Before we share with you some tips on how to come up with the best conversation starters, we want you to imagine the following scenario in a post-COVID / semi normal world where outside events are taking place again.
So you've just arrived to an event, all by yourself.
There are no familiar faces.
Having looked around the room, it seems most people have found a circle and are engaging actively in conversation with each-other.
There are many smiles and a lot of laughs.
A wine-in-hand suggests that the guests are mellowing slightly, which is a bit of a relief, you think to yourself, as it might make it easier for you to break into a circle of conversation.
But first is first, you must put your coat in the cloak room, take the tag number the assistant gives you and place it securely in your purse (it's such a pain if you lose it).
You then turn slowly to face the room, slightly nervous and intimidated.
However, the whole point of being here is to meet new people, you say to yourself.
But the truth of the matter is, that you actually didn't want to go to this event. Your boss told you to go, which was also endorsed by your best friend, Candy.
It will be good for you, they said.
You need to widen your network, they said.
And although Candy definitely wants to maintain her status as "best friend", she also admitted that you've become somewhat anti-social lately, and need to break out of your comfort zone, meet new people, make new friends blah blah blah.
So, here you are.
But honestly, it's been so long since you've been to one of these events, how do you even start a conversation with someone, without all your nervousness and touch of anxiety coming across?
You decide to avoid eye contact with anyone and go quickly to the toilet, freshen up, and pull yourself together.
"It's not that hard", you whisper to yourself, while touching up your hair in the bathroom mirror. "Just go out and do it".
So you go out, and what do you do? Well you try to either successfully or unsuccessfully start a conversation with a stranger (unless you were approached first of course, which would be ideal right?).
But let's say that's not the case. Let's say in this instance you needed to approach someone and start the conversation.
What do you talk to a stranger about? How do you find any common interests?
Well here are our three tips for starting a conversation, and some conversation starters you might like to use.
1/ Ask open ended questions
A question is an open ended question, if the answer a person gives is more than a "yes" or a "no". It can be so awkward sometimes when you're trying to start a conversation by asking a closed ended question, and someone just replies to you yes or no. You are then left grappling with what to ask next.
Avoid this situation by asking open-ended questions, and let the other person do the talking!
Open ended questions typically start with 'why', 'how', 'if', 'what'.
As an example, a simple conversation starter using an open ended question can be "Hi, my name is (insert name here), how are you today?", then you can follow on with something like, "what brings you to the event today?".
2/ Think about a topic that another person might be easily able to contribute to
At events, it's about trying to identify with another person on a similar level and making them feel comfortable talking to you. It's best to quickly understand your audience.
Is it a work event where everyone is from the same company? Is it a networking event with like-minded professionals in your industry? Or is it a group of different people from all walks of life coming together?
By understanding the crowd, you should be able to shortlist various topics you could talk about from work specific topics, or to general news topics.
3/ Be memorable by asking some out of the box questions
This tip sounds intimidating, but it really doesn't have to be. Out-of-the-box questions don't have to be out-of-this-world questions.
You can really stand out and ask a unique question, purely by the way you formulate a question.
For instance, instead of asking someone "what is your dream?", you can ask them instead; "What if you could do anything in the world, what would you do?".
Using "what if" is a very powerful way to phrase a question. It opens the other person up to express new ideas or identify opportunities.
Also, just think if you were asked the same question in return, you would feel like the other person is genuinely interested in you and genuinely interested to get to know you right? Winning!
By doing this you appear different to others around you and more memorable. It's more likely than not, that no one has asked that person this question before, nor will someone ask them that question again.
Also the quality of conversation might just become that bit more interesting, and who knows what might come out of it for you!
Starting conversations can be hard, especially if you don't know where to start. We hope that you enjoyed our conversation starter tips and you are able to implement them in your next event. AND don't forget to be your charming, beautiful self x
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