Did you know that public speaking is frequently ranked as the number one fear among people? How to make conversation with people? While getting up on stage in front of an audience can be terrifying, many people find striking up a one-on-one conversation just as daunting. It may be your company’s CEO, a new coworker, the mailroom guy, the girl from IT, or a random stranger on the street.
There’s a technique to strike up a conversation with whomever you want. And the best part is that practice becomes perfect. Use these conversation starters to recognize how to make conversation with people:
How to make conversation with people
Avoid small conversation.
When it comes to initiating a conversation, “How ’bout them [insert local sports team]?” and “What’s up with this weather?” are as awful as cheesy pick-up lines. Overused topics should be avoided. Because every occasion is different, you should be able to come up with a different conversation opener.
Seek their feedback.
Everyone has at least one! Start with light topics like food, music, and the atmosphere for someone you don’t know well. “Do you prefer your margaritas salty or not? Do you enjoy scary films? Is this music that you enjoy?” Unless you know the person very well, it’s probably best to avoid touchy themes like politics.
Seek their advice or suggestions.
This is especially useful when remarking on someone’s clothing or accessories, as in “What a fantastic tie! What store did you get it from?” or, as in, on the food “Everything appears to be in order. What are you going to eat?”
Pose an easy-to-answer question to them.
This is useful when you know or suspect that someone is knowledgeable in a particular topic. You may, for example, ask your company’s IT person whether he installs hardware or software when you’re speaking with him. However, avoid asking someone to explain something extremely tough or detailed; if the conversation leads there, wonderful, but asking a particularly difficult topic upfront can appear oppressive.
Make an environmental statement
There are things to comment on no matter where you go: the music, the meal, the lighting, the guests, and so on. Even if you’re confined in an elevator with another person, you can talk about the music, the speed, the crowdedness, and so on.
Request an update
If you only know someone a bit or only know them by reputation, inquire about something you know they’ve been up to, such as “Oh, Mary mentioned that you were going to swing dance lessons. How’s it doing so far?”
Whenever possible, ask open-ended inquiries.
Don’t be surprised if you get a straightforward yes or no answer if your inquiry can be answered that way. Having follow-up questions prepared can also aid in the flow of the talk. If you’re wondering what type of meal they’re having, for instance, you could say, “That sounds appealing. Do you have any suggestions for a wine that might go well with that?” “Why?” can be asked in response to almost anything. (Just don’t ask it too often or you’ll come across as a three-year-old!)
Consider posing a hypothetical query.
These can be wonderful discussion starters, but make sure they’re tied to something going on at the event or in the news to prevent appearing too random. You may say something along the lines of, “I recently saw a film in which all of the laws were suspended for a single day. What would you do if you had a day without laws?”
Inquire about their children, pets, and hobbies.
People enjoy discussing topics that are significant to them. Asking your employer about his most recent trip is a great technique to start him chatting if you know he enjoys sailing.
Read also: How to make the conversation not boring!