12 Tricks You Can Use to Start a Conversation With Anyone
Taking the first step is not always easy, especially when you have to talk to someone you’ve just met at work, at school, or at a party. But if you acquire the necessary skills, you may be able to strike up interesting conversations and even win friends.
5-Minute Crafts suggests that you put the following tricks into practice if you want to start a dialogue with anyone in different situations.
1. Greet with a simple phrase
This may sound like a cliché, but a good way to start talking to someone is by greeting them with this simple phrase: “Hey, how are you?”. There are many variations of this sentence, but the goal is to have them reply with “fine.” To which you can reply, “I’m glad you’re well, my name is...”.
One study showed that asking people how they feel, getting them to respond, and acknowledging that response facilitates a conversation, and even prompts them to act, for example, by offering their help.
2. Try to look presentable
If you look disheveled, the person you want to interact with may avoid talking with you. The opposite is true if your appearance is neat. You don’t need to wear fashionable, expensive clothes or clothes that are not your style, the important thing is that your appearance is nice and neat. Inevitably, the way you look can make a good or bad impression on others.
3. Start with a positive sentence
When trying to start a conversation, avoid making negative remarks. You can make a comment on any topic, no matter how simple it may seem to you: the weather, employment, food, sports, etc. But put an optimistic spin on it. For example, it’s okay to say, “It’s so cold! But the forecast says it will be sunny tomorrow,” instead of saying, “I hate rainy days.”
According to one study, people tend to react better to open and innocent statements. This type of conversation starter is less threatening and it encourages the other person to respond.
4. Ask for an opinion or a recommendation
Approach the people that you want to engage in a conversation with and ask them to recommend a good place to have a coffee or go out to eat in the city. You can adapt the question as you see fit, as long as you give them the opportunity to respond with their opinion. This is a good way to break the ice, as you allow the other people to open up and interact with you naturally.
5. Offer your help
Offering to help someone could end up in a good conversation. Whether in the workplace or at an event, find an opportunity to be helpful, for example, by giving up your seat, carrying a plate or a glass, or helping with work tasks.
It is difficult for people to refuse help when they really need it, even if it comes from a stranger. Moreover, they are predisposed to continue talking.
6. Find common ground
If you attend a meeting or event where you know most people have something in common with you, because you work or study in the same place, you can start a conversation with someone by asking, “Have you worked here long?” or something similar. Referring to what is familiar to both of you creates a connection and can result in an entertaining dialogue.
7. Look at their eyes and smile
Looking the person you are talking with in the eye and smiling can be the first step in a conversation. Doing this creates a connection with the other person and gives a good impression of you, without you having to say a word.
According to one study, people are more attracted to those who look at them directly and smile. It has nothing to do with physical attractiveness, but with the feeling of being interesting to the other person.
8. Give an honest compliment
It’s no secret that we all like to be complimented. That’s why you can use sincere compliments as conversation starters. Try saying something like, “I liked your presentation, where did you get that information?”. If you’re observant, you’ll be able to find something to compliment someone about. But remember to be honest and avoid exaggerating, so as not to scare off the person you’re talking with.
9. Ask a simple question
You don’t need to be too clever, just ask a simple question about the environment you and the person you want to talk with are in. For example, you can say to your travel companion, “Do you know if we’re getting snacks?”.
When the person answers you, you can continue by saying something about yourself and ask another question, this time a little more direct. By following this cycle, you may enjoy an interesting conversation with whoever is next to you.
10. Fill in the blanks with information
You are likely to start a conversation with someone in a roundabout way, but to keep their attention and keep talking, you need to give them honest information. For example, if you want to sit next to someone at lunchtime at work, you might ask, “May I sit down?” and continue, “I prefer to eat with company, it’s more entertaining.”
When you fill in what you’re saying by giving a “why” and a “what for,” you prevent the person you want to talk to from imagining everything you didn’t say and rejecting you. On the other hand, if you justify what you are asking for, your results may improve.
11. Listen carefully
One way to let the people you’re talking to know that you are listening attentively is to repeat the last words they say. This helps to strengthen the bond with the other people and to maintain good communication.
Learning to listen can be difficult because we tend to want to monopolize the conversation, which takes us away from the main objective — meeting new people.
12. Provide an easy way out
It is natural for a person to feel intimidated when a stranger approaches to talk to him or her, and he or she may want to escape immediately. To avoid this, give them an out yourself. After starting the conversation, mention that you can’t talk for long because you have to leave in 5 minutes, or something similar.
It may happen that the person you are talking to will relax after knowing that you will be brief and then they will feel comfortable chatting with you, so much so that they will forget the 5 minutes you mentioned before.