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We often find ourselves at a loss when we meet someone new, not knowing how to start a conversation. This is an important skill, especially at work. How to you do it?
Starting a conversation was always a such a daunting task for me. I remember back when I was just starting to embrace my introverted personality, starting a conversation seemed extremely impossible. I’d go through a gazillion things in my mind.
“What if I say something stupid?”
“What if I make a fool of myself?”
“What if they don’t like me?”
“What if they think I’m weird or stupid?”
“What I say something they don’t like?”
….so on and so forth…
But with time I’ve gotten better at this and now I can easily start a conversation with people. Here I’m going to share a few ideas that you can use too without the pressure of small talk or awkwardness.
Start with a Hi!
Okay, don’t judge, but even saying Hi can seem extremely scary to someone who needs to start a conversation.
You’d be surprised just how easy things go once you say HI pleasantly. Saying Hi first will not only break the ice but will also allow other people to feel welcomed and talk to you. If nothing it really boosts your confidence.
Search for a similarity that can keep the conversation going.
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably bad at small talk. When that’s the case, I try to look for a similarity to keep my conversation going. For e.g., If you’re at an event talk about that. Search for something you both might relate to.
This is a pretty great way to keep a conversation going. Ask open-ended questions to which the other person can reply. Try to keep it friendly and a lot less like an interview.
By asking an open-ended question there is a lot of engagement and it shows that you’re interested in the interaction.
Although I don’t use this often, but I’ve noticed this really helps as a conversation starter.
Complimenting someone is not pompous or presumptuous it’s in fact considered a quite friendly gesture. In fact, when I want to reach out virtually to someone whose work, I really appreciate I do start by complimenting them. It sometimes does conclude in a good virtual conversation.
Such a great great way to start a conversation. Even though it doesn’t always guarantee a hit it’s still a great way to boost your confidence and it’s a good deed.
Just a simple smile or a wave can help a great deal in order to break the ice.
I’ve personally experienced that this simple conversation starter has helped me to not only initiate a simple conversation but made me feel extremely confident in communicating in other areas of my life.
It’s not enough to start a conversation, you’ve got to keep it going.
Listening is a simple technique that is so important and kind of lets the other person know how interested you are in communicating with them. Listen and respond appropriately to keep that conversation going.
Keep it about them and less about you
Look. Once you get good at talking the confidence really motivates you to talk more, but make sure that the conversation is well balanced and not always about you.
Some people are great at communicating but extremely terrible with their body language. Even though they seem interested, their body says otherwise.
This is quite a huge deal-breaker in any conversation. The people you communicate with try to judge your response by your body first and what you say later.
This one should be pretty easy. No matter what, just be you. Starting a conversation is not about how they judge you, it’s about connecting. So, breathe, relax and try to be as natural as you would with the people you usually talk to.
6 ideas to start a conversation and 4 ideas to keep it going. 10 simple ideas to help you have a conversation.
But please remember, this takes practice and conscious, mindful effort. Of course, you may not get it right the first time around; it also takes a lot of trial and error, but that’s the fun part. So, if you fail don’t get bogged down by it. Keep trying and remember to just BE YOU if all else fails.
A version of this was first published here.
Image source: Pexels
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A Psychologist, Blogger, Entrepreneur, bibliophile, stationary buff. Love writing, poetry, coffee, An introvert and dreamer.
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