How do YOU start a conversation?

For those that have attended my professional networking seminars you’ve already heard many of my ideas on how to start a conversation and for those that haven’t yet attended I created the list below.

In addition, you can listen to  the very first episode of my new show that I create for Macmillan: The Public Speaker: Quick and Dirty Tip for Improving Your Communication Skills and the first episode is called “How to Start a Conversation

The show is full of innovative ideas about public speaking, networking, communication and leadership.

Highlights from “How to Start a Conversation”.

  • Shoulders back, smile, firm handshake. It’s OK to be nervous inside, but it is also important to show your inner confidence.
  • Show a genuine interest in other people.
  • Most people are happy to engage in a conversation and appreciate when another takes lead.
  • A simple direct approach is often very effective. E.g. “Hi Tony, I’m Lisa, what brings you here?” or Hi, I’m Lisa, a communication specialist, this is first <fill in event>, how about you? or “Hi, I’m Lisa…how’s the event going so far? Hi, I’m Lisa, hey…how’s that <food/drink> any good?
  • Find someone that knows the person (people) you want to meet and have them introduce you
  • Pay attention to the general news, to industry news, to the event happenings (speakers, interactions) to clothes, to jewelry,etc. Use this information to create open-ended questions based on these shared experiences. E.g. What did they think of the keynote speaker? I just read/heard that …what do you think?
  • You’ll need to share a bit of your own experience too but don’t dwell on that. This helps to establish common ground–once you do the conversation will naturally take off.
  • Don’t worry if you don’t get “down to business” it’s better to concentrate on making a new friend–collaboration will come later if you build a strong enough connection.
  • It helps to practice this skill with strangers in your favorite coffee shop or with people in the grocery line.
  • Please let us know what you think in the comments below.

    If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy:

    How to Start a Conversation

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    Top 10 Communication Skills?

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    Copyright Lisa B. Marshall ©2012-2013. All Rights Reserved. Photo of Lisa B. Marshall by Joan Ford Photography.