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How to Start a Conversation

Did you know that 15 million Americans suffer from social anxiety? Your dedicated author is one of them.

If the thought of talking to others and saying the wrong thing is just one small aspect of social anxiety, but it can make conversation tough. Sometimes, you want to start a conversation with someone because they’re cool or knowledgeable. No matter what your reasoning is, taking that first step doesn’t have to be difficult.

Are you wondering how to start a conversation with some? Let’s explore some options and help you find the way that you’re most comfortable with.

Assess the Situation

Depending on the situation, your opener to start the conversation might change. For example, you wouldn’t start a conversation with a stranger in a supermarket by walking up and asking their entire life story, but that may be something you can vaguely initiate while on a date.

Take note of where you are, what the purpose of being there is, and this can help you decide what the best way to approach the conversation is.

Have You Had Contact Before?

In a digital world, there’s a good possibility that you have connected with somebody online, but haven’t had a face-to-face conversation. If this is the case for you, then you may be able to start a conversation differently than if you have never had contact before.

One great way to open the conversation is to introduce yourself and tell the person where you’ve had contact with them before.

Something as simple as, “Hi, (person’s name)! It’s so nice to see you here. I’m (your name), we’ve chatted over Instagram before about (insert topic).”

This simple opener gives you the chance to initiate the conversation with a past interaction, and give you a conversation topic to continue with after.

If you’ve never met, the best way to strike up a conversation is to not make it about you or the person you’d like to talk to. Instead, make an observation around you and use it to get the opinion of the other person.

This can be as simple as, “Excuse me, do you know what time the next bus arrives here?” The stranger may reply with the time, and then you can be thankful and ask another question. This is a great way to ease into the conversation and play off of each other.

Small talk is common to find in areas like the grocer store waiting line or bus stop. If you find yourself in one of these conversations or want to start one yourself, consider these small talk topics:

  • The nice or bad weather
  • The time you’ve been waiting in line
  • A cute dog that is passing by
  • A story on the magazine rack
  • Entertainment, like TV, movies, games, etc.
  • Hobbies based on where you are (games store, etc.)

The best way to start up a small talk conversation is to keep it positive, fun, and lighthearted. You might learn something about the other person as well.

Work-Related Conversation Topics

Is there a new coworker that you’d like to make feel welcome or get to know better? There are many awesome work-related conversation topics that can help you start up a convo.

One great way to start a conversation with a new coworker is to ask if they need any help with anything. For example, you may approach them and say, “Hi, (coworker’s name)! I’m (your name) and I work in (your job title). I wanted to check in and see if you need any help with anything.”

Not only is this a great way to talk to your new coworker, but it’s also a kind gesture to help them get settled into their new role. You can also offer to have lunch with them or show them around the building.

Casual Conversation Topics for Dates

Dating is hard enough, but starting a conversation with your date is harder!

You’re on a date to get to know the other person better and see if you have a future together, so let that be a great place to start.

A date is a good atmosphere to ask questions about a person, such as their favorite hobbies or what they do for work. By asking these questions, you can branch off into other questions or conversation topics to keep the conversation going.

With a little talk, you might just find that spark!

How to Start a Telephone Conversation

Telephone conversations are arguably one of the easier conversations to start. When talking on the phone, there’s not much more you can do than have a conversation!

The hard part of a conversation on the phone is keeping it up. It’s equally as important to know when the conversation is over. Take cues from the person you’re talking to and end the conversation when you feel everything has been covered and there’s nothing else to talk about.

You can help the other person feel good by saying you’ll call again soon.

Keeping the Conversation Going

A conversation is two-sided, and asking questions is a great way to keep the other person commenting and asking you questions back.

If you feel like you’re questioning too much, don’t sweat it! Just try to comment a little more based on what the other person is saying.

Keep it positive and engaging and chances are that you’ll both leave the conversation on a good note.

If you’re feeling confident, you can even branch out a bit. Try telling them a funny story or give them a compliment. This can help you build a good relationship with each other.

Now You Know How to Start a Conversation

Conversations can make the best of us nervous, but with these tips, you’ll know how to start a conversation with anyone. All you have to do is give it a try!

We challenge you to try starting a conversation with someone today. You may just meet a new friend.

Did this article help you learn how to start a conversation? Please learn how to start something new on our blog!

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