How to Start a Conversation With a Stranger
What keeps us fascinating is good dialogue. After all, we spend a large portion of our time talking and a smaller portion of our time listening. Why be bored, why be boring—especially when you don’t have to be?—Edwin Newman (1919-2010)
We have all been there before – you’re engaging in a lovely conversation, things are catching up slowly, and then suddenly out of nowhere, the awkward silence peaks its head towards the conversation. At that moment, the silence is grave and you feel awkward with a mind that has gone blank. You have no idea what to say and both of your eyes start wandering to avoid the hesitation and awkwardness or let’s take another account into consideration.
Listen to what people are saying the next time you walk into a place full of people! They’re all communicating with each other through communication. The conversation is the primary means through which we communicate our ideas, beliefs, ambitions, and feelings to people with whom we come into touch. It is also the most common way of forming and maintaining friendships and partnerships.
We can connect and communicate with others around us when the “channel of conversation” is open. Starting and maintaining a discussion might be difficult if the conversational channel is closed. Your capacity to engage with other people has a huge impact on your success and happiness; if you can develop the unique ability to strike up a wonderful conversation with anyone you encounter, you’ll be able to achieve all of your goals much faster. Why? Because it’s more vital to know who you know than it is to know what you know!
Discovering how to start a wonderful conversation with anyone, anyplace, even with a complete stranger, involves two steps. The first stage is to gain emotional control, and the second is to learn and implement the essential distinctions that great conversationalists use anytime they meet someone new.
Ready? Let’s begin with the steps and Start a Conversation with anyone.
How to have a conversation with a stranger?
Below are the steps of starting conversation with a stranger:
Step 1. Learn to control your emotional state.
There goes a saying, the first impression is the last impression. That’s somehow true till date because first impression counts and you should always come off as your best self when you’re approaching someone to initiate and have a conversation. Try to be confident, positive, and in no position to need approval from anybody, try to be as much as confident and verbal as you can without over pressuring yourself, try to free your nerves from overthinking worst-case scenarios
Step 2. Let go of your need of wanting approval.
One of the main blocking reasons as to why a lot of people hold themselves back so much from initiating and carrying out a conversation is the worry they hold of being rejected or ignored. We all as humans crave appreciation and approval. The irony is when you get rid of wanting approval you are very likely to receive it. It’s simple when you start approving yourself, others will most likely pick it up and reflect it back positively.
When you have nothing holding you back, you are your most authentic self and authenticity will push you towards shaking more hands and hearty conversations.
Step 3. Keep the conversations light and enjoyable.
When speaking with someone you have never met before, it is preferable to stick to themes that are neutral and may be discussed by anybody. Politics, religion, and sex should not be discussed unless they are acceptable for the situation and the other person is comfortable discussing them.
Step 4. Try to make the person you are trying to converse feel good.
If you keep one primary objective in mind – making the other person feel good – the conversation will become secondary. Reaching new people with this goal implies looking for ways to talk to them about what interests them, maintaining a positive tone, and putting their needs ahead of your own.
You can make someone feel good by giving them your undivided attention, being an excellent listener, and being genuinely interested in their viewpoints. Another way to make someone delighted is to make yourself feel good. When you are positive, energetic, and self-assured, your vitality will rub off on others. When you approach conversations with new people as an opportunity to serve and give, it becomes much easier to strike up a conversation.
Try to ask these prompt questions to yourself before initiating a conversation and things will get a lot easier :
- What topic would this person like to discuss?
2. Is he/she having a pleasant day?
Step 5. Open-ended questions for the rescue.
Any conversation is a dance of questions and answers. The better the questions you ask, the easier it is for the other person to respond in a sense that moves the conversation forward. With this in mind, it is best to ask open-ended questions that allow for more open-ended discussions. Avoid closed questions that require a simple yes or no response, such as did you? Are you one of them? Is that correct…?
Use the open-ended questions listed below:
3. In what manner?
5. What are you talking about?
6. Why is this so?
Your goal with questions is to keep the conversation moving forward, so ask questions that move the conversation forward while maintaining a positive tone. And don’t forget to add your own observations from time to time, or else the other person will feel interrogated.
Step 6. Authenticity over everything.
It is vital to be yourself when meeting new people. Pretending to be someone you’re not is the last thing you want to do. If you do, you will come across as untrustworthy, and your words will sound hollow. People will find it difficult to take you seriously, making deep rapport virtually impossible.
Obviously, you want to be liked, and if you are flexible when dealing with people, you will be able to create a strong rapport with a diverse range of people. However, you must not let your desire for acceptance get in the way of being genuine, sincere, and honest. Let go of the desire for approval and look at meeting new people as a fun and exciting experience.
Step 7. Don’t force it, wind it if it starts fading.
Remember there will be times when some individuals don’t want to talk, and that’s okay too, and there will be days when the conversation was good and hearty but eventually, it starts fading, not being able to carry a conversation shouldn’t be regarded as a personal failure or incompetence, conversations are not a way one street, what is essential is how you wind up the conversation, try to be positive and polite before you exit.
You can always end the conversation with:
- Thank you so much for your time; I thoroughly enjoyed speaking with you.
- I’m going to hurry up and leave you alone so that someone else can speak with you.
Step 8. Seeking advice is an easy way for dialogues
One of my personal favorite tactics when approaching a stranger is to engage them in the activity of seeking and giving advice. This approach is effective because it makes them and their opinions feel relevant and valued, it gives you a brief about the person you wish to carry a conversation with, it gives them the safe space to talk.
Some prompts that can help you pave your way through an awkward conversation:
“Hello, those rice pearl earrings are stunning, they are so chic & dainty. I am a hoarder when it comes to dainty jewelry, where do you recommend for really good quality dainty jewelry?”
Step 9. Always bridge your conversations creatively.
Linking conversation will always help you carry forward your conversation with ultimate ease. Pick up a topic and build your conversation around it and if you are creative enough, you’ll pick up the traces from the conversation and this will lead towards more ideas for new topics to discuss and converse over. The point is there are no rules, as long as you know your conversation and the driving forces acting behind it, you are good to go. Don’t limit your opinions, express them openly. Remember the more you express, the more clarity the other person will get about the type of person you are, and your opinion is just as valid just as anybody else’s.
Here is an example:
My brand new flat screen laptop is made in china.
This statement leads to numerous topics, such as:
- Good places to buy electronics.
- Monopoly of China in electronic media.
- The impact of china imports in our economy.
The prompts and topics are limitless, you just have to pick something that suits you.
Step 10. Whenever things start tuning out, tune to “reminds me of”
Whenever you find yourself in a situation where your mind has gone blank, play “Reminds me of” which means that you look to the environment around you and say how this & that and then follow up with filling in the blanks with something that reminds you of… This technique is brilliant for opening conversational threads and it can also work as a follow-up when someone finishes off telling a story which is how many groups of friends interact all the time.
People are drawn to others who they perceive to be similar to themselves, and related stories can help to bridge that gap. Just to be sure not to repeatedly make your story superior to theirs or else you can feel like one-upping.
Step 11. Listen.
It goes without a doubt that listening is perhaps the most essential and important skill that you could develop and work upon.
Buddha said, and I’m paraphrasing, “If your mouth is open, you’re simply not learning at all.” The question is if it’s that important, why do we not listen to each other? Number one, we’d rather talk. When I’m talking I am in control, I don’t have to hear anything I’m not interested in. I’m the center of attention. I can bolster my own identity.
But there’s another reason, we get distracted. Listening surely does take effort and energy to actually pay attention to someone, but if you can’t do that, you’re not in a conversation. You are nothing but two individuals who are just shouting at each other with two parallel sentences in the same place. You must all pay attention to one another because what is life and this earth if not us human beings?
Read More, What is Love?
You can follow all these steps and become pro in talking to anyone. These steps are necessary to Start a Conversation with strangers. Communication may difficult for some people but its not impossible to start a conversation. Practise makes you perfect. So, don’t stop trying. You may get fail once or twice but can nail it third time.