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Ways to initiate conversation

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You're at a party or a conference or just walking along the street when you see someone you Ways to initiate conversation like to talk with. It might be someone you've admired from afar, someone who might be a good customer or investor for your company, or someone you simply like the looks of.

Give someone a compliment and...

You struggle for the right thing to say that would get the two of you talking, but before you can come up with anything good, the person has moved on or gotten involved in a different conversation and the moment has passed. If this has happened to you, it needn't ever happen Ways to initiate conversation. You can gracefully start a conversation with absolutely anyone, anytime. There's only one secret: Say something the person will be happy to hear.

With that in mind, it should be very clear that a political comment unless you really know the listener's politicsanything that could be seen Ways to initiate conversation offensive, and most complaining is off the table. So is any kind of gossip. Instead, walk up to the person, speak pleasantly, and pick the most appropriate of the conversation-starters below. There's a decent chance you'll be chatting away in no time.

At the very least, you'll likely be able to get contact info you can use later on. I thought it was great. Don't say something negative because it's much too risky. The one exception to the no-negatives rule is weather. Would you take a quick look? Just make sure Ways to initiate conversation you ask for is something the listener can provide without much inconvenience. You won't often find yourself in a situation where you can help someone you're dying to talk to, but if it happens, don't miss your chance to be of use.

There's a free one over here. I happen to have an extra. Be careful not to be intrusive or excessive. Would you recommend it? He and I have done several projects together.

and “How 'bout them [insert...

Many people will begin thinking of you as someone Ways to initiate conversation know, or should know. Be careful, though, that their relationship with your shared acquaintance is on good terms -- you don't want to say you're best friends with someone only to learn your friend and the listener are in the midst of a legal dispute.

Does the listener come from the same town or region as you? Did you attend the same high school or college? Have you both worked for Ways to initiate conversation same company or boss? Do you both love to scuba dive? Any common ground is a good way to start someone talking, especially if you use it as a reason to ask for information or advice.

This works when you're wondering what to say to a celebrity, a noted VC, or someone prominent in your industry or company.

The hardest part of socializing,...

You'll never insult someone Ways to initiate conversation saying, "I really love your work," or "I thought your last blog post was very insightful. Don't fawn, don't make the mistake of critiquing the listener, as in "I thought your most recent movie was much better than last year's. Where did you get it? Don't comment on the listener's own physical appearance -- having a stranger or near-stranger tell you that you have beautiful eyes is more creepy than anything else.

The exception is hair. If the listener has recently changed hairstyle or had a haircut, it's fine to compliment that. But if someone started coloring hair to remove the gray, best to keep that comment to yourself.

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