We have all probably been in a situation where we do not know what to say. Once we have broken the ice and began speaking things usually get a lot easier, but whatever situation you are in, whether it be a conversation in a bus line with a complete stranger, talking with your siblings at a party, a first date with someone you are trying to impress or simply talking with an old friend you maybe haven’t seen in a while, you can often be stuck for conversation starters.
One problem with conversation starters is that too often, people feel that they need to be really witty and smart with how they open a conversation; that is not the case. In fact, if you try to be too smart, that can be off-putting to the person you are talking to so that they in turn do not know how to answer you.
If that is the case, that conversation is going nowhere and there will be an embarrassed silence until one or other of you finds somewhere to slink off to where there is not so much tension and pressure to talk.
It is a far better idea to find conversation starters which are easy to answer that people are likely to have an opinion which they will not mind sharing with you, so the questions should be light and not touch too deeply on people’s beliefs.
However, that does not mean that conversation starters have to be banal and boring. Far from it; depending on how well you know the people you are starting a conversation with, you can use some very interesting conversation starters and make quite an impression upon the person with whom you are having a conversation; you just need to be careful to listen properly to how they answer your question.
You will be able to pick up some other topic of conversation from there and that is what makes it a two-way conversation, not a lecture from you.
Here are some examples of useful conversation starters:
1. If you could live in any home on a TV series, where would you live?
2. What is your favorite Elvis Presley song?
3. What was your favorite TV series as a child?
4. What is the most recent trip you took?
5. What do you usually like to order when you go out to dinner? (If you keep this question for someone you know a little but would like to date, you could then follow it up by asking them casually to go out to dinner with you; at least you’ll know what type of restaurant to take them to.)
6. What is your favorite word?
7. What is your least favorite word?
8. What’s your favorite movie or musical?
9. Have you ever had dancing lessons?
10. What’s your favorite ‘knock knock’ joke?
11. If you could go to dinner with any celebrity, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
12. If you could have a super-power which would you choose to have?
13. Name (or preferably sing) five songs to which you know all the words.
14. What’s the best bargain you have ever got?
15. What is the longest you have ever queued to buy something and what was it?
All of these conversation starters are suitable for a range of different situations and you don’t need to know people very intimately to use them. People will not be embarrassed to answer these questions as they do not require them to give away too much information about themselves and there is nothing there by which they can be judged too harshly.
Also, they all should be questions for which they can easily think of an answer. They leave the way open for further chat to build upon what you find out. They can also choose to answer these questions seriously or with humor. Essentials of good conversation starters are that they are easy to answer but do not put the respondents under pressure to give too much away of themselves.