How to Start and Maintain a Conversation


Do you have the talent of being a great conversationalist? Have you ever had awkward pauses in conversations that draw all the life out of them? Hopefully not, but if you did, then this article will be of great use to you. To be a good conversationalist is to know only a combination of various methods of communication. Of course, people are different and there are different ways of getting their attention, but there are some general tips that work all the time, some less, some more.

So, let’s not beat about the bush, today we will talk about all the things that will make you great at starting and maintaining conversations. Awkward pauses will be a thing of the past, since you will be much more interesting to talk to. You will be better at keeping up a conversation, understanding the emotions of a person, and acting upon those emotions. Let’s start!

How to start a conversation

How to start a conversation

Base your questions to start a conversation upon the following topics:

Give a compliment

Compliments are a very powerful tool if used correctly. The correct way to use compliments is to talk about things that a person is proud of. For example: A person looks great, he has been working out a lot, he tries to keep himself in shape, well it’s more than appropriate to compliment him on that. He has been chasing such recognition, and you give it to him.

Start a small talk

How to start a conversation? Do small talk! It is a casual conversation on abstract topics that do not imply agreements, commitments, etc. Do you often talk about the weather? If yes, then this is small talk. With the help of such conversations, you can avoid awkward pauses, get to know the right people, or pass the time while standing in a long line.

Ask for their opinion

People love to express their opinions, some more than the others, whether they are right, wrong or idiotic, people like to speak about everything and everyone. But when you ask a person yourself to express their opinion, it feels great, it feels like you care and want to hear their opinion on any given topic. So, in a conversation, when discussing any topic, ask for a person’s opinion.

Ask for their advice or recommendations

How to have a conversation that is engaging for your partner? Ask for a recommendation. People love it when their intelligence and wisdom are valued by people. To ask for advice is to be interested in what a person has to say, and there is nothing better than that. You may not necessarily listen to that opinion or advice, you don’t have to, yet to be a good persuader, you have to let them have that opportunity of expression.

Ask open-ended questions

How to hold a conversation going? Ask questions that require a detailed answer. As in asking for an opinion or advice, you are asking directly, you may get too annoying, How to hold a conversationlook like a suck up, yet there is a way around it. You should ask open-ended questions, now the person has to answer them, and quite often, he will express his opinion on the topic.

How to find what to talk about

Base on your location

You have at least one or two things in common with any person you meet: at least the place you are both at, food and drinks. Take advantage of these resources and start a conversation about the environment. If there is in fact food involved, use this phrase “I cannot get myself away from these shrimps. Have you tried them yet?”

Ask about pets

People love their pets, we all do. They are just these little fluffy innocent balls of cuteness that everybody is worshipping. It is rare to find a person that doesn’t like pets, what kind a weirdo doesn’t like pets? Yet if you know that a person has one, then he will most likely be glad to talk for a couple of minutes about how cute his cat is, his tendencies, favorite toys and all that.

Ask about kids

It will sound quite cynical of me, yet it is just like talking about pets. A person adores his child, loves his every step and action, and so on. Men tend to talk less about their kids, yet women are quite more passionate about it, I mean they’ve brought the thing into the world, they will now gladly tell you about how many times a day this kid poops himself and all that.

Ask about hobbies

Hobbies, usually, are the ways of expression. Whether it’s physical or creative expression, people, most of the time, work 9 to 5 and then they may be painting pictures, playing football, writing songs, doing some boxing, and so on. So, generally, it is very good to ask a person about his hobbies, as they are his true passions, in which he is actually interested, and he will be intrigued to talk about them.

Brush up on current events

You may be a completely apolitical of a person, you just don’t like it, you don’t like the buzz, the long debates using weird words and people constantly accusing each other of things and all that horrible stuff. Yet people expect from others to know a certain amount of news, the most basic and biggest ones. You may not be interested in them, but you may come off as a weirdo by not knowing about them.

Draw on previous discussions

What are some good conversation topics? Those that have been touched upon before. It feels great to know that a person is listening to you. To know that you have been heard and that someone actually remembered what you said. So, train your memory to remember things to recall in your next conversations, as it will be a sign of attention and sincere interest in a person.

Remember next tips to have a good conversation:

Go of your fears

Fear can be your ally in many situations, many stand up comedians had their best performances while feeling fear and anxiety. Yet, it isn’t always this way, especially when trying to attract the attention of a certain person, you should not be talking about things that you fear, things about which it is uncomfortable for you to dwell on, and all that general nature.

Be sensitive with the companion’s feelings

This is a great sign of care for another person, but to do so properly, you have to sense the fears and topics that may be sensitive to a person, and then try your best to act upon that information. You should have a great sense of empathy, to know exactly what this or that person feels at every moment in a conversation.

Introduce yourself if necessary

First off, do not go overboard, you may come off like a cocky individual, that is starting a conversation for the sole purpose of introducing himself in the most glorious way possible, like an annoying pick-up weirdo. That being said, it is important to introduce yourself properly, but be modest, mention your name only when a person asks for it.

Say the companion's name

It goes both ways, to forget a name of your conversation partner may seem offensive, like you don’t really care about him, no one will like that. Of course, you can try your best without doing so, yet still, be cautious of the importance of this factor, no one being a nameless nobody.

Interesting things to talk aboutSynchronize with your conversation partner

No matter what interesting things to talk about you choose, follow up on topics that your partner is passionate about, synchronize with his rhythm of a conversation. You have to know the right moment when to insert your comments, since some people don’t have a problem in being interrupted, some say that they weren’t finished talking after 5 seconds of silence.

Keep your body language open

A person transmits information in many ways, yet people mostly think of words, rather than gestures, facial expressions, posture, eyes, skin and lots of other things. It has been proven that a big portion of the information we receive (about 80%) comes from non-verbal sources, while the words give us only 20% of all information.

Stay engaged in the conversation

How to keep a conversation going? Good memory will be your best friend in being a good listener. Everyone loves good listeners, people feel great when some information that they’ve said has been recalled and mentioned again, and, most importantly, properly acted upon. While it may be too weird, get a notepad and bullet point some important things that have been said by your conversation partner.

Respond naturally to situations

While all that has been said above makes you feel somewhere in between an actor in a theater and a professional psychologist, do not forget that you are best at being yourself. Things above are just tips, easy ways to get to things, yet sincerity is still the king of any conversation. Especially if you are an interesting person in general.

Practice getting conversations started

Want to know some questions to start a conversation? It is great to have some plan in advance, while you may take me as a creep by saying so, but when you are going to a meeting or a date with a person you know from a social network or such, give a look at what they are interested in but don’t come off as a stalker.

10 sentences which help you get the conversation started

While it is great to know the topics and ways of getting a conversation going, it is great to know some practical phrases to do so, here are just some:

  1. “Hi, I know very few people here, so I want to introduce myself. I am (name), and work in (company)."
  2. “What are you doing?” This makes a person speak first, and you can think about how to continue the conversation while a person is talking.
  3. "What brings you here today?"
  4. “How are you?” This is a simple, classic phrase that always works when you smile.
  5. “Tell me about yourself” This often stimulates a terrific conversation.
  6. “Did you happen to read today's news? I missed everything, but I was so anxious to find out what was happening with (the news topic of your choice).”
  7. “How did you find out about this event?”
  8. "It's so hot (or cold) in here." Perhaps it isn’t, but a partner in conversation has to agree or disagree, and then you will have a conversation about weather conditions in general, your umbrellas and such. And then about your career goals.
  9. “I feel a bit overwhelmed by the flow of information that was thrown out on us today. Have I missed something?” (then recall what you have heard and what you didn’t)
  10. “What a nice place. Have you been here before?”

10 sentences which help you get the conversation going

How to keep a conversation going? Use the following questions:

  1. Did you like the movie?
  2. What is he talking about?
  3. What do you think of this place?
  4. Have you heard the news?
  5. Why do you like that band?
  6. Questions to start a conversationWhat do you think of that show?
  7. What do you think of him?
  8. Where did you get those shoes? They are great!
  9. Do you have any hobbies?
  10. Do you have any pets?

First date wall-breakers

How to start a conversation when you are on a date? Do not underestimate the value of the first date, because the impression that you make on your person of interest will continue on living in his/her memory for a long time. Therefore, try to make your words sound like music to that person.

While the things above will be of great help, romantic conversation requires some tuning. Of course, there are no universal recipes that will help you immediately conquer every single heart there is to conquer – everyone is different and unique, but it will not be out of place to find out what most people want to hear from their companion on a first date. Many people, especially guys, are worried about how to start a conversation with a girl. Well, I hope the following phrases will be of great help to you:

  1. “I feel great near you.”
  2. “What do you think of this place?”
  3. “You look stunning!”
  4. “I wanted to see you again”
  5. “Have you been doing great?”

I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading this article. I hope that you have learned many new things while reading it, because everyone loves a good partner in a conversation, everyone loves to share their opinions, and likes it when these opinions are valued. This makes them feel like they are valued themselves. Remember, the main keys to success in any dialogue are to have empathy, to feel the emotions of a person, to properly act upon these emotions, and have a good memory, as it will allow you to recall important information said by a person, which will make a person feel valued.

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