Do you cringe at the thought of starting conversations with other people?
It seems awkward and painful and no one seems interested in talking to you? When this happens, it can make you feel like no one likes you or that you don’t belong or even isolated from others.
When really, it just means you need to know a few conversation techniques. So, let’s start with conversation starters and how to make it really easy. You’re going to be amazed at what a difference this little tip will make for you.
The Usual Conversation Starters
So, you’re probably used to a conversation going something like this:
You: “Hi, how are you?” They answer: “Good, You?” You: “Good”
Now that uncomfortable pause in the conversation starts. Your brain starts freaking out with, “What should I say now?!!!” So awkward! What do you do? You may end up just slinking away in complete embarrassment and vow never to have any more conversations with people.
Or you imagine it’s going to go this way so you don’t say anything at all. Or you decide to wait for them to say something first. And, then the conversation goes like this. Ick.
No wonder you feel like starting conversations with others is complete torture.
Improved Conversation Starters
It’s easy to completely turn this situation around. All you have to do is remember this quick and simple trick and you’ll find that people suddenly want to talk to you. Those tortured conversations will be a thing of the past.
So, what do you do?
You provide more information.
What I mean by this is that you give the person something to pick up on which they can use to advance the conversation. Here’s an example.
Someone asks you, “How are you?” Now, instead of answering the way you used to with the one syllable answer of, “Good”, try this:
“I’m good. I just finished a really big project at work and I’m so happy that it’s now done.”
Just by adding that little bit of extra information, you’ve suddenly completely opened up a new set of possibilities for that person to talk to you about.
The person might say, “That’s great. Where do you work?” or perhaps they’ll ask you, “What was the project?” or they might even respond, “Yes, I know how that feels. I just finished one myself” or “I’m hoping to get to that stage myself soon.”
As soon as they provide more information to you, you now also have the opportunity to ask them questions. People like it when others are interested in them so you now have a great opportunity. They’d probably love to tell you about their project.
The advantages of providing a little more information are:
there’s something the other person can pick up on to easily continue the conversation
people see that you’re approachable and want to talk
people get to know you a little better
you get to know other people better as well
the other person will be encouraged to share information about themselves as well
as soon as the other person shares some information, you now have even more avenues of conversation you can discuss with them
you can show an interest in the other person and what they're telling you. People appreciate it when you show an interest in them.
due to the fact that you now know more about the other person, it gives you an opening to talk about the next time you see them. “How did that big project you had turn out?”
people will think of you as a great conversationalist and so easy to talk to.
See what a difference a little bit of extra information makes? This is a really easy thing to try and you have nothing to lose. If the other person doesn’t pick up on your info, you can take it as a sign that the person is busy and perhaps just doesn’t have time to talk now. Most likely has nothing to do with you. It has more to do that they’re just busy right now or aren’t comfortable talking right now.
The point of this technique isn't to reveal confidential information about yourself. You also don't want to give them your whole life story and bore them or make them uncomfortable with the details. You just want to add a few extra details so that people have no problem thinking of other things to say to you.
Conversation Starters When Introducing People To Each Other
Another great way to use this tip is when you introduce people to each other. So, instead of saying, “Bob this is Mary, Mary this is Bob” simply add some additional information.
“Bob this is Mary. Mary works in Human Resources. She’s just finishing up a course on Discrimination in the Workplace.”
Now, the first person has a couple of avenues in which to start a conversation with Mary. He can ask how she likes working in Human Resources or he could ask her more about the course she’s taking.
If you know something that the two people have in common, you could also mention that. "Mary just got a cute puppy from the Humane Society. Didn't you get your dog Rocko from there too?" Now, the two people have something they're both interested in (dogs) to talk about. Again, don't provide any personal information that the other person might not want known to others. You're just providing something very general that provides openings for people to continue the conversation.
People will love you for this. You’ve suddenly made meeting new people so much easier and so much more comfortable.
The other great thing about this is that people will have an easier time remembering each other as well. It’s no longer a matter of trying to remember the person’s name. They know it’s Mary in Human Resources who’s completed a course in Workplace Discrimination. The person will be able to remember her far easier just because he has more to work with than just her name.
Conversation Starters - You Can Do It!
It doesn’t take much to completely change how well a conversation goes. Add a little bit of extra information and you’re going to find that conversations with people are suddenly fun and much more interesting as you'll discover new and fascinating facts about the people you interact with on a daily basis.
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