Killer Conversation Starters
How can you dazzle someone with your conversational skills?
How can you talk to anyone?
How can you be more memorable?
Easy: Use killer conversation starters.
But what else can you do to encourage good conversation? I have asked friends from around the web to help with some conversation tricks in addition to some of the ones I use. Here are our favorites:
These openers work great for beginning a conversation. They’re far more interesting than the standard “Where are you from?” type questions, and they are excellent conversation builders.
1. Tell me about you.
2. What’s your story?
3. What personal passion project are you working on right now?
4. Working on anything exciting lately?
5. How do you know the host?
6. Have you been to an event like this before?
7. What was the highlight of your day today?
8. What was the highlight of your week?
9. What was the high-point and low-point of your day so far?
10. Is this your busy season? Is this a busy time for you?
Continue the Conversation:
If you feel a little awkward asking personal questions right out of the gate, use your environment and surroundings to create conversation. Comment on the food and drinks. Ask about the venue or location. You can also ask general interest questions, like their favorite sports team or YouTube video.
11. What are you doing this weekend…what’s your favorite thing to do on the weekends?
12. What are your favorite restaurants around here?
13. Keeping up with __sport__ recently?
14. Can you recommend any unique cocktails here?
15. All the food looks so good… I’m not sure what to get! What are you thinking? Or what have you tried?
16. What a beautiful/cool/ugly/bizarre venue. Have you been here before?
17. Did you see that viral ____ YouTube video? It was all over my social media today.
Be bold. Ask the deep stuff. As the majority of our new conversations hover on surface-level topics, it’s refreshing to talk about more meaningful areas of our lives. These may be a bit forward as your first questions, but if the conversation is progressing well, try one or two of these out.
18. What’s your biggest fear?
19. If you had to pick any character in a book, movie or TV show who is most similar to you, who would you choose? Why?
20. What’s your biggest regret?
21. When you were growing up what was your dream job? Is any part of that still true?
Event Specific Conversation Starters:
Is there an upcoming holiday or special event? Use these as a base for fun and light-hearted conversations, like “What’s the best fireworks display you’ve seen on the 4th of July?” or “I went to the coolest Irish bar last St. Patrick’s Day. Doing anything fun this year for it?” This is one of the easiest ways to start a fun conversation!
22. Best Halloween costume you ever had?
23. Best Halloween costume you’ve ever seen?
24. Do you like haunted houses or scary rides?
25. How does your family celebrate?
26. Best Christmas memory you have ever had?
27. What’s an ideal Christmas for you?
28. How do you usually celebrate your birthday?
29. What was the best birthday you ever had?
30. What was the best birthday gift you ever had?
Any and all of these will work for you. Most people are so relieved to have you start and continue the conversation anyways! Remember to ask open ended questions—and avoid yes or no answers yourself. Also go for depth on interesting topics. Don’t be afraid to ask more questions and stick to one topic if it interests you.
Most importantly, be interested and interesting.
Bonus: Funny Pick-Up Lines from Readers
These were a few pick-up lines submitted from readers I thought you might enjoy as a bonus:
“Yo” –Jim Snell
“How’s it hangin’?” –Vicki Combden Murphy
“You are pretty cute for a short girl” –Jonathan Wichmann
“Me?” –Rachel Wong
Read how Juliet used our conversation starter in action:
Hi there Vanessa! I would like to share to you an experience I had in one of our Communication Readiness Training. We did something called Speed Dating”. It’s not totally Speed Dating in real life, but merely an activity to test and assess yourself how you interact with others from starting a conversation up until sustaining it until the time runs out. We were 14 trainees, 7 girls and the other 7 were boys. We were partnered up and would have to immediately start a conversation which would last for 3 minutes. After that, the boys would rotate and talk to the next girl until all 7 were done.
When we were about to do the activity, I remembered one of your articles or videos that I have read/watched about starting a conversation with the question: “What’s your personal passion?” I decided to be consistent with 7 of the boys and asked them similar question, being always the one to start the conversation. Personally, I don’t know the boys yet since we just started training a week ago. I don’t know much of their history except for their names and brief facts about themselves.
As I started conversing with them using that topic as a heads up, they openely shared their interests, hobbies, and things they’re passionate about. I was able to respond to them enthusiastically and relate to them, even if not to the extent of it. Like for example, one of the boys loves to play video games. I’m not that in to it, but I played a video game before so just by gauging their interest and probing more, we sustained a conversation just all about it. I tried doing it to all 7 of them with different topics of interest.
In the end of the activity, we were all asked to write who was the person that made a great impact/impression to us and the one we enjoyed the most talking to. When the results came up for the boys, 5 out of 7 chose me as the girl they had most fun with during the activity. I was a bit surprised but seeing them enthusiastically responding to me and giggling in out chat made the conversation enjoyable and indeed memorable.
I therefore want to thank you Vanessa for that awesome and not so common punchline that made me a better converser! ;)”
To Keep the Conversation Going:
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