We’ve probably all been in scenarios like these:
- You’re at a house party, looking at this cute girl/ guy sitting in the other corner. You want to go and talk to them, but you have absolutely no idea what to say, how they will reply and what to say next. They see you looking at them; you immediately break eye-contact and just stand there. Now you kind of feel like a stalker.
- You’re at a business conference, sitting in your sit and waiting for it to start. There is a guy sitting next to you who you would like to network with. But you’ve already used your “Nice weather we’re having” line with him and the only reply you’ve got was a bored: “Yeah”, then the conversation stopped. You have no clue what to say or do next.
Ladies and gents, I present to you one of the most simple and powerful conversation tools: The Conversation Starter!
The Definition of Conversation Starters
Conversation starters are verbal sequences which you can successfully use to initiate a conversation. At first they may be something you apply consciously and premeditated, afterward they may become automatic.
If you think about it, any conversation which starts and doesn’t end immediately is the effect of a good conversation starter. We use conversation starters every day, but we rarely understand them consciously and work at mastering them.
The Role of Conversation Starters
In my experience, most individuals have no problems starting conversations with friends, with people who are very sociable or with people they’re comfortable with. It is the other types of people which represent a challenge:
- People we’ve just been introduced to;
- People with high status;
- Very attractive girls/ guys;
- People we seem to have nothing in common with;
- People who seem or who are cold and unfriendly;
- People with poor social skills;
- The future mother-in-law.
It is for these types of people that you may require to use planned convo starters. It is in many of those first contact social situations when your mind kind of goes blank or you don’t know what the proper thing to say is, that a couple of good conversation starters come in handy.
Imagine yourself driving a car. Good conversations starters are like that first gear of a car which provides more horse power and gets you moving the first few feet. Then the momentum is built and you can switch to a higher gear.
One essential thing I’ve discovered as a communication coach is that in most social interactions, the only possibly hard steps are the first ones. Once the wheels are spinning and the other person finds out how cool talking to you is, it’s all downhill from there. This is what makes a powerful start a precious thing.