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How do you start a conversation with someone you don't know?

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December 02, 2008 4:44AM

Icebreakers don't always have to be cliched or cheesy or plain-out silly. Much of the time, a mere introduction will work!

In fact, a simple handshake can go a long way. Politely telling someone your name, while extending your hand for a handshake makes an excellent first impression and raises the other person's interest level. (This works anywhere; high school teenagers are impressed just as much as CEOs.) Then, asking what the other person's name is would only be polite. You'd need it to have a conversation anyway! Since most of the time you'd only introduce yourself to someone if you're at some function that attracts people of similar interests, why don't you talk about those interests? Food (as lame as it sounds) is an easy conversation topic, and many encounters occur over at the food table at a party anyhow. Music is another well-known topic. Unless the other person is a hopeless conversationalist, you'll definitely have something to talk about!

The keys are: 1. Get the other person talking about themselves and their interests. The best way to do this is to ask polite questions or give small compliments. LISTEN attentively, as if you are going to be quizzed on what they said.

2. Establish something the two of you have in common. Perhaps you have a mutual friend. Maybe you went to the same high school at different times. Once you know what you have in common, ask more questions to get the other open up to you. Listen attentively as if you will be quizzed on it.

== == Well something that has always worked for me is to complient the person. Sometimes it can lead on to something else. Ex: "I like your shoes" "Thanks! They're Italian" "Oh I was in Italy once. It's a very lovely country." "Me too! Yes it is but very hot" That's a very lucky one. If they smile and say "Thanks" then try keep it going but if they just look freaked out it's best to back off.