Talking Points

Talking Points: How Not to Seem Boring


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Everyone knows that sometimes it can be quite difficult to start a conversation. The first time in a new company, a party with unfamiliar friends, a first date, a work lunch with a colleague, a coffee break at a conference. With social phobia, for example, such problems constantly come to the fore. However, even if you do not suffer from social anxiety, you probably remember a few times in your life when you had difficulty in maintaining light small talk.

It is assumed that such a conversation should be interesting for both participants, should not touch too personal topics, and should not cause emotional stress and discomfort. This article will be useful for those who sometimes get lost in the search for new topics of conversation, both in real life and in free chat applications. You can try all the tips that are listed below right now, chatting with friends and acquaintances in the NEEO Messenger application.

General environment and circumstances

Examples of topics: food, surroundings, weather, event, transport conditions, etc. One caveat – try to think only of some positive comments! Do not say, “Terrible weather, is it?” or “What a nightmare this event is, I think, should I leave now during a break” or “It was simply impossible to get here – it was 15 minutes from the metro, and besides, the buses did not run”. Such assessments can give the impression of whining from the very first second, and it is not customary to complain to the first person you meet.

Latest events and news

If you are not guided by the latest news, it is better not to start a conversation with this topic. In addition, do not choose sensitive topics that can cause a violent reaction from the interlocutor, do not ask provocative questions. Always try to stay away from phrases, like: “Who did you vote for in the elections?” etc. That is always better to stay away from all these political issues.

Interlocutor’s activities

Examples of topics: work, projects, office (location, features), vacation, hobbies. Some questions can only be used if you have definitely met this person before and you can roughly remember what he or she does at the work. However, you can take a chance and ask these questions to the person whom you see for the first time. In the end, it will be an interesting experiment and might lead to a great conversation.

Use open-ended questions

If you ask a question with a monosyllabic answer (for example, «What city are you from?», «Do you like to travel?»), then, having received the answer, immediately ask the second revealing question to the same topic. For example: “Are you from St. Petersburg? Great! What places would you recommend seeing?”

Choose the strategy “I want to know everything!”

Ask questions that can reveal a variety of interests and inclinations of the interlocutor, which in turn will become a new topic of conversation. Everyone loves feeling a genuine interest in themselves from other people. Use this tip to become the best interlocutor, pleasant to be near to in any kind of conversation.

React appropriately

If the other person is joking, try to laugh, even if the joke is completely stupid. If the other person gives you information as a big surprise – even if you already know it, try to show some degree of a surprise anyway. That is, respond with approximately the reaction your interlocutor expects. You should not act unexpectedly at the first meeting or during formal communication with colleagues at conferences.

Use your favorite topics

Everyone always has favorite topics that they can talk about for hours. Why do not you use it? Above all, do not just use your favorite topics, because then you will speak without any interruptions and the interlocutor might get bored. If you are asked about any of your favorite topics, try to limit your speech in some way and do not turn your conversation into a monologue.

If you have any of your favorite tricks that you can use to strike up a conversation with a stranger, then tell us about them!

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