Advertising
Advertising

How To Start A Conversation With Anyone Without Awkward Silence

How To Start A Conversation With Anyone Without Awkward Silence

Have you ever cautiously approached a table full of fellow professionals at a lunch meeting, petrified to introduce yourself and chat them up? Or walked tongue-tied into a social gathering, facing a sea full of unfamiliar faces? Don’t fret, because we have some proven ways to break the ice and be that smooth talker who befriends strangers anywhere he or she goes.

What To Say First?

The easiest way to drum up the courage to start a conversation with a stranger is by simply introducing yourself. Social life expert David Morin says a straight forward “Hi, I’m David. How are you doing?” will work wonders in enticing the other person to engage in a friendly chat.

Advertising

Make An Observation

You can extend a compliment about the social event you’re at, the person’s outfit, hair, the guest speaker at the lunch meeting, whatever compliment you think would be pleasant and well received by anyone, Morin noted. But don’t go overboard with your praise. Do not use subjective words that aren’t appealing to everyone.

Inquire About The Person’s Presence There

You can ask how the person knows other people present and why they’re attending the event, but don’t come across as nosy. Are they employed by a business that is in the same industry as others at a lunch meeting? Are they friends with the host of a party? Morin recommended keeping the conversation flowing with this subject.

Advertising

Focus On Your New Friend

Be sure to not only start a conversation with genuine questions, but to keep the focus of the conversation two-thirds on your new acquaintance and one-third about yourself. Ask him or her where the person lives, if they like it, etc. You never know, you just might find some common ground with this subject. But don’t worry if you don’t share a lot of similarities; it isn’t necessary to narrow the window of newness between you and this stranger. Also, be sure the conversation doesn’t sound like a job interview with you grilling your new acquaintance, Morin said. Keep the tone conversational, light and casual, where it flows easily between the two of you. Be sure to share snippets about yourself to counterbalance this person’s bits and pieces he or she is offering to the conversation.

Work Or School

This is usually a great subject to start a conversation with, Morin emphasized. Strangers often will chat quite a bit about where they work, what they do, how much they enjoy their job or career, or where they attend school and what they’re studying. Don’t focus too much of the conversation on careers, though, unless you’re at a work function, because that line of conversation can dry up quickly. But you might find mutual interests and speaking about something familiar often puts people at ease.

Advertising

Avoid Current Events

While some individuals enjoy chatting up the latest happenings and big news, some people aren’t comfortable talking about these heavier subjects. Morin said it also can cause a conversation to take a wrong turn if a controversial or sensitive subject crops up.

How About Hobbies?

If you start a conversation revolving around a stranger’s interests and hobbies, you may tap into a vein that starts him or him talking for some time. Morin said there’s potential for more gently prodding questions, such as “How did you get started?” and “How do you do that?”

Advertising

So the next time you find yourself in a room of strangers, find someone who looks open and friendly, walk up, extend your hand for a handshake and simply say, “Hi! We haven’t met yet.” Then confidently steer the flow of conversation between the two of you. You just might find yourself networking with a key player in your profession or making a new friend.

More by this author

You Don’t Need To Be Strong All The Time, It’s OK To Feel Weak And Cry No More Addiction To Work: 5 Tips On Maintaining Work-Life Balance 12 Squat Exercises For Ladies Who Want Bubble Butts Stranded Killer Whale Cries For Help, People Do Something Priceless To It Two Grandmothers Broke The Tradition And Gave Their Grandkids The Best Wedding Blessing Ever

Trending in Communication

1 11 Red Flags in a Relationship Not To Ignore 2 Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating 3 7 Simple Ways To Be Famous In One Year 4 How To Feel Happier (10 Scienece-Backed Ways) 5 31 Simple Ways to Free Your Mind Immediately

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

Advertising

The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

Advertising

The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

Advertising

Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

Advertising

The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

Read Next