So many people worry about how to start a
conversation. It makes them feel anxious and
afraid. Are you one of those people who keep your
fingers crossed that someone will come up to you
and speak because you’d never make the first move
in a conversation in a million years?
You can put all that behind you with you a few
easy steps. Starting a conversation isn’t
difficult if you know how to do it.
Here’s how to start a conversation with anyone:
1. Think what you want to get out of the
conversation first. Often this will just be small
talk on a social level, but it may also be
something like a date, a new job or to sort out
your finances. The latter examples are a little
trickier than the first, admittedly, but you can
2. Plan what you want to say. People often feel a
little easier in their minds if they have a
script worked out in advance. The point to
remember with a script, though – is to make it
just a few sentences to get you over the initial
trauma of opening your mouth and speaking that
first time in a new situation. Any more than that
and you’ll sound false.
Okay, so you know what you want to get out of the
conversation and you have a little script worked
out for the first few sentences. Let’s see how
that works in practice when it comes to the
3. Relax! Breathe slowly and make yourself aware
of your breathing. Concentrate on just your
breathing for a few seconds and you should feel
some of the tension you’re feeling begin to ease.
4. Smile! If you can stop gritting your teeth
long enough to smile, people will be more likely
to smile back.
5. Listen well. Listening always helps you in
conversations. It will show you when others have
finished speaking so you know where to come in
and if you listen well you’ll also pick up clues
about what you could say.
6. When you feel comfortable, say ‘Hello, my name
is ____’ if the other people don’t know you. That
will also give you some breathing space as the
other people will probably go on to introduce
themselves to you in return – if their Moms have
taught them good manners!
Try to catch peoples names and use them in the
conversation when talking to them. They will like
that and they will warm to you. The more they
warm to you, the nicer they’ll be to you and the
better you’ll feel.
Using peoples names is a simple trick but it
really works wonders in getting a conversation
off on the right foot.
7. You’ll probably find it easier at first to
talk by making a comment on a more substantial
contribution that someone else has already made
in the conversation. Make your comment positive
or constructive, not negative or condemning.
Tell the other person you agree with them or add
an example which illustrates the point that they
have just made and supports it, etc. You’ll soon
be accepted as part of the conversation and the
person you backed up will feel you are an ally
and will back you up in return. You’ve arrived!
8. You can disagree with the person in your
comment too – we’re all entitled to our opinion!
But be aware that disagreeing is likely to focus
more attention on you. If you’re ready for that –
great! If not, hang back a little from expressing
an opposing opinion.
9. Whatever comment you make – be polite. That
sounds so obvious, but you’d be amazed how many
people get carried away in the heat of a
conversation and snap at anyone who dares to
disagree with them.
10. Are you feeling braver yet? If you’re
listening well to the conversation – and you
should be – there will be ideas that will come
into your mind. Just put one of those ideas out
there and see what people think of it.
That’s it! You’ve done it! You’ve learned how to
start a conversation.
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