Douglas Business School
Conversation Starters to Spark Topics
Updated: Sep 3, 2021
Are you facing difficulties in starting a conversation with someone new? Have you ever had awkward encounters or embarrassing conversations with a new colleague or with a complete stranger at an event or conference? Do you remember how did you deal with it?
In the workplace, you can choose a wide variety of topics as long as they are appropriate for the occasion. Your initial efforts to start a conversation will help you build strong and valuable bonds with colleagues. Here are some of the best conversation starters at work:
1. Introduce yourself briefly
Introducing yourself is more than telling your name. You need to share more information about who you are, what do you do and how you can be a great resource to others. Remember not to be too forward as it may be impolite or offensive to some.
2. Ask for help or information
A great way to start a conversation is to ask for information from the person you want to talk to. This is an effective, natural way to build rapport with someone quickly. Much like asking an opinion, asking for a little help or guidance can be a great way to make someone feel useful. For example, if you’re new at work, you may ask about the work culture of the department or organization.
3. Look for common ground
This one’s easiest if you know you’re at a situation where everyone’s likely to have a similar background or interest. It can be the same department that you’re in or the University you graduated from. When you bring up what you have in common, you make an instant connection that will lead to more topics to talk about.
4. Offer help
Always observe and see what you can help. Remember, what seems small to you might be a big help to others. If you’re not busy at work, why not take the time to ease your colleague’s workload and be more productive instead of just relaxing? It can be as small as helping them to carry, find or submit documents.
5. Mention a shared experience
If you want to talk to someone who you know shares something in common with you, you can always find a topic as a talking point. If your colleague is facing problem at work and you have past experience that can help enlighten him or her, do not hesitate to share it. Sharing ideas brings groups together and also paves way for brainstorming new ideas.
6. Show genuine interest
Find a topic you know the person is passionate about. Small talks during lunch is a good way to get along better with your colleagues. Apart from work, it’s great to have some casual talk about trending news, good movies you’ve watched or even nice spot to have delicious food. Passions can get your coworkers talking. Remember to keep the conversation friendly and positive.
7. Make an observation
The environment you’re in can also offer many conversation starters. Such as commenting on the building, the meal you’re having or give compliments to your colleague’s outfit can all be great ways to get a person talking with you.
Effective side tips for you!
You can also use these conversation starters to spark small talks with a complete stranger at a networking event!
· What do you do for work?
· Working on anything exciting lately?
· Have you been to an event like this before? Or… Did you come to this event last year?
· All the food looks so good… I’m not sure what to get! What have you tried?
· Will you register for their next workshop?
If you are out of words, discussing about the conference or event can be a great conversation starter too!