How do I start talking? 🤔
From the time immemorial, this has remained one of the most gruelling questions.
I am pretty sure even the most sophisticated talkers must have felt this way at least once in their lives.
Starting a conversation isn’t that tough. However, overthinking about conversation starters may make it seem like a tough nut to crack.
Can you imagine there are 5,86,00,000 results about conversation starters on Google?
It looks like a big… BIG… problem.
Most of these are for dates and friendships, but still half a million is a exorbitant number to me.
Dates, first meetings, stages and interviews are the few places where we want to make a GREAT impression.
I’ll let the dating Gurus do the talking for the first half.
I’m going to take over the other half for you professional guys.
Because conversation starters with colleagues or professional contacts will look starkly different than those with new friends or prospective dates.
Conversation starters or Ice breakers are the tried and tested sentences to initiate the conversation and then, keep it going.
In a professional setting, it’s crucial to make a great first impression. Specially, on social media or emails. These are the places you and your professional counterparts are active on.
And, we take them seriously. In recent years, there has been a noticeable trend among HR professionals to check the information supplied by a job applicant by comparing it with the information available on his or her Social Networking Websites.
And by that I mean, they scrutinize everything.
Your public profiles, your posts, overall tone and views – Everything.
Sometimes, you connect with great clients and professionals through social media.
So, you have to up your social media game if you wanna remain relevant.
And, we don’t wanna come off as a desparate overtalker.
The psychology behind influencing people
As humans, we have an innate need to belong and stand out. At the same time.
If you want to grab attention, you’ll need following 6 key factors:
1. Reciprocity – When you like or take action on someone’s posts, they feel compelled to do the same for you.
2. Consistency – When you are committed to similar topics, you post about them and share your insights. People feel connected to you.
3. Authority – People are more willing to follow the directions or recommendations of a communicator who has relevant authority or expertise. For example, an expert talking in
technical terms has more persuasive powers than others.
4. Validation – Validating others can be a good way of being agreeable and it can lead to meaningful communications.
5. Affinity – People prefer to talk to those they know, like and find attractive. Yes folks, Having a common connection does help.
6. Curiosity – People find objects and opportunities more attractive
to the degree that they are scarce, rare, mind baffling or dwindling in availability. When everyone is saying red and you say blue, a few heads will turn.
If you are able to evoke any of the above mentioned emotions, you are already halfway.
Based on these 6 techniques of influencing professionals, I have given a set of staple conversation starters to get the conversation going:
Compelling conversation starters for professionals:
Your motive is to at least begin the conversation. You can do so by asking questions about what they posted. Or you can share your own experience.
Do you think…
Do you know if…
Could you tell me…
Interesting! I like…
See if you can find a topic you know the person is passionate about. Passions can get your coworkers talking, and you can learn something new. Remember to keep the conversation friendly and positive.
Conversation openers that makes the conversation about them
As I already said we crave attention. That’s why we seek validation. If you manage to make a conversation about them, they are already in.
Soliciting other people’s opinions shows you value and are interested in what they have to say.
This is a great…
Compliments are great conversation starters because they instantly flatter the recipient, making them warmer to you and more willing to participate in your conversation–no matter where it heads.
Subtle way to start professional conversations and lead them where you want.
The trick here is to point out something interesting. Then, gradually introduce a string of conversation that points toward your intended goal.
For an example, if you want to talk about the SEO product you’re about to release, you could open with something like, “have you used any good SEO tools lately?”, then gradually shift to your own product.
All you need to do is hang onto the conversation long enough to gradually introduce the topic you want to explore.
Icebreakers for the curious cats
I am curious…
I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed by the fact that…
Wow, I just can’t believe…
Any chance you read the news today? I missed it, and I’m dying to know what’s happening with…
I’ll be honest,…
You can fill in the last part as per the context. All you need to do is be random and create curiosity.
No one is immune to this. Even the big heads and the most important people will turn their heads when something unusual catches their attention.
I am not going overboard with the suggestions because we are in a professional setting and that too on social media.
Our goal is to look professional and interesting at the same night.
It goes without saying, you don’t have to be overdramatic and scandalous in order to get the attention.
Being agreeable and well mannered brings equally good results. Never underestimate the power of simple thanks. They never go wrong.
Thanks for sharing…
Thank you for…
This will help me…
Just make sure you add value to your comment by pointing out your observation, or honest compliment.
And, believe it or not most people can see through your flattery.
We often feel we aren’t good enough. “Who am I to talk to her?” we say when we should be saying, “Who am I NOT to talk to her?” You are good enough, but you have to believe it with confidence.