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Starting a great conversation

Starting a conversation is one of the hardest parts of communication. Some conversations begin easily, but others seem as if it?s hard work just to get them off the ground. Having a good idea of great ways to start a conversation will help you avoid problems the next time you try to begin a conversation.

india Updated: May 30, 2006 14:50 IST

Starting a conversation is one of the hardest parts of communication. Some conversations begin easily, but others seem as if it’s hard work just to get them off the ground. Having a good idea of great ways to start a conversation will help you avoid problems the next time you try to begin a conversation.

There are five basic things you must know about starting a conversation that will end up being interesting and fun. The following outline explains how and why they work. Try keeping these in mind the next time you choose to start a conversation.

Do not drill with questions
The person you are talking with should not feel as if they are facing the firing squad. Do not keep firing questions at them without giving your own feedback and actually conversing.

Nothing is worse than feeling like you are getting the third degree. Asking too many questions quickly will only make the other person feel uncomfortable and leave them looking for a way out of the conversation before it has really begun.
Be funny

You can always tell a funny story to break the ice. You’d be surprised how sharing something funny that happened to you will get others to open up. Everyone loves to laugh and laughing makes people feel comfortable.

Ask open ended questions
Open-ended questions are questions that require more than a simple yes or no answer. Open ended questions allow people to elaborate and this creates conversation. You are drawing the person out and making them become part of a conversation.

These questions bring growth to a conversation as opposed to questions with yes or no answers. You can avoid awkward periods of silence that usually follow a yes or no questions as well.

Make the person comfortable
You can really get a person talking if they are happy to be talking to you. Let them initiate topics if you notice they seem uncomfortable. If you notice they seem distracted ask them if there is anything you can do to help. Maybe they really need to talk about something, but didn’t want to bring it up. You can turn a total stranger into a friend by just making them feel at home. Stand far enough to give them breathing room, but close enough to be able to clearly hear them.

First Published: May 30, 2006 14:50 IST