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Old 04-01-2007   #1
B coder
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Default How to Start a Conversation when You Have Nothing to Talk About

Whether you are a host or a guest, there are many social situations that call for your interaction even when you are stumped for some way to get it going. You might want to help a friend's new significant other feel comfortable. You might see a stranger across a crowded room and realize that this is your only chance to impress Mr. or Miss Wonderful. Then you realize, you're not sure what to say.
  1. mingle at a party

    Start with a hello and simply tell the new person your name. Offer your hand to shake on her responding to you. If you already know the person, skip this step and proceed to step 2.
  2. Look around. See if there is anything worth pointing out. Sure, talking about the weather is a cliche, but if there's something unusual about it--bam!--you've got a great topic of conversation.
  3. Offer a compliment. Don't lie and say you love someone's hair when you think it's revolting, but if you like her shoes or handbag, say so. A sincere compliment is a wonderful way to get someone to warm up to you. But be careful not to say something so personal that you scare the person off or make her feel uncomfortable. It is best not to compliment a person's looks or body.

  4. Ask questions! People love to talk about themselves --- get them going. "What classes are you taking this year?" "Have you seen (Insert-Movie-Here)? What did you think of it?" Again, keep the questions light and not invasive. And another thing, do not ask any question about yourself because that will most likely make the conversation about yourself anyway. And people don't like that either.
  5. Jump on any conversation-starters she might offer. Take something she's said and run with it. Agree, disagree, ask a question about it or offer an opinion, just don't let it go by without notice.
  6. Look your newfound friend in the eye, it engenders trust. If the conversation goes on, you can possibly touch (lightly, don't claw at them) her hand, elbow or shoulder. Also, use her name a time or two during the conversation. It will help you to remember her name and draw her attention to what you are talking about.

  • Just relax. Chances are that whatever small-talk you're making isn't going to stick out in anyone's mind a few months from now. Just say whatever comes into your head, so long as it's not offensive or really weird. (Unless, of course, the person you're attempting to converse with is into weird stuff.)
  • It will help if you watch some TV and read a lot of newspapers or at least a blog or two. You need to have some idea of what is going on in the world. If you are shy, it will help to have thought about a topic or two you could talk about.
  • Follow the lead your listener is sending. If she appears interested, keep going. If she is looking at her watch or worse for an escape strategy, then you are going on for too long.
  • Interesting and funny quotes or facts always lighten things up & make way for things to talk about. ;-)

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