Each conversation can open a new world of wonder and beauty
What is the best conversation starter that will work in any situation? What’s the solution to make it easy to meet anyone, anytime, especially when it’s the most important to us?
Have you ever had a situation where you wanted to start a conversation with someone but just couldn’t do it? While memorized lines and openers have their place, more often than not, they result in one thinking too much. And if we think too much, while we may get the conversation started, it doesn’t flow afterwards as we are too much in our heads.
By practicing and developing these 3 types of conversational starters, my goal is that it is a lot easier or ideally very easy to start conversations anytime and anywhere with whoever you want.
Before we get started, your mindset is very important. Your mindset needs to be that you are sharing great energy with people. Your goal is to make people smile, give them great energy, make things fun, and make their lives happier. Your intention is a benefit for the other person. Whether in a business networking meeting, on the street, in a bar, in a club, at the university, or wherever you are, when you’re coming from this frame, you’re giving. And when you’re giving, rejection doesn’t exist or is at least very significantly reduced. Whether or not someone accepts your gift is a lot up to where they are mentally right now; the key is that you did your best to positively impact them. By having this mindset you can relax, and enjoy the act of starting conversations with anyone and everyone. It’s fun, it makes other peoples’ days, and incidentally, it makes it part of your nature to be a conversationalist so that when that “ONE” appears, you naturally start a conversation with him or her.
1) Direct Conversation Starter
By direct, this means that you are clearly and unequivocally stating your interest in the other person up front, clearly and confidently.
It’s very important to maintain a solid eye contact, have an open body posture, be facing the other person, not fidget, keep your feet steady, speak slowly enough to be heard, and with a confident tonation.
Here are two that I have used. The key isn’t to copy what I am saying, but to copy the format.
For example, “Hey. I saw you and the way you were walking was adorable. I just had to meet you. My name is …”
Or, “Hi, I just had to say you have a very sensual energy by the way you are walking. Are you thinking of something sexy?”
Or, “I noticed you had great energy and wanted to meet you. My name is …”
If it was a business networking event, I would probably just walk up and introduce myself and give a solid handshake.
The format is to remark on something that you actually noticed about them that is specific. It could be their hair, style, way they are walking, smile, energy, way they speak, or anything else. If you are thinking, “I don’t notice much” then start going out right now where there are people and practice noticing things.
After you tell them your interest, it is important to lead forward. Whether that be to ask a question, introduce yourself, or something else. Another caveat is that the person has to be paying attention to you when you say it. If someone is walking by me, before making this conversation starter, I may tap their shoulder, say “Hey”, or say “Excuse me.”
2) Indirect Conversation Starter
An indirect opener is where your interest is initially expressed about something not related at all to the other person.
You could ask about an object they have, an opinion on a topic or some information.
For example, when I am in a new city, I often ask directions, about local events, or other activities. When I authentically am interested in information on the topic, this indirect opener is fantastic. It allows you to demonstrate your personality, connect on a very light level first, and allow the other(s) to warm up to you and start expressing their interest.
When I go to a new venue, I may ask what time it closes, what type of music it has, what time it fills out or related.
Last night when I was out with 2 friends, we were talking about the importance of energy in communication. There was a group of girls a few meters away, so I walked up and said, “We need your female opinion on something we’re talking about, can you come here.” They did and gave their opinion.
Later in the night we were talking about the importance of eye contact and in the moment there was a group of girls. I stopped and asked them the same thing, and we all got to know each other in the conversation.
With regards to opinions as conversation starters, I feel that they are best when they flow from what one is curious about or discussing in the moment, and not rehearsed or memorized.
To develop your indirect opener conversational skills, start asking people around you for information, for help, for things you previously Googled, and when you have a question or topic that you’re not sure on, keep it in mind and ask others. People are awesome and you can start doing this anywhere and all the time. When you thank the other for their feedback and say “God bless you” if you feel so inclined, you’re making their day brighter and making them feel even better for having helped you. And, incidentally, when you see that “ONE” who you really want to meet, you can naturally meet them with an indirect conversation starter.
Keep in mind that your genuine curiosity will show in your face, your vocal tone, your expression and body language. More likely than not, you’ll be angled toward them but not facing them directly. And while it’s important eye contact, having the strong eye contact of a direct conversation starter isn’t as important. And normally, body contact will not be as soon as with a direct conversation starter.
Again, it is important they can hear you. You can get their attention by saying, “Hey,” “Excuse Me,” or what you feel most comfortable with.
3) Observational Conversational Starter
In this conversation starter, you notice something about their emotional state. The more you are present, aware, and noticing all the things around you, the easier it is to do.
Focus on noticing something that is positive about them, or at least will not be interpreted as negative or a criticism. You have the option to make a statement or ask a question. I usually go with a statement.
As a statement, as an example, “You seem like you really like to drink beer to relax.” Whether it is right or not, the other person will correct you. Say it with a smile, relaxed eye contact and confident.
For other examples, “You just have this great energy.”
Or to a group, “You all have great energy. Are you all family or friends?”
This is my favorite as it connects you and the other person on what is happening around you. It anchors you in the present which is essential to continuing the conversation and shows you are aware of your surroundings.
For example, a baby is walking and is cute. You turn to someone next to you and remark on the baby. You enter an elevator and remark about how everyone is quiet in elevators.
Today, when I was at an organic market, I said numerous times to couples, singles, people older and younger than I am, that the music playing was fantastic. We smiled. They agreed and smiled back.
You need to get the other’s attention. Whether by drawing out the first words of your conversation starter, tapping one lightly on the shoulder, saying “excuse me,” saying “hey” or another word, making eye contact or other, this is the first step. Since each situation is unique, suffice it to say, they have to hear your conversation starter so they first have to be alerted to you.
Next, you need to be present enough to notice things around you. I gave you 4 types of things to notice and remark on. All I use all the time and are extremely effective.
While I will do other articles on conversational skills after the opener, it is important to follow up with something. The more you are present, relaxed, and already feeling great, the easier it is to do this. If it’s a group, you can ask something about the group, if they are friends or family, how long they have been friends, how long they have been together or any one of a million things. Talking about feelings is fantastic. E.g. asking how they feel about such and such place, topic, event, activity helps people share ideally positive emotions and connect on a level beyond logical thinking.
And the most important, you’re not doing this to get. You’re intention with these conversation starters is to share your incredible uniqueness with others. Make people smile. Give them a blessing. Make this a habit. We should all be starting uplifting conversations with others.
And allow that special individual who matches your ideal qualities to naturally flow into your life whether it’s the first or hundredth conversation you start.
Light, love, and fantastic conversations,