We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, life is all about who you know. So get out there and meet new people. Whether you’re trying to make friends, close a deal, schmooze a client, or build your professional network, the next person you shake hands with could be your ticket to success.
What’s the best way to start a conversation? Whether you’re trying to strike up a conversation with a stranger, friend, co-worker, client, or even a potential first date, there are a few simple ground rules that you need to follow. Apply these conversation tactics at all times and you’ll be able to to talk to anyone at anytime.
The first step is to get the conversation started. We stumbled upon lots of great posts on this topic online and here are few ideas that we’ve used and applied with great success:
- Introduce yourself
- Offer assistance
- Ask for advice
- Get someone’s opinion
- Ask a hypothetical question
- Comment on the setting/current event/speaker/etc.
- Pretend you already know them and just start talking
These conversation starters will work for you. Don’t stress the intro too much though. The real key to a successful conversation is what happens after you start talking. Too many conversations fizzle out or end awkwardly. It’s up to you to make every conversation a meaningful conversation that ultimate builds a connection and leads to a relationship.
After you start a conversation, it’s time to step up your game. These simple tips will help your conversational skills tremendously:
- Listen to what the person has to say.
- Show a genuine interest in the conversation.
- Try to make them smile – positivity is contagious.
- Don’t share too much information.
- Ask open ended questions.
- Be interesting and be interested.
- Make the conversation mutually beneficial.
- Remember the person’s name!
Try this and see what happens. You won’t have 100% success every time, but these tactics to start a conversation with anyone anywhere will certainly increase your conversational success rate. Plus, it will make you more social, boost your connectedness, and may even help you find a job.
If you fumble through your first few attempts at this, it’s no big deal. Conversational skills are something that you can develop. Use a bit of trial and error to see what works and what doesn’t. Eventually you’ll have your system dialed and you’ll be able to start a conversation with anyone.