Conversation Kickstarters

Are you the kind of person who gets sweaty palms just thinking about how to initiate interesting conversation on dates or with that cute stranger at Starbucks? Does the thought of awkward silence and/or forced dull interaction make you cringe? Don't worry - every person on Earth is nervous about it.  The key to know is that "small talk" is totally OK to get things rolling - thank goodness for the weather (which is more than 50% of small talk in an initial conversation)!  Also, your environment is chock full of "props" to start a conversation with.  Think about your basic Starbucks...there are so many things to chat about; the food in the cases, the dozens of types of coffee drinks, the background music, the newspapers.  To help grease your wheels, the SDA coaches have compiled a list of awesome conversation-starters and handy general tips to help you get the ball rolling!

1. Scenario 1 - You're walking around outside - maybe at a holiday festival...

"[NAME OF CITY] is beautiful this time of the year!"

From there, you can ask:

a. What's your favorite season? (Why?)

b. What things do you like to do in [NAME OF CITY] during this season?

c. I love [DIFFERENT NAME OF CITY] during this time of the year too. Have you been there? 

d. What other cities have you been to? (Which ones are your favorite? Why?)

 

2.  Scenario 2 - You're sitting in a restaurant at the bar, or on a date in a restaurant...

"[NAME OF RESTAURANT] is one of my favorite spots because [REASONS BASED ON FOOD/DECOR/AMBIANCE]. 

From there, you can ask:

a. What kind of food can you not live without?

b. I like interior designs like this that are eye-catching but comfortable at the same time. What type of decor do you like at your own place? (How would you decorate your dream home if money weren't an issue?)

c. I wish I could get the playlist they use here. Do you listen to music a lot when you're at home or working? (Do you listen to different types of music depending on what you're doing?)

d. I'd love to find more places like this. Are there any new spots you've been wanting to go to?

 

3. Scenario 3 - You are really anywhere - could be the bus, train, a party, bar, etc...

"I love people-watching here! There are so many really interesting characters."

From there, you can ask:

a. See that guy/girl/man/lady over there? He/She looks like [GUESS ABOUT THEIR BACKGROUND BASED ON YOUR OBSERVATION). What do you think?

b. If I had seen you here for the first time, I probably would have thought you were [POSITIVE/FUNNY GUESS ABOUT YOUR DATE'S BACKGROUND]. What would you have thought of me, based on first impressions?

 

General Tips:

*Notice that these conversation starters are all related to something going on in your environment. In general, making an observation about your environment and letting that become a topic of conversation (or letting it flow into related questions/topics) is a great tactic when trying to strike up a chat - and seems very natural. Practice coming up with your own by being observant about your surroundings and thinking of opinion questions that relate to your observations!

*There's never any need to ask every single question you have in mind. The point of making a list of questions is to provide an opener to a conversation, or to guide it when conversation dies. Once you've used a question, try to let the conversation flow on its own from there!  A good conversation is like a tennis match -- you serve the ball over the net, and hopefully your new friend will hit the ball back over the net, then your turn, etc.  Your goal is to be the conversational leader -- serve the ball over, wait for them to hit it back -- then be a present, active listener - and ask great questions back.   Great conversation is a skill that you can learn, whether you're an introvert or extrovert!  Happy Chatting!   xoxo