How to start a conversation

You need to learn the art of small talk.

Small talk is often downplayed as being superfluous. The thing is- it serves a vital purpose. Through it the groundwork is laid for the entirety of the conversation. You discover a person's interests, begin to understand their personality and connect with them. But it goes further.

Consciously or subconsciously, we all make judgements of people’s character within seconds of meeting them.

How healthy do they look?

Do they maintain proper hygiene?

What are they wearing?

The conclusions we reach are called first impressions and it’s important they’re positive. Instead of being overwhelmed with all the details, though, focus on the few elements that have the biggest effect.

Being one of the first things that people notice, posture is a good place to start. Everything comes together here: your clothing, grooming- all of it. If you put forth consistent effort, good posture will soon become natural and will contribute to your perceived confidence.

How do you want to come across?

The details differ depending on the situation, but the core mind-set remains the same: a balancednot cocky- display of self-confidence along with a positive attitude. And keep in mind you'll need to adjust the proportions of those qualities for different occasions. Business settings generally demand a more serious tone. At parties liveliness is the norm. The atmosphere of a charity gala is a bit of a balance between those two situations.

Of course, understanding how to adapt doesn’t happen overnight. This will take practice- but it steadily becomes easier.

Alright, so posture and mannerisms are what people first notice. Along those lines, the next step is to establish and maintain sincere eye contact. Sincerity is what you’re looking for here- so be sure that it is deep, but not too deep. Otherwise, you can make people feel uncomfortable.

Shortly after establishing eye contact, follow with an introductory gesture. In western countries, it’s generally the handshake. In eastern countries, the bow is most prominent. This should be performed with the same attitude and manner conveyed during your initial approach. Ie: if you’re at a party, the handshake should be just as relaxed as your posture. It’s all connected.

But why is all this minutiae important?

For one, a positive first impression buys you time and goodwill if you slip up in your conversation. Even more importantly, it sets the right tone for what follows.

There is no standardized "one-size-fits-all" script for breaking the ice, but there is a pseudo-framework that you can build conversations around.

The salutation is logically at the foundation of this framework. “Hello” is sufficient, but you should tailor your greeting to the setting if possible. It’s as simple as replacing “hello” with “good morning” when the day has just begun or “good evening” later on.

After the customary greeting, ask their name. Once you do, focus on listening.

If their name is foreign to you, ask them to spell it out (rather than repeat it) and it will make a stronger mental connection. With good reason, Dale Carnegie said that "a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” By remembering that name, you show true interest and respect- and this will yield massive returns later in your conversation. After they’ve given their name, reciprocate.

But after you’ve introducing yourself, what do you talk about?

It is at this point that most feel they have the hardest time. With a lack of subject matter, awkward pauses can put more holes in your conversation than swiss cheese (and I’d much rather treat myself to a gruyere). How do you avoid this?

For the most natural flow, you’ll need to formulate several questions ahead of time. The best occasion at which to do this would be as you’re approaching them -before any words are exchanged- and while you are exchanging greetings. Doing so at other points will distract you and give the impression that you're disinterested.

Keep in mind that you’re listening, not to look for opportunities to respond, but so you can learn more about the other person. Listen to what they say and observe what you can of the setting and their expressions. Nonverbal communication will teach you much about a person and their values.

All that said, let's put what we’ve just learned into practice.

Don’t overthink things.

Transition straight from salutations to gradually drawing the other person out with the aforementioned questions. During this exchange, try to discern when either of you are running out of things to say or the other person is losing interest.

Just before the line of dialogue is about to become stale, swing to a different (yet related) subject. Just as you were earlier prospecting for questions to open them up, now you are prospecting for deeper shared interests, experiences or opinions. The conversation becomes more relaxed as you build a rapport and can soon progress into deeper subjects.

Notice the progression?

It could be compared to driving a car. First you have to warm the engine by presenting yourself in a way so that others are comfortable with you. After the engine is warmed, you drive the car through some side-roads, asking probing questions so you can understand subjects that are of interest to your newfound acquaintance. One you've discerned those, you can merge onto the thoroughfare and get into some meaningful conversation.

Following the above advice will calibrate your GPS so you can get to the highway by the fastest and simplest route- no u-turns required!

(Note: I originally wrote this as a blog post for a website I have since taken down. Since it is the direct answer to your question, I hope it adds value to you; it certainly does more good here than in my “documents” folder 🙂 )

19 Replies to “How to start a conversation”

  1. Thanks for the A2A Ayesha Khan

    Here's how you can start (and have) good conversations:
    Don't aim to start a conversation. Let the person in front start it. This can be done by asking her/him open ended questions i.e. any questions which need more than 1 word answers…

    People love talking about themselves. Give them an opportunity and they will consider you to a good conversationalist (despite you having spoken very little). And you will build a good relationship with the person, which can culminate into a good friendship over time.

    But please do not indulge in sycophancy and flattery. They are easily seen through and spoil your reputation.

    Hope this helped. Let me know the results if you try them…

  2. people who can not initiate a conversation or maintain a conversation usually are afraid of “rejection” what if the other person did not like me , my views, my grammar, my accent, or….. something.

    If you get over this fear, the battle is won… if you do not give a damn about you ll be liked or not… you can initiate conversation with anybody with extreme ease(at least on your part)

    Now if you want to maintain a conversation, then of course you have to make the other person interested. That is heavily dependent on how much knowledge you have on the topic of conversation , so more you read, more you ll have to add on to the conversation. The topic must be of interest to both of you….. or you must know about it and the other must be interested in it….. you can guess a persons interest based on how they carry themselves, appearance,books they read, people they follow on quora, etc….. like if they are tanned, very likely they like outdoor sports, or are regular beach visitors….(or roast themselves in tanning machines to look that way)… so you might want to approach them and be like hey man, thats a great tan, where you get it?

    do you often go there?

    etc

    A compliment is usually a good way to initiate a conversation with anyone,

    hey bro.. nice watch….. must be expensive..

    whoa! that is a beautiful car,

    god! your dog is cute, awesome…

    and you should at least act like you mean it, or actually mean it. most people can detect fake complements …

    sarcasm is not your friend when you want to converse more , so avoid it…

    now when you want a conversation, you must obviously not go into controversial topics… politics, religion etc on which people can go extreme and become enraged, nor should you make them uncomfortable….

    and at last when you end up at an impasse, like” dude that is not right”, then it would not kill you if you say” hmmmm , I ll check it and get back to you”

    other general things will be maintaining politeness

    maintaining eye contact (do not roll your eyes , when they speak something you dont agree with or like)

    respecting their views even though differing with them

    ending at a pleasant note will do good for next time

    and apologizing immediately, if you offend by saying something inappropriate.

  3. I work in documentary TV and I have to often start conversations with people as part of my work and travels.

    In 10 Steps:

    1/ Smile. Don’t treat the person like a stranger. Assume you are two people who are very similar in every way and you just didn’t happen to meet each other yet. Imagine that any differences you may have represent a real opportunity for you to learn and understand. DON’T MAKE AN INTRODUCTION. Just assume that part away. Act like you are already friends or at least have a lot in common. You do. You already know lots about them. You know they love their friends, their home, and their family just like you. (This is true of every person on earth; have confidence in that.) You know they are in the same place and time as you. In the grand scheme of the universe you are practically one. Don’t treat them like a stranger.

    2/ Take note of something you genuinely like about the person. It can be anything from an interesting watch, a cute kid, voice, style, but must be authentic and not overtly sexualized.

    3/ Ask a question about the thing that requires more than a one word answer. This has to be a genuine question that you would like to know the answer to.

    4/ Do everything you can to show genuine and sincere interest in whatever the person says. Don’t look away, or at your watch. Don’t think of what you want to say next. Don’t butt in. Don’t one up them. Don’t reply with a like or similar story. Just listen with everything that’s in you. Listen with your whole body not just to the words but everything about the person. Listen carefully to the answer and ask a second contextualized question based on that answer that again requires more than a one word answer; this time more related to feelings about the thing rather than the thing.

    5/ Share your feelings about the thing and why you noticed it. Very briefly.

    6/ Ask them why they are wherever you are. What brought them there?

    7/ Listen carefully to their answer and ask a contextualized follow up question based on their answer.

    8/ Explain, again briefly, why you are there and why you are excited/interested/needed/ expected to be there.

    9/ Ask for a very small favour or piece of information. Which way to… What’s the best… Did you see… Can you tell me how to…

    10/ Be prepared to leave and politely say goodbye.

    At this point you’re done. You’ve had a conversation. Congratulations! There are lots of families that don’t have conversations this real or honest and you just did it with a person you didn’t know. Be openly appreciative of this amazing thing.

    Here’s the best part. If you did it right and it’s working properly the other person will likely pick up the thread and the conversation will not end it will continue in free form. Be open. Keep up the basics – smile, ask questions, listen, share, be positive, excited even, be with the person in the moment. Don’t drift off.

    Appreciate this amazing thing. Be openly happy that you got to talk to this person.

    There’s a good chance they will ask your name and more about you. But if not that’s fine too, it’s not the ‘prize’ of the conversation, it’s the start of a relationship, which is something completely other.

    If you feel there is a compelling, genuine reason, that is not simply about your self-interest, to start a relationship you can ask the other person their name or more information you might need. But only do it if there is a real and present, legitimate reason that, when you state it clearly, will be very easy for them to understand.

    One other thing. If you want to leave yourself open to other people starting conversations with you just think of the reverse of the above:

    1/ Smile.

    2/ Wear, do or carry something that is remarkable; that is to say the kind of thing that people who are like you might notice and remark about. Better yet, just BE remarkable.

    3/ Follow the steps above from the other side. Be open. Share. Don’t treat a person who legitimately wants to talk to you like a stranger. Don’t be afraid.

    Timeless Life

  4. Most answers to life’s problems are way over complicated and cause people to not take action because of it. I’ll give you the advice I got years ago from someone: To be interesting, be interested.

    Questions should be geared towards the person you are trying to get to know but if you know nothing about their background, then start with yourself. What would you want someone to ask you that would really allow them to get to know who you are as a person?

    The easy mistake to make is to start asking questions and then continuing without going deep.

    So go deep before you go wide.

    In other words, if you ask someone what they do for a living, don’t ask them next where they grew up. Instead go deep on the first question which shows you are interested in what they do. Now that you know they are a Doctor, you can ask what type and why they decided to take up that vocation. Then you can ask about the challenges they face that most people don’t understand. And keep going. You will gain a massive amount of information, be a much more informed and interesting person and allow people you meet to talk about their favorite subject. Themselves.

    Warning: when you get good at this, you also need to get good at talking about yourself because once you perfect this practice, you will start to get the same questions asked of you.

    To sum it up:

    1-Be genuinely interested (and you will be coming interested)

    2-Go deep vs. wide

  5. Here are some open-ended questions that will help . Remember that conversations are ALL about talking and listening – so don’t shoot these questions at them non-stop; make sure to listen and develop the answers and just go with the flow and have fun!

    1. Who is your favourite Disney villain?

    • Better than asking who their favourite Princess is. Do they sympathise with people portrayed as villains and see that good and evil are not simply categorized?

    2. Who are three of the most important people in your life?

    • Learn why they value people.

    3. What are you watching on Netflix right now?

    • Find out whether they like Netflix and what kind of things they like watching.

    4. What is the worst thing someone could do on a date with you?

    • Find out what they hate on dates – so you don’t do the same.

    5. What is your biggest fear?

    • Find out what makes them feel afraid and be prepared to see a more vulnerable side to them.

    6. How do you like to spend your day?

    • Find out what they prioritize and what daily things make them feel happy.

    7. Do you work best in the morning or the evening?

    • Find out about their routine and body clock.

    8. Do you keep in touch with people you no longer see regularly?

    • Learn how much they values relationships and loyalty.

    9. What did you want to be when you were a child?

    • This will make them think deeply about their life and remember good times, hopes and dreams etc. You can also learn about their childhood.

    10. What is a skill you wish you had?

    • See what skills they already have and what they think would be important.

    11. What is your family like?

    • It’s important to see how functional/dysfunctional their family is and what the dynamics are.

    12. What has been the best part of this year?

    • Make them reflect and think positively. Find out what they thinks makes a period of time good.

    13. If you were given a lump sum of money to start a business, what kind of business would you start?

    • Learn how creative, intelligent and ambitious they are and possibly what kind of a leader they’d be.

    14. What does your dream home look like?

    • See what kind of an environment they’d like to live in.

    15. If you could pursue any career, what would you choose to do?

    • Find out about their talents and ambitions.

    16. What is your Myers Briggs type?

    • See how compatible they are to you and how they solve problems.

    17. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

    • Find out about how they deal with events and communicates.

    18. Do you think that money makes the world go round?

    • Find out what value they place on money and what they think of the wider world.

    19. If you’re in a team-working task, what role do you take on?

    • Finding out how they work in a team will allow you to get an idea of your compatibility.

    20. What is your favourite drink?

    • Find out about their taste with this easy first date conversation starter and possibly order that drink to set a positive tone to the date.

    21. Do you like tattoos?

    • See if they’re artistic, a bit badass or has different views on tattoos.

    22. Have you ever read a book that changed the way you thought?

    • Find out if they enjoy reading and how they analyse things they read.

    23. What is a saying that you try to live by in life?

    • Find out what motivates them and their morality.

    24. If you had three wishes in life, what would they be?

    • Find out dreams and priorities and pretend to be a genie.

    25. If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?

    • Again, dreams, priorities and ambitions. See if they’re a giver as well.

    26. If you really like something on the menu, do you always order the same thing?

    • See how much they value ingrained habits.

    27. What is the best thing about your personality?

    • Give them a chance to brag and tell you why they’re great. It will make them happy and you can see what they value in themself.

    28. Do you find it easier to gain knowledge through books or hands-on experience?

    • Find out how they learn new information best.

    29. If you could invite anyone in the world to a dinner party, who would you invite?

    • See what kind of people they respect and what qualities they admire.

    30. What is your favourite way to stay healthy?

    • A more subtle and positive way of learning about their health and fitness than “Do you workout?”

    You’re welcome .

    If you found these helpful, I’ve actually compiled a list of 101 conversation starters, with more like these, plus deeper questions to ask as the date/meeting/whatever progresses. There’s more tips and the questions are colour-coded in the full version of this article .

  6. …Young children do this all the time. They will walk right up to someone and start a conversation. So a good answer would be to act child like.

    As long as you are non-threatening and curious you will do fine with “hello and how are you? What’s going on? “ If there is something you are curious about then ask. People do love to talk and especially to talk about themselves or what might be going on. You can tell very quickly if they like to talk and if they do then you just follow their lead. People love good listeners.

    Most people do not really listen. At times, you can see them thinking and formulating thoughts in their head before you even finish your first sentence. Open ended inquiries, like saying “what do you mean? or …“I don’t understand , could you explain that”?…is something people usually do not hear outside of a therapist's office.

    There are 2 other answers and they are good answers. Especially, if you want to join in the conversation. My answer was geared more to keeping the other person talking ( which is what I did for years ) as I always enjoyed listening to others more than hearing myself.

  7. 10 WAYS TO START AND MAINTAIN A CONVERSATION

    1. Give someone a compliment and tie it to a question.

      • That is a very nice sweater. Do you mind sharing where you got it?
      • I love your hair. Do you have a favorite salon?
      • Your lunch looks delicious. Did you make it yourself?
    • 2. Start a general conversation but make sure you are sharing too so that it doesn’t feel like an interrogation.
      • How are you?
      • What do you think of this weather?
      • Have you read any good books recently?
      • What have you been up to since I last saw you?
    • 3. Ask open ended questions.
      • Do you like sports?
      • Where do/did you go to college? What is/was your major?
      • How do you like to spend your weekends?
      • Do you enjoy reading?
    • 4. Ask “If you could only” questions.
      • What are the three things you would take with you to a deserted island?
      • You can only eat five different foods for the rest of your life, what are they?
      • If you could pick anyone, who would you like to spend an afternoon with?
      • You are stuck in a cabin for two years. What five books would you take with you?
    • 5. Here are some first date ice-breakers.
      • Where did you grow up?
      • What was it like growing up in your family?
      • Are you a cat or dog person?
      • Do you like to read? Do you like movies?
      • Who is your favorite actor?
    • 6. Start a conversation at work.
      • How was your weekend?
      • What is your favorite lunch restaurant?
      • Is it cold/hot in here or is it just me?
      • How is your day going? Are you busy?
      • Do you have a vacation planned?
    • 7. Find a common ground.
      • What kind of music do you listen to?
      • Who is your favorite author?
      • Do you like to go to concerts?
      • Do you like to travel?
      • Have you been in other countries before?
      • Describe your dream vacation.
    • 8. “Would you rather” questions.
      • Would you rather go without your smartphone or without a car for a month?
      • Would you rather be really busy in a job you love or be able to slack off at a job you are only vaguely interested in?
      • Would you rather be the most popular person or the smartest person in your social group?
      • Would you rather be the worst person on a great team or the best person on a good team?
    • 9. Let’s get serious.
      • If you were granted 3 wishes, but you couldn’t use them to wish for material things, what would you wish for?
      • Who has had the most influence on creating you as a person?
      • Describe the happiest day of your life.
      • Are people basically born good or bad?
      • What quality do you like best in yourself?
      • If you could choose your own first name, what would you choose and why?
    • 10. Use the S.O.F.T.E.N. technique to help create a great non-verbal impression.
      • – Smile
      • Open up your posture
      • Forward lean
      • Touch by shaking hands
      • Eye contact
      • Nod when the other person talks
    • A conversation is just a conversation. It can’t be effective or ineffective without having a purpose. First, you have to decide – what is it’s purpose? Are you trying to persuade? To impress? Maybe to inform? Possibly even to intimidate?

      From there, you can begin to build an effective conversation for the purpose required. To start with, you need to determine the nature of the conversation.

      Topics

      • Language and Tone

      • Body Language

      • Setting

      And you will need the conversation confidence and go forward to steer it in the direction you want to go. Be assertive, Be confident.

      Topics: The subject at hand has an impact on the atmosphere of the conversation. Positive topics have positive connotations and make light hearted conversations, great for building a good relationship with someone (eg in sales). Darker topics have the opposite effect and are effective in intimidation (eg in illegal business).

      Language/Tone: A conversation is just words being spoken. The words themselves affect the conversation, as do the way they’re spoken. Different words have different subliminal connotations and underlying associations and a good spokesperson will select their words carefully. Similarly, the tone they use will change the emotive effect of the words spoken and therefore alter the mood.

      Body Language: This one is less intricate. An open stance is inviting, a closed stance is rejecting. Posture matters, especially for first appearances. Slouching makes you harder to take seriously. Keep your chin up to appear confident. Don’t fidget.

      Setting: In my experience, there are two things that make me act differently – who i’m with, and where i am. We’ve already covered the Who, now we’re left with the Where. Informal settings make for a more casual and relaxed conversation, but are much less likely to be productive and effective (as it’s more ‘carefree’). Formal settings tend to be more tense and mannered, with more emphasis on social standards and a bigger sense of professionalism. Choose whichever one suits your conversational needs, and whichever you feel more comfortable conversing in.

      If you master all of these, your conversations are likely to become more effective and direct, and it will make it easier for you to condone respect.

      Joe

    • How Many Of You Want To Initiate Conversation & Leave People Deeply Impressed – In A Public Place/conferences/Meetings/Personal & Social Life – Where There Are Few Important People.

      The Small Talk – Is Something That Can

      1.Can Make You Mingle With Strangers Easily

      2.Can Make You Join Any Conversation

      3.Can Make You Change The Direction Of Any Conversation

      4.Can Actually Be A Great Time-Pass

      5.Can Make A Boring Union Interesting

      6.Can make you network with diverse groups easy

      Small Talk Is One Thing That Baffles Most People.

      Even Fewer People Are Capable Of Initiating & Maintaining Meaningful Conversations Which Connects Them With People Deeper.

      If You Are Shy & Introvert – Then It Looks Like A Herculean Task.

      There Are Many People You Will Come Across Who Impress You Short Term – Short Term Impressions Are Easily Mastered.

      But to Know How to Initiate & Have Great Small Talk & Whenever Needed – Talking Meaningful & Deeper with anyone => Can make a You Irresistible Person

      This Article Is About Initiating Conversation Through Small Talk, Join Any Type Of Conversation Mid-Way, Make Significant Contribution & Then Take It To A Powerful & Meaningful Level => Even With The People Who Are Very Senior In Knowledge, Experience, Expertise, Position & Power.

      This Is Not Easy – Will Take Even The People With Good Communicating Skills Months Of Practice.

      Others Need To Do This On A War Footing – To Acquire A Skill That Can Make Them Stand Out – In Most Distinctive Way.

      When in Public/Profession/Social Areas[or even among Family/Relatives] – You Will Come Across The Following Type Of People

      • 1.Hostile
      • 2.Totally Unresponsive
      • 3.Outright Rejecters – They Will Say Something Like This – This Is A Private Meeting
      • 4.Sulking – Not Welcoming Your Intrusion
      • 5.Doubting Your Intentions
      • 6.Wait & See Type
      • 7.Experimenter
      • 8. Welcomers
      • 9.People Who Will Add To Your Piece
      • 10.People Who Think That They Are Know It All Or Powerful To Dominate The Conversation

      So How Do We Initiate The Conversation– with an Unknown / Stranger Or a Group We Are Interested In Joining/Impressing/Networking With Etc Etc

      DON'Ts – this part is taken from my article “Initiating Conversation Through Small Talk To Making Meaningful Talks Mastering The Art Of Creating Powerful Impressions” on successunlimited-mantra website to read full visit

    • To me, the most important thing when it comes to starting a conversation is attitude. You want to smile, have an earnest and perhaps somewhat energized tone to your voice.

      Depending on the situation, you may want to introduce yourself first. Regardless, you should introduce yourself fairly shortly into the conversation, if you choose not to at the start. “"My name is ———, by the way”.

      No doubt you’ve heard that you should always avoid talking about religion or politics. That is an excellent policy. I even highly recommend it among friends.

      Really you can choose to talk about almost anything. For example, prior to the recent eclipse you could have asked someone if they planned to view it and then from there piggybacked off their response. (If I’m not mistaken, there are entire books dedicated to conversation starters)

      One thing I would recommend, especially if this is a “cold” conversation, meaning you don’t know the person, and especially if you’re trying to establish a repoir for dating purposes, don't talk too much about yourself unless asked. Instead draw them out. Ask them about themselves. Their ideas and thoughts. Everyone likes it when someone takes an interest in them. It's human nature.

      A lot of it is just practice. Most people are nervous about it when they’re younger. You just have to go out and do it and note what went well and what didn't.

      Sometimes it not really your fault if the attempt goes awry. Think about this. Can you have an intelligent or interesting conversation with a relatively unintelligent person? Not likely. Sometimes perhaps, but often they’re going to feel threatened, make you feel at fault by calling you names such as nerd, dweeb, dork, etc. (Not that you should ever intentionally talk down to or overly pedantic to anyone.) After awhile, you’ll mostly learn to gauge whether or not it’s even worth it to have a conversation with some people.

      So those are more or less the basics. Maintain adequate eye contact, be friendly and somewhat but not overly animated; broach a topic which has some potential and which most people would be familiar with. Avoid politics and religion at all costs unless you’re spoiling for a fight.

      Pay close attention to the other person’s verbal and non verbal cues for an idea of how things are going. Draw them out. Get them to talk about themselves. What they like and dislike. Most of all practice, practice, practice. Conversation is an art, a learned skill. It may come easier to some but anyone can learn it.

    • Just say hi and ask how their day is doing.

      Or take note of what book they're reading or something of note they're carrying and ask them about it.

      Or if they have a Hillary or Sanders bumper sticker ask them about it.

      Or if you're eating at KFC ask them how their chicken is and if they think the gravy is weird

      Or ask if they're from around here, and if not where are they from, and do they have flamingos there

      Or ask them which Shia Lebouf movie is the most ridiculous. Say it's for a bet

      Or pretend you're doing a survey and ask them which is their favorite ninja turtle

      Or complain about the weather and say you don't have weather like that over in Sudan. (When asked if you're from Sudan, say "No, I just don't think they have weather like this over there", unless you're actually from Sudan, then say yes)

      Or if there was a recent big sporting event, comment about it. Even if you know nothing about sports. ("Did you see that ludicrous display last night?")

      Or think about something you like and ask them "Hey, what do you think of [thing I like]?"

      Or ask them "what are some good ways to start a conversation?"

    • This question tugged at my heart!

      Having joined a company recently myself, I have had to “start a conversation” with new people pretty frequently.

      With some people, I tried talking about the weather. Even though that did break the ice, the topic did not last for more than a few sentences. And then awkward silence again 😛

      To some people I tried asking, “how’s work” and after 1–2 responses I started getting “same old”, “the usual” and so that didn’t work either.

      Then I started doing some things that actually worked. Here are some of them:

      1. Ask people about their college and pick a common topic from there – maybe a famous college fest of theirs, someone you know from their college etc.
      2. If you like something they are wearing, compliment them and maybe ask where did they get it from.
      3. Talk about the ambience of the place you are meeting the person in ( I usually talk to new people about the cafetaria food as I meet them over lunch)
      4. You can tell the person something interesting about your day rather than asking them questions!

      Hope one of these work for you! 🙂

    • Always keep in mind/remember these 3 things before approaching someone for a conversation:

      Think Positively: Not every person you meet will share the same opinion as you. They may dislike or even disagree with your point of views, which is totally fine. Everyone is different and have different thinkings. Don't take things personally.

      Look Presentable: No, you don't have to must look like a cover model for a fashion magazine. By means of looking presentable, you have to keep small basic things in mind, such as, make sure to you wear clean clothes and smells good.

      Be Polite: This may sound too much, but don't be rude or arrogant when you are talking with someone for the first time. Afterall a good first impression lasts and can create wonders.

      Now let's start a conversation!

      Start with a greeting

      ❝A simple hello could lead to a million things.❞

      Introduce yourself

      ❝That's the point of life, you know? To meet new people.❞
      — Sherman Alexie

      Find a common topic that you both can talk about

      ❝Share out similarities, Celebrate our differences.❞
      — M. Scott Peck

      Be funny but don't make fun of others

      ❝Respect people's feelings. Even if it doesn't mean anything to you, it could mean everything to them.❞

      Listening is a part of conversation

      ❝Speak in such a way that others love to listen to you.
      Listen in such a way that others love to speak to you. ❞
      — Unknown

      Ask for assistance or Offer Assistance (Help)

      ❝Helping one person might not change the whole world, but it could change the world for one person.❞
      — Unknown

      Conversation in a group

      ❝Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.❞
      — Amy Poehler

      Conversation with colleagues/Officials

      ❝Chance made us colleagues, Hearts made us friends.❞
      — Unknown

      End the conversation

      ❝Don't hesitate to goodbye! It's necessary to meeting again and again.❞

    • The easiest way to start a conversation with someone it to simply say Hi my name is _____, whats your name? Nice to meet you.

      But naturally it can be very nerve wracking to do so, but that’s all it takes.

      An introduction and a statement. When talking to people you can use the environment to start a conversation, look at what they are doing or wearing or even a item that they have.

      Be direct and relax, no need to be nervous your talking to a person just like yourself who eats poops and bleeds.

      The person you want to talk to has insecurities as well.

      The next thing you want to have when starting a conversation is confidence, but that is something that you have to get for yourself regardless of who teaches you about it and you might not even have it the first couple of times you start a conversation.

      Just go up to a person and use your words introduce yourself, and add a comment or a question and ask for their name.

    • Many people start the conversation by talking about weather. "Its a nice day today", or "its getting colder" and such. Some people start by asking about you – "How are you", "How you doing", "How was you day", "Whats going on", "Whats up" and such.

      I think a good way to start the conversation is by saying something funny but related. Poke fun of something around, some observation on the third party but not of the other party. Everybody likes sense of humor. To be safe and avoid the risk of offending someone, I start by saying something funny about myself. You might need to work on this if its not natural to you. May be watch some Comedians and find material/techniques that you can use. Its all around you, you just need to get used to it, get a hang of it.

      I heard once Russel Peters (Russell Peters) introduce himself to American audience by saying – "I am an Indian – the Convenience Store one, not the Casino one. The one they were originally looking for."

      Once you master the art of starting the conversation, then that's it. Conversation flows by itself, you juts needed to get it started.

    • You have some good responses from others, especially Chris Schapdick. What I would add is simple psychology. Talk about the other person, and the other person’s interests. Ask questions of the other person that aren’t too personal: How did you end up here today?, How do you know our host?, Have you seen <movie> yet? If so, how do you like it?

      Of course, you really need to listen to what the other person is saying. Ask questions based on what you hear. Follow up. Half of a conversation is actually paying attention to the other person, otherwise you are simply providing a lecture.

    • Its not about what you say but how you say it.  A simple hi will suffice. There is nothing wrong with simply establishing communication with someone you find interestong even if you have nothing to say. Dont search for words, just establish communication, smile, and the conversation will work itself out.

    • It depends what kind of situation you are in?

      If it is just a simple conversation where in the person next to you is unknown to you: share a smile, if you receive the same response, hold for a second or two and say hello or hi! No point wasting for other person to start. If you again get back a likely response then you shall ask certain small questions like:

      1)Do you belong to Lucknow(the place you are at)?

      2) Hi, its a nice weather, nice show, good doctor.. Etc.

      It is not always the case that you would look like desperate, the era we all belong to is different, making acquaintances, alliances, collaborations, and friends is normal and people appreciate this. Yes, the common sense does say that, do not be over talkative or over elaborate your statements. To the point with a gentle curve on your face is enough to break the ice!!

      Live life to its fullest, it is the most precious gift!

    • Number one tip is to stop caring about what others may think and even go so far to say their facial expressions and or body language doesn’t matter because in the end it doesn’t full stop. Be Self-important and be semi-selfish putting yourself close to first place but not really first place. Respect authority figures.

      Realize that life is ultimately meaningless it is considered to be a cruel, mean-spirited joke of a world. But it doesn’t mean you can preoccupy yourself with a diverse range of activities.

      The point i’m trying to make is you ultimately start conversations because deep down you find them interesting and want to find out a little bit of their life and how they work their personal lives..

      Is just go with the standard protocols like observations of the general environment from the flowers, the sky, sun or to the clothing they wear or ornaments, garments those sort of materials. praise them whenever you find it appropriate and the timing is right.

      That is how you can start a conversation with anybody and everybody. I seldom read it myself but I recommend the book ‘Body Language’ by Allan Pease. I’m sure it would skyrocket your self-confidence by a multiplier of 3x.

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