hey everyone and welcome to, today buzz advice, today we're going to learn about 5 conversation starters that actually work with anyone, Anytime, now let's begin
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Number one: what do you think
Sometimes the simplest questions make the best conversation starters especially when you let someone else step into the spotlight, this trick is really simple just think of a question yeah any question you might be wondering how much would it cost to host your own events or maybe you're looking at a couple of pictures on your phone and you want to know which one looks better your question could be long or short simple or complicated it doesn't really matter because the question itself is just the tool that you can use to get the conversation rolling, if for example a new conversation might go something like this, after listening to a keynote speaker imagine you're sitting in the audience waiting for the next lecture to start, you notice someone sitting quietly next to you so you decide to get a conversation going you turn to them and you say "I thought that speaker was really great what did you think?" the key to this technique isn't the subject you're talking about it's the way you say it, jumping back to our example you could have said hey what did you think of that speaker and it might have worked but expressing your own opinion first sets the tone, imagine if you ask them for their opinion and it was completely different from yours maybe they hated the speaker and they thought the whole presentation was a mess, if your opinions directly opposed each other things are going to get awkward really fast, so that's why you tell them your opinion first in one sentence you introduce something to talk about and you set the tone for the entire conversation which makes the next part even easier just follow up with "what do you think" with that question the ball is in their court you've given them a starting point and you've told them that you want to hear their opinion so no matter who you're talking to they'll feel comfortable talking back.
Number two: Franklin's favors
In the 1700s Ben Franklin discovered a foolproof way to start a conversation and immediately get on anyone's good side all you have to do is lead with a simple favor, let's say you're at a networking event you spot a stranger across the room and you want to start up a conversation so what should you do you could shake their hand and introduce yourself but that doesn't feel right it feels like you're just popping up out of nowhere what you need is an excuse a reason to justify starting that conversation and a small favor can be the perfect pretext just walk up and ask for something quick and easy ask them to take a picture of you or if they know the time these favors take only a few seconds but they completely changed the dynamic of your relationship because you're not just two strangers anymore, a small favor creates a sort of personal bond once you've gone out of your way to help someone you've invested in them they matter more to you and you care about what they think, now all this sounds like a good idea in theory but how do we know that asking for a small favor actually works, well a famous study from the 1960s put this technique to the test in that study college students participated in a competition where they could win money, but after being handed their winnings one of three things happen, 1/3 of the students took their winnings home another third were asked to donate their winnings to the psychology department because their funds were running low, and the final third was approached by one of the researchers the researcher asks the students to return their money to him because he'd been paying participants out of his own pocket in other words he asked them for a personal favor, so which group do you think liked that research the most, you would think group number one because they walked out with the most money but the answer is actually group three the group that returned their winnings directly to the researcher after doing him a small favor their opinions of that researcher went way up, but why is that why do we like people more after doing something nice for them the truth is we like people more because we did something nice for them thanks to a psychological phenomenon called cognitive dissonance we want our thoughts and actions to line up for example if you punch someone your brain reasons that you're angry with them you may not know why they may have done nothing wrong but your brain wants your mind to match your body so when you do someone a favor your brain makes another emotional leap you tell yourself that you did that person a favor for a reason you assume it's because you liked that person even if you only did something small like tell them the time, Ben Franklin used the same technique to turn strangers and enemies into lifelong friends so if you want to start up a conversation don't be afraid to lead with a favor.
Number three: lead with a compliment
Favors aren't the only way to get on someone's good side if you want to start a conversation and make a new friend while you're at it try leading with a compliment tell someone that you like their shirt or compliment their haircut these genuine surface-level compliments will start any conversation on a high note because it instantly changes the mood, after receiving a compliment people are subconsciously warmer friendlier and more receptive to new things it brightens up their day because a compliment makes them feel recognized and appreciated it gives them a nice boost of self-esteem which also makes them more confident from the get-go but there's one really important thing to remember you have to mean it if you're going to compliment someone don't just pull something out of thin air don't pick the first arbitrary thing you see because those compliments feel shallow even though you're saying something nice it doesn't leave a lasting impact on anyone instead a dishonest compliment will just make things awkward they'll think you're trying to manipulate them and that ruins any chance of building a relationship, so take a second to think what do you really admire about this person what makes them stand out from the crowd and that way when you do start up a conversation they'll know that you aren't just faking it you aren't trying to pull the wool over their eyes they'll know that you really do appreciate something about them so they'll feel a lot more comfortable opening up.
Number four: blast from the past
Nostalgia is a powerful tool for any conversationalist, if you're looking to meet new people asking about their hometown is a great place to start it's a subject that almost everyone feels comfortable with because there's really no risk involved and not to mention it's just fun to reminisce about the good old days when they think back on the place they grew up it puts them in a great mood and it opens all kinds of new opportunities for you there are practically limitless questions that you can ask about someone's past ask him what it was like to grow up in their hometown ask him what the weather was like in their city did they have crazy snowstorms was it over a hundred degrees every single day each of these questions keeps the conversation rolling without getting too personal it forges a meaningful connection without crossing the line because that's the one thing you don't want to do don't interrogate someone about their parents don't ask them why they moved away if you ask these personal questions right away they'll make people really uncomfortable, so just keep it general and keep it fun any blast from the past should make you remember the good times not the bad.
Number five: explore your environment
Finding something in common is another great way to start a conversation that commonality creates an instant bond between you it ties you together it creates a mutual feeling of sympathy because you're both having the same kind of experience but finding something in common can be a little tricky obviously you just can't walk up and take a shot in the dark, say you like mountain biking okay you can't just randomly ask someone if they do too because there's a good chance they don't luckily interests and hobbies aren't the only things that you too might have in common no matter where you are at an event at a party or in the grocery store there's always one thing you have in common your environment so use that commonality to your advantage if you're at a house party talk about the house or the crowd if you're networking at a convention talk about the booths the panels or even the parking you can start a conversation with any of these topics because everyone in the room knows exactly what you're talking about you'll never get a blank stare you'll never get a nervous laugh and you'll never risk killing the conversation before it even starts just don't talk about your environment for too long these conversation starters are designed to get you off the ground but they won't keep you in the air if you rely too heavily on any conversation starter you'll end up suffering through a whole bunch of awkward pauses so once you feel connected introduce yourself ask another question or make a joke you already survived the hardest part now it's time to take that conversation to the next level.