10 ways to start a meaningful conversation

We’ve posted before about the importance of networking, of making connections with other professionals and cultivating relationships with them. But, how exactly do you do that?  How do you start a conversation with someone when you enter a roomful of people you don’t know?

You’re going to have to know how to start a conversation, to make a memorable first impression.  Our friends at Livehack have 10 suggestions on how to start a meaningful conversation.

1. You had me at hello.July22Photo
Your approach doesn’t have to be complicated. A simple hello accompanied by a heartwarming smile is a highly effective ice breaker.

2. Say something nice.
Another effective and well-received technique is complimenting someone on what he/she is wearing.

3. Share your pain.
Waiting in a long line to get a drink or use the restroom? Complaining about it with someone in line with you is a good way to establish a pact that unites both of you against a common enemy.

4. Talk about the weather? Yep.
This will work because everyone has an opinion about the weather and is usually willing to freely express that opinion.

5. Tell a good story.
Everyone likes a good story. But remember, the key word is good.

6. Talk food to me.
Everyone loves to eat and drink. Is someone drinking an exotic-looking drink? Ask him/her about it. It’s a great way to start a conversation.

7. What’s in a name?
At most of these events folks will be wearing nametags. That’ll give you the opportunity to ask about someone’s name, which is a good conversation starter.

8. Do you work here?
Most people like to talk about themselves. Once they answer that question, you can follow up with others: “What do you do here? Do you like your job? How long have you worked here?”

9. Tell a joke.
Jokes can be some of the best conversation starters. But if you’re not comfortable telling one – it’s tricky, after all – avoid this suggestion.

10. Honesty is still the best policy.
Is there someone in the room you just want to talk to? You don’t have to manufacture a reason. Just tell him/her you wanted to talk to him/her. Your mother was right: Honesty really is the best policy.

Do you have any suggestions? If so, let us know, and we’ll add them to our list.


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