General Question

IzzyAndHerBeans's avatar

How do you create conversation between two people?

Asked by IzzyAndHerBeans (357points) January 27th, 2012

Sometimes I find myself with few things to talk about whenever I try to make conversation with someone for the first time. Any suggestions on how to improve this issue? I do read quite a bit and attempt to learn trivia here and there, but sometimes those facts don’t always work with the Average Joe.

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10 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

I ask about what they like to do for fun, then where do they go to do that, and how did they get into that, and where were they were living when the got into it. Or what they did last weekend, and if they were tired was it because of work, and what was work like, and how they got into it.

I structured those sentences on purpose. Ask open ended questions tah allow you to ask something more, so that he person is talking. But it is not an interrogation, make comments on how you feel about what they say, and then follow up with a question. They’ll think you are a wonderful conversationalist.

linguaphile's avatar

I tend to look for something we might have in common and ask open ended questions, like @zenvelo, then go from there.

Common ground really can get a conversation going—I have the worst time trying to converse with someone who I can’t find common ground with.

chelle21689's avatar

Here’s a great article to keep convo flowing!

http://www.positivityblog.com/index.php/2006/11/05/do-you-make-these-10-mistakes-in-a-conversation/

I think a good one is to try to relate to that person with your own experience and thoughts on it.

wundayatta's avatar

Usually you ask questions. @zenvelo‘s patter is one way to go, but you could follow along almost any line of thought. It has to do with the circumstances of your meeting.

Last night I was a a gathering of alumni for my college who live in my city. There was no one there I knew, so I was starting at zero with everyone.

Of course, the one thing we had in common was our college, and so you can always ask when you graduated. But inevitably, the next question is what are you doing now. How long have you been here? How did you get here? Etc.

I often feel a little unimaginative asking “what do you do,” but basically, that’s what I want to know. Work is fine, but I also am interested in other things you do. It’s the first question that is hardest, usually. The other person has to decide how invested they want to get. Am I going to be an interesting conversational partner? Is there some future for this conversation? Are we going to have fun? Are we going to make a professional connection? Are we going to make a social connection?

You never really know for sure what your agenda is, I think. For me, last night turned out to be a professional conversation and a social one. The first person I spoke to after the official greeter turned out to work where I work. Not only that, he turned out to work in a related department and he had in mind to come and give a talk for my audience. Who knew?

My wife ended up talking to someone who wanted to go to the dance workshop we attend. These are both pretty specific audiences or groups and there aren’t that many people who fall into these groups in the city, I don’t think and yet… this happens a lot, I find. Almost anywhere I go, if I’m open and outgoing, I find people who are related either through work or fun or neighborhood or through people we both know. It’s kind of scary, but it makes me think we are all much more closely connected than we know.

Anyway, my wife and I had dinner with my new colleague and his wife, who also turned out to have worked for a former employer of mine and on it goes. Connection after connection.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I usually dig in with the “where are you from” question. I don’t know why, but that is the first thing I am curious about when I meet new people. And it isn’t just a “how are you” kind of question, I really want to know. And I want to know what that place is like, and how long they lived there, what they liked or didn’t like about it. Maybe because I love to travel.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I always just wing it. If they want to talk I play off their signals. The canned lines sound like canned lines to me.

marinelife's avatar

Ask them questions. Listen carefully to their answers and let conversation build from there.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

Step #1: Stop worrying so much.

Step #2: Be natural. The more you care about messing up, the more you probably will.

Step #3: Start a conversation about something the person seems to be interested in or something you can all relate to.

Step #4….

If none of these things work, you can try reading books like How to Click with People: The Secret to Better Relationships in Business and in Life by Rick Kirschner. Don’t want to buy it? A library near you might own a copy. I recommend this book because I picked it up from the library and found it to be quite an awesome read. I’ve returned it, but I’m considering buying it myself so that I can read it again and again in the future whenever I feel like it.

prioritymail's avatar

I just start with something I know or observe about them, and keep asking questions about them. Most people love to talk about themselves.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@prioritymail That’s true, but you have to be subtle. Don’t ask them to tell you about them, ask about interests, likes, dislikes, family, travels, etc.

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