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How to Start a Conversation

“Don’t knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn’t start a conversation if it didn’t change once in a while.” ~ Kim Hubbard

I must confess: I used to be terrible at making small-talk with strangers. The thought of attending a party where I barely knew a handful of people used to send me into jitters.

But then I started to realize what I was missing out on and how important good conversational skills are to building warm and long-lasting relationships.

I am much more confident now than I was a few years back and I would like to share with you a few tips that have helped me emerge from hiding behind the curtains and take that first step forward in initiating a conversation.

Hope they will help you find an easy solution to starting a conversation!

5 Ways to Start a Conversation with Anyone, Anywhere

1. Open with a friendly smile.

A genuine smile can win wars and open closed doors. No one wants to strike up a conversation with a dour-faced person. So be confident, genuine and show interest in what the other person is talking about and smile!

Watch your body language. It may be revealing more about your true intentions than you know. Crossing your arms in front of your body, leaning away from the other person, no eye contact etc. are all subtle indications of your low interest in the conversation underway and might put off the other person in talking with you.

2. You don’t have to be exceptionally clever or witty.

Don’t waste a lot of time trying to come up with the best one-liners. Your opening line is just that – an opening for you to start a dialogue with someone. Much of what happens after that depends on how and what you speak after the first opening lines and how comfortable the other person is in taking the conversation forward.

A few easy conversation starters are recently released movies or sports. Or if you are talking to a stranger at a party, you can start by introducing yourself and then asking them how they know the host.

If you are waiting for a parent-teacher meet, you can strike up a conversation with the other parents about school activities or kids in general, as long as you are not nit-picking or complaining.

And the best one of all, start with a heart-felt compliment! It can put an instant smile on their face and make them more receptive to your attempts to strike a conversation.

3. Keep your expectations moderate.

Don’t expect people to fall over themselves to have a conversation with you each time. They might just not have the time, mood or the inclination to talk at that point of time. Observe their body language and move out gracefully if it seems that they are not interested in talking.

Do not take it too personal or let it keep you away from initiating a conversation the next time. It may even be that they are too shy to talk to strangers. If that it is the case, you may have to take the lead in continuing the conversation and put them at ease.

Related: End Your Shyness Now

4. Do your homework.

Stay abreast with latest topics. If the conversation has been directed to unfamiliar grounds, ask questions and show your interest in learning more about it.

Most people will be only too happy to share their knowledge as long as they feel that you are genuinely interested.

5. Be positive and avoid complaining.

No one likes to listen to a constant whiner. Avoid cribbing, moaning or sharing your negative outlooks on life with every person you meet. All of us have enough problems already; we don’t want a person who is only going to add to it!

And while on the topic of how to start a conversation, it is better to stay far away from potentially touchy topics such as religion and politics while talking to strangers to avoid your conversation erupting into a nasty debate.

What is your tried-and-tested method to start a conversation with others? Share with us in the comments below!

Image by orangeacid.

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