How important is it to know how to start a conversation? Do a web search on the topic, ask friends or colleagues, and you will find out that most people have little idea how to do it, and are in fact petrified by the idea, mainly because they don’t want to face the kind of social rejection that is a possibility when trying to start a conversation. Nonetheless, we are dealing with essential communication skills, ones that have the potential to make the difference in your life, both socially and professionally.
Here are few tips to start a conversation :
Know Your Boundaries
- Different people are open to different levels of talking and sharing. Know when your question is getting too personal or making the other person uncomfortable.
- Having a difference of opinion is not the same as imposing it. Share your disagreement, but in a manner that does not seem like an attack on another person.
- Starting a conversation with “This is wrong. I don’t agree with it” will make the other person defensive.
- People feel shameful when they don’t know something and instead of showing curiosity to learn about it, they pretend to know the subject and nod in agreement.
- Don’t pretend to be someone you are not or pretend to know something that you don’t. Accept that you don’t know and ask “Oh, I don’t know about that. What’s that?”
- Accepting vulnerability is the most powerful means to build a long lasting connection.
Keep It Simple
- We over complicate things in our mind by overthinking and obsessing about the perfect question and then end up killing the idea of talk to the person when we can’t seem to find one.
- Conversations don’t always need a perfect start. We need to get started somewhere and then give it a direction.
- In today’s world with a constant stream of distractions all around us, it’s difficult to choose a human connection over a digital one. Conversations where we are constantly distracted don’t add value. Great conversations require us to be present, mentally and physically in the moment.
- Stop looking at your phones and actually start paying attention to the person right next to you.