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11 Foolproof Ways to Start a Conversation With Absolutely Anyone

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https://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/10-foolproof-ways-to-start-a-conversation-with-absolutely-anyone.html

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11 Foolproof Ways to Start a Conversation With Absolutely Anyone
You're at a party or a conference or just walking along the street when you see someone you would like to talk with. It might be someone you've admired from afar, someone who might be a good customer or investor for your company, or someone you simply like the looks of.

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Make note of something pleasant

"This dip is delicious!" "Nice turnout for this event!"

There's something positive to say in nearly every situation, so find it...

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Comment on the weather

The one exception to the no-negatives rule is the weather. 

If you're in the midst of a heat wave, cold snap, or torrential downpour, remarking on the unus...

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Ask for information

"Excuse me, do you know what time the next session starts?" 

Even if you already know the answer, asking for information can be a great way to st...

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Ask for assistance

"Could you reach that item on the top shelf for me?" 

Requests for assistance are another way to make someone feel helpful.

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Offer assistance

"Can I help you carry that large box?" 

The listener will be inclined to like you and trust you because you've helped out. Be careful no...

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Solicit an opinion

"What did you think of that speech?" "Did you get a lot out of this workshop?" 

Most people like knowing that others are interested in their opin...

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Mention a mutual acquaintance

Naming someone you both know will tell the listener you are part of his or her extended social circle. 

Many people will begin thinking of you as someone they kn...

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Bring up a shared experience

Does the listener come from the same town or region like you? Did you attend the same high school or college? 

Any common ground is a good way to...

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Praise the listener

This works when you're wondering what to say to someone prominent. You'll never insult someone by saying, "I really love your work," or "I thought your last blog po...

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Compliment the listener's apparel or accessories

"That scarf is a great color on you." Most people like it when others appreciate their taste, so they will likely want to engage with you.

Don't comment on the l...

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Simply introduce yourself

Walk up to the person, stick out your hand and say, "Hi, I'm so-and-so. I just wanted to introduce myself." 

The fact that you went out of your w...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Find common ground

After having introduced yourself, you should find something in common that connects you right away. 

It opens the door to more conversation--and keeping words up is key when you f...

Move on to deeper topics

Although focusing on shallow topics to start--such as the weather or sports or your favorite new film--makes breaking the ice easier, your goal should be to move on to deeper topics as you gain familiarity with the other person.

It takes one joke

... an anecdote, or a well-timed story in order to show other people that you understand them. 

Perhaps it's a connection about a mutual friend at work or a common breakfast spot you shared growing up. It's the one spark that ends up transforming the interaction from being acquaintance-like to a true friendship.

Step #5: Exits

Step #5: Exits

Use bookmarks to end well. Examples:

  • Future Mentions: “Well, I can’t wait to see you at that ___ coming up—I’ll email you!
  • Inside Jokes: “It was g...

Step #4: Evaluate Your Conversational Performance

After an event ask yourself what went well, what did you learn and who should you follow-up with so you can keep learning and honing your ability. 

This can help you identify patterns and remember to follow up on bookmarks, LinkedIn connections and promises.

Step #3: Bookmarking

Use the ‘Bookmarking’ technique to create a deeper connection by adding verbal markers or emphasis to parts of the conversation:

  • Future Mentions: saying something that will require follow up on later.
  • Inside Jokes: making jokes that refer to something interesting or funny you and the listener was involved in.
  • Same Same: exclaiming how crazy it is you have something in common and talking about it.
  • You Have to See: saying that you will share something they are interested in with them later.

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An icebreaker that works

The only icebreaker question that'll work every single time: Tell me about yourself.

It is more effective than "So what do you do?" Posing a broad question lets people lea...

Stay curious and engaged

After the initial breaking, you have to really listen to how the other person responds. What are they excited about? Ask them more questions about that.

Pay attention to body language. You will be able to tell if someone is losing interest, for instance, eyes wandering, crossing arms or turning away from you.

Exit gracefully

Not every conversation will be a big hit. You will run out of things to say. Be honest. Say you've got to go to the bathroom or say hi to your other friend. Then go.

Even though it might feel rude, remember that it will free up time to start another potentially interesting conversation with someone else.