How do I start a conversation?

Starting a conversation isn’t easy, especially with someone you’ve never met before.

Suddenly saying ‘Nice to meet you’ and giving your name might seem strange to the other person.  It can be too direct or confrontational.

One way to start conversations in a less confrontational way is using tag questions.

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These are are less direct than normal questions, so can be a useful way to start speaking with people you meet for the first time.  Try to keep them simple and comment on the situation of the meeting (eg. weather, surroundings) rather than asking personal questions.  Below are some examples you can use (with the exception of ‘You’re new here, too’, they’re all tag questions).

Later, use phrases like ‘By the way, I’m…, nice to meet you’ to do your formal introduction.   This can even happen at the end of the conversation.  Some people also like to shake hands and exchange business cards at this point.

Extra tip!! To further continue your first time conversations, show you’re interested by reacting and asking for more information. Use phrases like ‘Really?  What kind of …?’ Try and also find things in common and use phrases like ‘Me too’ or ‘Same here.’

Related links:

How do I change topics in conversations?

How do I end conversations politely?


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