Top 10 Good Conversation Topics That Work Every Time
The art of good conversation lies in making the other person – stranger or not – feel comfortable or at ease about your presence. It is both a skill and an art. If you’re not totally confident about striking a conversation with strangers, you may have to keep a small cue card in your jacket. Or, you can practice small chitchat at the office elevator. The important thing to remember is to get the other person’s attention and be interesting or entertaining enough to sustain that attention for a few more minutes. To help you along, here are 10 good conversation topics that work every time!
10. Give a compliment
It’s not that people are vain, but everyone loves a good compliment. This is deeply rooted in our DNA and is a foolproof way to start a conversation with someone. Women do not find other women giving them compliments as off-putting or creepy. Of course, to be on the safe side, choose your worlds carefully. You can give a compliment on a person’s hair, a new suit, a great color of lipstick, bag or how well he or she has done at school or work. You’re bound to elicit a positive response, and if you play your cards correctly, you’ll get more than the polite thank you and smile.
9. Ask their opinion
People love others who are genuinely interested in what they have to say or what they think about. It means that you are open to other people’s views and this makes them want to talk to you some more. For conversation starters, it will be smart to ask their views on something light – the wine you’re all having, the ambience in the restaurants, or the decorations in the ballroom. When he or she responds, look genuinely interested and engaged. Nod, agree with him or her, or ask them to elaborate if the response was short. However, just remember to steer clear of touchy topics such as weight (for women), hair loss (for men) and politics and religion.
8. What’s in a name?
Introduce yourself and ask the person for his or her name as well. A firm handshake also helps break the ice, but asking for the person’s name and using it during the conversation is not just considered polite, it is also a good conversation starter. Some people are able to use someone’s name and surname as a takeoff point for a conversation, or a good friendship for that matter. If the surname is regional or characteristic of one area, you already have a good topic to talk about. Using his or her name gives the feeling that you have connected with that person, even if you have met only briefly.
7. Common friends
Facebook aside, we’re all bound to have common friends or relatives. They say that there are six degrees of separation and you’ll be surprised how many people you both know or are in the same social or professional circle as you are. If attending a party, a good icebreaker will be to ask how he or she is related to the party host. From there you can work on how they met and the common experiences they have shared. Commonality is something every person wants to find or establish. We thrive in shared interests with others and this makes people open up easily to others.
6. How was your weekend?
Starting a conversation is not just difficult when you’re dealing with strangers. Sometimes, even people you know but are not really friends with can come off as aloof and intimidating. If you’re in the same class at school, or you work in the same company, you can break the ice by asking the person how his weekend was or what he or she is planning for the coming one. Allowing a person to talk about his or her life and just listening is a great way to start a conversation and a friendship. It’s a give or take thing, so expect to be asked the same question in return. When it’s your turn to talk, make sure that you sound sincere. Show genuine interest in engaging the other person – make him or her feel like a part of your world.
5. What can you say about…?
Ask them to weigh in on a big news event or some scandal in your area. If you’re up to date on news events or technology, you can ask them what they think about the latest gadgets and mobile phone models. They’re almost always going to start talking about their laptop, tablet or smart phone. Most people are very vocal about discussing their possessions and what they think about it. On the other hand, you’re bound to get a lengthy response if you ask about the news.
4. Happy birthday and other occasions
Break awkward silence by asking the person about a birthday or an occasion within his or her family. This tip is for an advanced stage of friendship or professional relationship. Make sure that you do know who has had a birthday or have given birth and other similar milestones in life. If it’s the person himself, you can open with belated happy birthday or advanced happy birthday is the timing just happened to be right.
3. Make use of seasons
Seasons and the weather always make for great conversation openers. If the holiday season is approaching, you can ask about their plans or where they are going for the holidays. Since meaningful conversations are about opening up, this is the perfect opportunity to ask about their family and what traditions they observe. For example, if the person you are talking to has young children, you can ask him or her if the kids believe in Santa – and what crazy requests they are asking for.
2. Where’s a good place to eat?
If you’re from out of town and have met new people, one of the best ways to break the ice would be to ask about food. Ask what restaurants, diners or cafes they would recommend you try. From there you can ask them what their favorite foods are. Better yet, invite them to go there and share a meal with your new friends.
1. Talk music or movies
Who doesn’t have an MP3 player, a laptop or an iPad? You can strike up a conversation by asking what their influences are in music or what type of movies they enjoy seeing. Again, when listening to a response, be genuinely concerned and interested about the other person’s preferences.