How to start a conversation

Author Catherine Blyth tells us how to oil the wheels of conversation at a social gathering


How to start a conversation

2 minute read

1. Get the ball rolling

Introduce yourself and start with a non-confrontational exchange. Think of potential topics beforehand, then scatter them lightly to see which ones engage the other person.

2. Be curious

Listen carefully, ask questions and build on what the other person says in response to your opening gambit. Try to establish what interests them and encourage them to tell you more. Being interested in someone is the best way to find out what is interesting about them.

3. Use body language 

Give the person your full attention and don’t look over their shoulder while you are conversing! Nod, smile and show that you are interested in them. Nothing kills a conversations faster than appearing bored.

4. Move it along

Once you’ve established common ground, you might want to offer your opinions or feelings. Don’t overshare but a simple acknowledgement that you find parties nerve-racking allows the other person to reveal something about themselves in exchange. Remember to respect boundaries. Some people are happy to share details about their lives from the outset while others are more reserved.

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