So let’s say you’re having lunch in a food court and this stranger comes and sits next to you.
It feels a bit awkward and you’re thinking about how to start the conversation with them.
So here are a few tips of mine!
“How do you like your meal?” or “Do you come here often?” or I simply look at their plate and if I see something unusual, I try to make a little conversation-starter ‘joke’, e.g. if someone has a plate full of broccoli and snow peas, “you really like green colour, don’t you?” and I smile, of course.
Then, I tune into their energy. You get a sense, whether the person wants to engage with you or not. If not, I just smile and get back to chewing my food.
But if they seem like they want to chat, I perhaps ask something:
“So you work somewhere around here?”
“What do you do?”
When they ask me what I do, I rarely say it to people straight away because most people guess I’m either a psychologist or a vet (I know I know, odd right?!).
So instead, I answer their question by a question, “what do you think?”
And I just enjoy the little game with them.
If they say something like, “you look like you’re a designer.” I ask them, “Really? What made you say that?”
Then, eventually, of course, I tell them what I do.
Often, the other person asks me some questions back and our chat turns into a flowing conversation without any effort.
So here are three rules of thumb on how to start conversations:
- Ask a question.
- Be genuinly curious about the other person.
- Remember, people LOVE to talk about themselves so ask even more questions if you see they’re enjoying the chat.
What’s your favourite conversation-starter tip?
Let me know in the comments.