Starting a conversation with someone is probably one of the most difficult parts of all human communication. And worse: sometimes the conversation flows with some people, but with others it feels like childbirth. If that's your case, don't worry! You can use some universal tactics to chat with almost anyone - your crush, nice-looking people and even coworkers! Just read and practice the tips in this article.
Method 1 of 2: Starting a Conversation
Step 1. Show that you are interested in what the person has to say
You can make friends with anyone, just show that you are interested in their opinions and don't monopolize the conversation. Nobody likes to waste saliva on people who don't listen or who just want to talk about themselves. Also pay attention to your body language: turn your body toward the other (without invading their personal space), make eye contact (without being too intense), and so on.
- Show that you think the person's opinions are important. If she starts talking about a specific topic, ask more questions - without trying to suddenly change the direction of the conversation.
- Say the person's name from time to time.
- If the person starts talking before you do, nod your head slightly once in a while.
Step 2. Ask the person questions, but don't interrogate them
Any self-respecting conversation works on the basis of an exchange of questions, but there is a difference between asking and interrogating. Don't question everything the person says, but comment on the things they say from time to time. Be careful not to make her uncomfortable, or the conversation will be over in the blink of an eye.
- If you notice that you're peppering the person with questions, smile and make a comment like "Wow, sorry for the interrogation." Then change the subject.
- Ask the person about their hobbies and interests, not their dreams and desires.
- Talk about fun subjects. Don't ask what the person thinks of the recent tragedy that made all the news in the newspapers or how tired they are from working. The conversation needs to be light!
- Tell your stories too. Ideally, you and the person should have the same speaking time.
Step 3. Be funny
You don't have to play comedian and tell jokes left and right, but making a few comments and light banter helps break the ice and alleviate any tension in the air - after all, everyone loves to laugh!
- Get the person's attention using your cunning. Show that you are trigger-happy and know how to make puns, tell jokes and so on.
- If you have a cool (and short) story to tell, go ahead! Just don't get hung up on the person's ears.
Step 4. Ask the person open questions
Open-ended questions are those that you can't answer with "yes" or "no". In other words: they ask for more elaborate answers and encourage conversation. This will help you to get to know the people you talk to better, as they need to talk more to answer your questions.
- Just don't ask too many "travelled" questions like "What's the meaning of life?"
- Watch for signs that the conversation isn't going so well. If the person gives shorter, more direct answers to open-ended questions, it's probably because they're not interested in talking to you.
Step 5. Don't cover uncomfortable subjects and don't talk too much
Few things end up with a good conversation faster than dealing with uncomfortable topics or talking through the elbows. Here are some useful tips:
- Don't reveal too much personal information, such as talking about your recent breakup, your recent allergic reaction to an intimate part of your body, or your relationship with another person. Leave to talk about these things with your friends and relatives!
- Don't ask questions that might lead to uncomfortable answers. The person can even talk about relationships, careers, or health, but don't ask them anything like that if they don't naturally mention these matters.
- Don't talk about yourself all the time. As much as making fun of yourself and passing on personal information to the person you're talking to are ways to relieve tension, it's no use bragging or complaining about how difficult your life is.
- Watch. Don't forget the person's name, profession, and other important information after a few minutes of conversation. She'll think (and rightly so) that you don't care. If necessary, repeat her name as soon as she introduces herself.
Method 2 of 2: Starting a Conversation in Different Situations
Step 1. Start a conversation with that person you care about
If you've just met a nice person and you want to chat with them, think of an original way to start the conversation - one that includes a very light flirting. In these situations, how you speak is more important than what you say. Make eye contact and turn your body toward each other to show you are fully aware. Here are some other useful strategies:
- If they're at a party, talk about the song that's playing. Who knows, you might not discover that you have similar tastes?
- If you're at a bar, ask which drink the person recommends. Try it and, if it's not so good, make fun of it (lightly, of course).
- Ask the person what they like to do for fun. Just don't push the envelope!
- Don't talk about work. That's not sexy! Leave the subject for another time.
- Make fun of the person lightly. For example: make a funny comment if she is wearing a blouse on a hot day.
- Talk about your pets. Which pet's father doesn't love to talk about his pet, right? If so, you and the person can even exchange pictures of them.
Step 2. Start a conversation with the person you want to befriend
If you want to make friends with someone who is close by (like a friend of a friend of yours, for example), show interest in the person - but again, don't create an atmosphere of interrogation. The conversation should be light!
- Talk about positive issues. Don't complain all the time! Start the conversation with a positive comment, such as talking about how well your football team is doing in the league or how cool this bar or restaurant you are at is.
- Talk about the area where you live. Almost everyone likes to talk about the neighborhood or the area where they live, right? If that's not your case, then talk about a cool place where you've lived or where you'd like to live in the future.
- Ask what the person's hobbies are. It could be that you and she have the same interests!
- Don't talk about yourself all the time. Remember that every conversation must be a two-way street: you and the other person need to talk and listen in equal measure.
- If you and the person have a mutual friend, ask them how they met you. Will you end up discovering cool stories about this third?!
Step 3. Start a conversation with that coworker of yours
Starting a conversation with co-workers can be a little more complicated than talking to that crush or potential friend, since it is necessary to respect some limits in the professional environment. Even so, nothing prevents you from talking about relatively intimate matters with the people you work with!
- Ask something casual about your colleague's family. Everyone loves to talk about their own family! Your colleague will soon be showing photos of your children, wife, husband, or other important people.
- Tell your colleague what you plan to do over the weekend or on vacation. You and your co-workers probably have similar workloads and shifts - which is certainly true for rest periods as well. So tell the person what your plans are and ask what theirs are.
- Make small complaints to the person. For example: complain about the traffic to the company, the lack of vegan options on the cafeteria menu and the like. Just keep the mood light!
- Don't talk so much about work. Try to focus on your "human" side, such as friends, family, and interests, rather than just talking about business-related matters. You and the person need to form bonds that go beyond work.
Step 4. Start a conversation with that group of people
Talking to entire groups can be a little more delicate. At such times, the safest strategy is to seek subjects of common interest with everyone. Also, do your best to include everyone in the conversation, even if it's hard to find such universal topics.
- Make fun of yourself. This tactic is great, especially when talking to a group of people who know you but not each other. It's so much easier to bond when the mood is light and relaxed!
- Try to talk to the whole group, not just one or two people. Anyone left out will feel left out of the conversation.
- Talk about something peculiar about yourself, like something that makes you angry. Everyone has a story like that to tell!
- Think of common points that group members have. You don't even have to be subtle! Say something like "Ah, so you two cheer for Flamengo. Have you seen Wednesday's game?"
- Every conversation is a two-way street: both (or more) people need to talk and listen in equal measure, or someone will soon get bored. Be careful never to monopolize the chat!
- Moderate your tone of voice. Don't speak too low or too loud.
- Try to think of some topics you can explore before you even start the conversation. This helps to avoid certain embarrassments and silences.
- You don't need (and shouldn't) dominate the conversation. Let other people speak up too.
- Don't ask closed-ended questions ("yes" or "no"), but think of something that will make a difference.
- Don't ask too many personal questions unless you and the person are already close. For example: ask "What did you do on vacation?", "Where are you from?" and "How's the family doing?" only to the closest.
- Do not talk about issues that can make the person uncomfortable and generate that uncomfortable silence.