Starting Conversations

I’m a total introvert. That does not mean I don’t like talking to people, but it does mean I don’t actually start a lot of conversations. If you approached me and started a conversation though, I’d be happy to talk to you. The point is, I know it can be a bit hard to start a conversation, and it’s particularly hard in another language. 

In this post, I’ll outline a few ways to start a conversation in business and semi-casual situations so that you can always be confident you’re saying the right thing. 

Keep in mind, these are just a few examples. You should always try to choose the right thing for your situation. 

1. Start with a compliment:

Take care! Compliments can be friendly, but don’t get too personal. Complimenting someone’s skirt might sound friendly from another woman, but that might be too casual. From a guy, it could sound creepy. So, use your best judgement. 

  • Your offices are great. How long have you been in this building?
  • Everyone has been so friendly. Thank you for having me.
  • I caught your presentation. You made some interesting points.

2. Ask open-ended questions and avoid yes/no questions which can quickly end a conversation.

  • What brings you to the event today?
  • How did you feel about the last presenter? 
  • Where did you hear about our company?

3. Share something interesting about yourself:

  • I came in from California for this event. 
  • Last year, I saw this presenter speak in London. 
  • I actually know the woman who designed your watch. 

4. Find common ground:

  • I noticed you’re wearing a Garmin watch. I have one too. 
  • I heard you mention you’re interested in M&A. What do you think about the Inatech / Vandalay merger
  • I’m always interested in new investment opportunities. What startups are you interested in?

5. Comment on the situation:

  • This is quite the event, isn’t it? 
  • I’m glad we can enjoy the cherry blossoms while they last.
  • The coffee’s not bad. Have you tried it?

This is a small sampling of things to say to start a conversation. Next, let’s practice what you’ve learned in class! 

Book a lesson and start speaking today.
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