It’s that time of year: every weekend there seems to be some sort of holiday gathering, whether it’s within your personal or professional circle. Holiday get-togethers are a great opportunity to make new contacts and meet new friends. Last week, we talked about the art of making small talk. But being able to make great small talk doesn’t help unless you can get the conversation started to begin with! Take a look at our four tips below to get the conversational ball rolling:
Sometimes it’s easier to join a group conversation than start talking with someone one-on-one. If you see a group you’d like to join, stand at the periphery and try to make eye contact. In most cases, someone will back up slightly to allow you to join. Wait for an appropriate moment, and ask a question to enter the conversation.
Having a friend in common is a great way to make a new contact. If you see someone you know talking with someone you’ve never met, wait for an appropriate break in the conversation, then approach your friend and say “hi”. If your friend doesn’t introduce you to the other person, simply introduce yourself. A great follow up to generate conversation is to ask how the two know each other.
Waiting in line for food or at the bar or even in line for the bathroom is a great opportunity to meet people. Since you’re both restricted to the same place for the time being, striking up a conversation to pass the time is natural. You can use your common situation to get the conversation going, for example: “The food looks delicious.” “Have you been here before?” “Isn’t this weather terrible?” “What do you think of the speaker?”
One of the most important factors in starting a conversation is to appear approachable and friendly. Make eye contact with people you’d like to speak to and smile. Keep your body language open: if you’d like to chat with someone, face them with your shoulders and avoid crossing your arms or legs.
What do you find challenging about starting a conversation? What are some of your personal best conversation starters? Share your story below in the comments section!
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