speech is civilization itself. The word, even the most contradictious word, preserves contact — it is silence which isolates. - Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain