11 Practical Tips on How to Start a Conversation

How to start a conversation in English? Communication is a very important skill to obtain, as it’s a way we can build and grow relationships with others, which can sometimes even last a lifetime. Some people make this skill seem effortless, but unfortunately, not all of us were born with the gift of communication, meaning we may need some guidance. If that’s you, then you’ve come to the right place!

Now, you may have found yourself in a situation where you have to talk with someone but have no idea how to start a conversation, or perhaps someone has caught your eye and you just have no idea how to approach them. We’ve all been there. However, be prepared to make that a thing of the past because I’m going to share with you various ways you can start a conversation.

11 Practical Tips on How to Start a Conversation

No matter how you choose to start a conversation, keep in mind that there is no ‘perfect’ answer.

So, don’t bother spending hours on how to start. Just start.

Pay them a compliment

Whether you have already met them or it’s your first time speaking, starting a conversation with a compliment is a great way to grab the other person’s attention, as well as create a positive and friendly atmosphere.

  • Example: “Hi, you look amazing in that dress!” or “Hey, I absolutely loved your presentation!”

Ask them for their opinion

Another perfect way to grab someone’s attention and spark a great conversation is by asking them for their opinion on something. However, make sure you start with something that is relevant. You don’t want to scare them off.

  • Example: “Hey, I was thinking about attending that workshop. What did you think of it?”

Ask them for help

This is a classic conversation starter, used in romance movies continuously all over the world. Asking someone for help on something you really don’t need help with but just need an excuse to talk to them, you can actually use this method in real life.

  • Example: “Hey, do you know when the meeting is supposed to start?” or “Hey, do we have an assignment due tomorrow? I completely forgot about it.”

Use what you already know

Sometimes the answer is literally staring us right in the face and we don’t even realise it. If you know they’re really passionate about something or you find yourself being at the same party as them, use that to come up with a conversation starter.

  • Example: “Cool party, right? How do you know the host?” or “So, I say the game last night. That was such a foul…”

Don’t just ask “How are you?”

Many people use “How are you?” as a conversation starter, which is totally fine. However, you’re not providing any further room to expand on the conversation. You’ll most likely receive a vague “Good.” and that’s about it, to avoid this try adding a little more.

  • Example: “I didn’t see you today. How are you?” or “I heard about what happened to your father. How are you?”

Ask them to expand

If you’re talking to someone and they give you some information, don’t be afraid to ask them to go further on the topic. This will not only help you to get to know them better, building a stronger relationship but will also give you more to work with.

  • Example: “I’m sorry you’ve been feeling that way, tell me about it.” or “Wow! That’s so cool. Tell me more.”

Catch up on lost time

If you need a reason to start a conversation with someone you know, try to show curiosity about the time in their life that you’ve missed. Even if it was just a summer break or a weekend, knowing that someone wants to listen to what you’ve been up to will make you feel important to them.

  • Example: “Hey! I haven’t seen you since high school. What have you been up to?” or “Get up to anything exciting this weekend?”

Body language

Communication isn’t just about verbal speech, but it’s also about body language. You’ll find that you’ll have a more successful conversation if you look approachable enough. For example, if you have your arms crossed or you’re avoiding any eye contact, the other person may feel that you’re just not interested in talking with them. If you’re texting, use emojis or punctuation to add excitement. If you’re calling someone, don’t use a blunt tone or this may cause the other person to feel that you’re just not bothered.

  • Example: Stand up straight and leave your arms on the side, to show that you a willing to accept a conversation and make eye contact with the person you are talking to. When you approach someone, add an expression to your face even if it’s a slight smile.

Offer some help

If you notice that someone may need some help, perhaps they seemed confused in class/work or maybe they seem like they have no idea where to go maybe because of their new. Don’t be afraid to offer your help, this will immediately create a strong foundation for any future conversations.

  • Example: “Hey, you look a little lost. Are you new? I can show you around.” or “You struggled in class today, want some help?”

Look for something you have in common

If you’re both working in the same industry or take a part of the same after-school club, why not start with that? This will help to create an immediate connection between the two of you.

  • Example: “So, how long have you been working for the company?” or “I love soccer, what got you into it?”

Avoid making them feel uncomfortable

Talking can be extremely fun, but remember to give the other person a turn to talk as well. Without being interrupted or unheard. You also want to avoid any topics they’re not comfortable with talking about, so if you see that they don’t want to continue talking about a certain topic, don’t continue with the same topic, change it.

  • Example: When talking about something that you feel like you could talk for hours on, remember to not put all of your cards on the table right away. Leave some things for future conversations. If you see they’re uncomfortable, apologize, and try to ask them what they would prefer to talk about.

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