We’ve all had conversations that feel forced or are filled with stiff silences, it can be so awkward. So in this article we’re going to go over how you can make conversation with anyone. We’ll do so by breaking down some tricks, some will be mindsets and some will be word for word questions you can use.
Most people have their guard up when they first meet you, they aren’t sure if you’re going to be competitive or try to put them down in some way. So the first trick is to grease the wheels early with a compliment. This isn’t something you have to do to make a small talk go well, but it helps you start the conversation with a positive vibe.
There’s a lot of potential compliments you could give someone. That said there’s three easy types you can focus on for small talk:
- Their work
- Their energy
- A platonic physical complement
With those three options you should be able to compliment almost anyone you meet.
However, people make three common mistakes when giving compliments that you’ll want to avoid:
- The first is making the compliment too sexual.
- Second is making a compliment you don’t mean, which makes you seem manipulative.
- The third is dwelling on the compliment.
A compliment is great, but especially with people of high status who hear compliments all the time, you’ll want to transition off of it fairly quickly.
“Reminds me of…”
In general transitioning off of an introduction and into an interesting conversation is one of the hardest parts of small talk. The best way to do this is by transitioning between topics using “reminds me of…”
It’s a simple habit to build and makes a huge difference in the quality of your small talk. So next time you’re in a conversation and can’t think of anything to say, it’s as simple as asking yourself “What does this remind me of?” and then branch off in whatever direction first comes to your mind.
Now, this may seem hard to work into a conversation but it’s actually quite simple. You just do it in two phases:
“Where do you live?” … “That’s cool. Why do you live there?”
“What do you do for work?” … “Interesting. Why did you decide to do that?”
Even if the person doesn’t love where they live, you’ll get to hear what’s important to them. Maybe it’s their job, their family, whatever it is now you know what’s important to them and can ask a question about that. Which they’re much more likely to want to talk about.
Ask Questions That Are Fun To Answer
An issue you might run into with small talk is that some people don’t have anything interesting going on in their lives to share about. One way to get them past that block is to ask a fun question that removes the constraint of having to be realistic.
“What would you do if you were the king of the world?”
Pulling both the why question trick and the fun question trick together is a great decision to get an interesting conversation going.
“What do you do?”
“Do you like it?”
If they say yes, you can ask why and bring out their values. If they say no you can ask “Well if you had £100 million. What would you do instead?”
Laugh Naturally & Easily
When you laugh easily, it’s more fun to talk to you. This is because it makes you feel good for being funny, even when you aren’t trying to be.
The goal here is not to fake laugh. What you want to do is allow yourself to laugh every time you find something funny. Laughing is a habit that gets easier the more you do it, so if you struggle to laugh when you’re out with friends or in conversation with strangers, a good habit is to watch something you know will make you laugh right before going out. This will help you be in a better state to laugh in conversation.
There’s several ways to mirror. The mirroring that I teach is simple and interestingly enough has a great impact on how the other person interacts with you. It’s basically just repeating the last one to three words that they’ve said word for word. Or it’s repeating a selected one to three words.
Don’t do this after every sentence, but if you find you want to make someone feel heard. Or you want to interrupt without making the person feel ignored, mirror their last three words.
Also it’s important not to just repeat it exactly as they did, stay true to yourself and your style. So you want to mirror someone’s last few words as a quick hack to build a bit of rapport but you don’t want to copy everything about someone. Stay true to yourself and have confidence in who you are.
What do you think? Do you have any tips for how you can make conversation with anyone? Please share them in the comments below.