How to Start a Conversation with Someone You Don't Know
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How to Start a Conversation with Someone You Don't Know

Here are a few simple things that will help you develop conversation skills and feel at ease talking to people you don't know.

Sometimes at a social occasion you find yourself standing alone. Everyone near you is in small groups, laughing and chatting. Looking around the room you see another person also standing alone. Will you continue standing alone, or do you have the confidence to go and start a conversation with the person you don’t know? There are a few easy steps that will help you overcome shyness and start a conversation.

Have a simple self introduction ready before you leave home. If you’re shy and worried about talking to people you don’t know, have a short introduction ready in your head before you leave home. This should include your name and one thing about yourself, preferably why you’re at the event you’re attending.

Read about topics of interest. If you know you have difficulty talking to people, make sure you read widely and listen to news and currents of topic interest on TV. By being aware of what is happening in your world you’ll be more confident when talking to other people. If the occasion you are attending has a specific reason, such as a family occasion or special celebration, think about what you could add to a conversation.

Develop conversations in your head. This is a bit like a rehearsal. While you’re having a shower, or when you’re getting ready to go, think of a subject you’ll feel confident talking about and have a conversation with yourself. Ask yourself what, when, why, how, who questions and answer them. This is great practice for the real thing.

Smile and introduce yourself. This isn’t as difficult as it may seem. The secret is to not hesitate. Rather than worry about what you will say and whether you will like the person or not, just walk over with a smile and introduce yourself. Most likely you’ll receive a smile and an introduction in return.

Establish why you are there. The best way to get any conversation rolling after the introduction is to find out why both of you are there. This gives you a chance to find any common ground on which to establish a conversation. Often, once the ice is broken in this way, the conversation will continue with ease.

If you need to, ask questions. If the conversation comes to a halt, rather than stand there looking awkward, ask the other person a question about something they have said.

Don’t take it personally if the other person doesn’t want to talk.  The worst case scenario is the other person doesn’t want to talk, not just to you, but to anyone. That’s fine. Don’t take it personally. Smile graciously and say that it was nice meeting them before walking away.

Practice makes perfect. Like most things, the more conversations you have with people you’ve never met before, the easier it becomes. Knowing how to start a conversation makes attending social events less of an ordeal. Putting in a little time before you leave home ensures you have something to talk about and are confident in approaching others. You may be surprised at how many interesting people you meet.

 How to Overcome Shyness and Feel Confident in a Crowded Room

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Comments (6)

excellent article, there are so many people who do not know how to make chit chat

I can talk someones ear off and it doesn't matter that I don't know them. Great article.

Hey that is a nice article. It is sad that people have to read such articles to break the ice with strangers. :)

Very thoughtful Val.

Good advice,I used to be shy ,you know the flower on the wallpaper. I'm a pastor now and i'll talk to anyone but i think most shy people appreciate it when someone engages them in conversation.

Just what I need.