Archives for April 2011
How to Start Up a Conversation
It’s tough sometimes to find the right things to say, especially if you barely know someone. Check out these great conversation starters.
The ability to communicate is something we’re all blessed with. Most of us can speak or wink or let our body language clue people in on what we’re feeling. Communication was an important part of our evolution. But just because we can do it does not mean we’re any good at it.
Some of us have a great deal of trouble attempting to spark up conversations with strangers. In a perfect world, things would work out rather easily. Guy sees girl. Guy says perfect funny thing. Girl smiles and laughs and accepts date proposal. Couple lives happily ever after.
In this world, however, things do not always work like that. Guy sees girl. Guy panics and stutters. Guy says something ridiculous, possibly even spraying spittle on girl’s shirt. Girl cringes in disgust. No one gets through the next five minutes happy, much less forever.
Making conversation is all about starting conversation. Once you get over that initial hurdle and actually break the ice, continuing to communicate is something that takes over naturally, like running after learning to walk.
We’ll go over some ice-breakers in this article that should help you to strike up a conversation with someone, no matter who they are.
Breaking the Ice in Conversation
1: Point out the Parity
Parity, not to be confused with parody, can be described in this context as something you have in common. If you want to break the ice, it always helps to seek out what you share in common with the person, making the proverbial “small talk.” This could be the same iPhone, the same lunch item ordered, the same type of clothing, or anything else you find has immediately similarity.
2: Genuine Intrigue
Sometimes a “cheesy” line is not that cheesy at all if you truly mean it. For example: if that girl across the room has the most beautiful eyes you’ve ever seen, she’ll know that you’re not just saying that. This type of ice-breaker is a little harder to deliver, as you may feel more embarrassed to shoot someone a compliment over something you find intriguing. But it does work.
3: Killing with Kindness
More often than not, the simplest ice-breakers are the best ice-breakers. You might read those self-help books and try those elaborate setups until you’re blue in the face and still won’t be able to spark up a genuine conversation with a stranger. But by simply smiling and saying hello, you’d be surprised at just how effective that really is. Being nervous can even be seen as an endearing quality here.
4: Current Events
Now, you want to stay away from anything political or religious these are hot-button issues that people are very passionate about. But something like a reality show or the royal wedding – you can sneak in there and break the ice by asking in a Seinfeld-like way “What is the deal with ____?” It’s funny, very nonthreatening, and most are receptive to it.
5: Census Worker
Unless you’re trying to speak with random people in the street, you’re probably in a building or at an event of some sorts. Asking people what they think of the place or the event is a great way to spark up a friendly conversation.
These five ice-breakers are great. Why only five? Well, each category gives you a limitless number of possibilities within. The most important thing isn’t what you use to break the ice but rather how you approach the topic.
You should always be warm and friendly, making sure to smile without looking like a creepy person. Keep your tone soft and keep things like flirting and touching far, far away from the conversation.
What you’re looking for here is something that’s called a “feeler bet” in poker. You want to put the ice-breaker out there to see if the other party is receptive. If so, you should keep the conversation moving along with more small-talk niceties and other general comments until you can ease into more of a conversation. Once the rapport settles in and you’re comfortable in the conversation, that’s when the real progress is made.
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