The Art of Starting Conversations

Most people dread having to start and sustain a conversation. People are now more accustomed to typing their thoughts with matching emoticons. But holding a face-to-face conversation is one important skill that is lost to many. Looking for ways to ace this area? Here are some tips that you can apply the next time an opportunity presents itself.

Find Common Ground

This strategy comes in handy when you are in a place where you are likely to meet someone with the same interest. For example, when you take your beloved canine to a dog training session in Orem. Other dog owners will be delighted to share some tidbits of information with you. It can range from the breeds of their dogs to the reasons they have decided to enroll their pooches. It could be anything about their dogs. Finding something in common makes fast friends out of strangers. In this scenario, it will not only be your pet that will get socialization but the owner, too.

Bank on a Shared Experience

Knowing that somebody understands how you feel makes you more open to them. For example, as you wait for the train to arrive on your way home. You may strike a conversation by saying, “It has been a long day. I hope that the train arrives soon.” The person you are talking to may also anticipate going home. Thus, a natural conversation may come when they answer and share their long day, too. Be careful not to be whiny, though. Focus on the experience, and not on the complaints. People appreciate knowing that others share in the burden that they feel. Unloading to a random person feels good.

Give a Sincere Compliment

What the world needs is people who see the positive things. When you see a person looking very dapper in a social function, be sure to drop a compliment for them. You will never know the effect it will have on them. It could also be the start of a good conversation. When you comment on their shoes, it could lead to a discussion of designer shoes if this is both your interest. A sincere compliment goes a long way.

Lean on Open-ended Questions

A close-ended question requires a mono-syllabic answer. When this answer is given, the conversation ends. Or you grapple with having a new topic to keep the flow going. To prevent this from happening, invest in open-ended questions. Do not settle for, “Was your dog difficult to train?” You may ask instead, “What were the challenges you encountered while training him?” Open-ended questions give people more avenues to share more about their interests.

Take Cues from Body Language

A good conversation is not a forced one. You will see if the person is interested to talk based on their body language. Always look if they are still maintaining eye contact. Or are their eyes darting on the nearest exit? Another good way to see if you still hold their interest is through the direction of their toes. If it is pointing away from you, it is time to politely end the conversation.

Some people are afraid to start a conversation because they think that it should be a deep and long one. Both counts are wrong. A short, ordinary one is a good way to start. Its essence lies in the enjoyment derived by both people out of it.