It happens. You sometimes find you have nothing to say while at a work convention or a boring meeting. Or maybe you’re at a party, and everyone you know has left the room. You then find yourself stuck with someone you’ve never even met. Do you stare at your feet, hoping they’ll leave? Hopefully not. Try our techniques for starting conversations with strangers. Eventually, conversing will become second nature, and you’ll consider no one a stranger.
Introducing yourself seems obvious enough. But, sometimes, it’s hard to make that first move. Rather than hoping someone else does it, simply put your hand out, offer a handshake, and tell the other person your name. You’ll likely get a relieved smile and a name from them as well.
Ask Questions That Need Answers
Every question needs an answer. However, some questions allow for short, quick responses, such as “yes” or “no.” Offer questions that require some explaining. Ask a stranger what they think of the present location or what their favorite hors d’oeuvre has been so far for the evening. Open-ended questions get conversations going.
Hand Them a Business Card
Starting a new conversation is a great excuse to promote your business. Use caution and politeness when handing out business cards so that you don’t come off as pushy. Talk a bit first and let the topic of business come up. Don’t just give someone your card for no reason. As you exchange business cards, you can have a pleasant conversation.
Find a Shared Topic
Depending on the situation, you can consider a shared interest you may have with a stranger. Are you at the same business meeting? Are you both familiar with a certain restaurant? Perhaps you have the same acquaintance. Think of something you have in common. It doesn’t have to be anything big. Even the weather is a shared interest.
Try a Nice Compliment
Everyone enjoys a compliment. To start a conversation, let someone know you like their outfit. If you’re at a business meeting and you saw a person present a topic, you can tell them you enjoyed it. Kindness goes a long way and leads to more conversation.
Offer To Help
This technique isn’t always possible. But if you can help someone, offering to lend a hand works well. You can hold a drink while someone is in line for food at a gathering. Also, you can help with a coat, hold a door, or offer an umbrella in the rain. Helpfulness is a great conversation starter that may make someone’s day.
You can try our techniques for starting conversations with strangers the next time you’re out and about, at a social gathering, or a networking event. You’ll soon be a pro at making small talk.