Have you ever felt nervous while approaching a stranger to start a conversation with them?
Do you sometimes experience awkward silences in between conversations with people you barely know? Then read on, this article was purposely crafted for you.
In the following lines, we will discuss ideas and examples of how one can start and maintain an exciting conversation with any stranger.
13 Best Ways to Become a Master at Talking to Strangers
1. Be Brave: Break the Ice
Although starting a conversation with a stranger may be uncomfortable, be brave and just do it. Being confident will make you free to start and have an exciting conversation with that person you have just met.
Start off with a quick and friendly introduction. Consider a scenario where you find a stranger that you would want to connect with on a plane.
For example, you could say, “Hi, I’m Jack. I am going to New York.”
Keep the social context in mind when you are greeting that stranger. For example, let’s assume you have met at a supermarket. You could say, “Hello, I’m Nancy. I have come to buy some groceries.”
You can always reveal more information about yourself if the conversation becomes deeper.
2. Ask for Help: Everyone Loves to help Others
Another way of confidently starting a conversation with a stranger is by asking for their help. We all love being helpful in one way or the other. It’s in our human nature to desire to feel valuable and important. Although it’s difficult in a big city to just approach a stranger and ask for help, the result of having an interesting conversation with them is worth the risk of a bit of rejection.
Consider asking a specific person rather than anyone in the vicinity for assistance, depending on the situation. For example, one can ask something like this “I haven’t taken a cab to town in a while. Would you mind giving me some recommendations?” or “Can you take a photo for me? Please.”
3. Ask the Right Question: Use Open-ended Questions
One of the easiest ways of mastering the art of talking to strangers is to ask questions that can’t be answered with a single word. For example, “How do you normally spend your weekends?” One can ask such a question as the conversation with the stranger starts to deepen.
This approach works best when attending a shared event, in which case one can ask about the other person’s experience. For example, “I have learned a lot from today’s workshop. How about you?”
In such a case, the other person will respond with their experience of the workshop, presenting additional topics for the discussion.
One can also ask open-ended questions in the form of their opinions about any topic.
These open-ended questions can be followed up by discussing in detail their feedback.
4. Find Commonalities: Connect the Dots
Since you’re in the same place and experiencing the same weather, don’t be afraid to dig deeper and find more exciting commonalities. You can start by commenting about the weather.
For example, “It’s hot outside here today. Is it always this hot?” Or, if you’re attending a workshop, ask the person next to you what they think about the event.
You will probably find that they have something in common in most cases. Perhaps you’re from the same area or have a mutual friend or a shared hobby.
Use the common ground to build up the conversation by asking follow-up questions.
Opening up about yourself is a natural way of making a stranger feel comfortable talking to you.
Let’s assume I have met a stranger in a park and want to connect with them by having an exciting conversation. I would approach this scenario as follows;
“Hi, My name is Edgar. I have come to enjoy the cool breeze around here. What brings you here ? “
Since they are also at the park, it may mean that they also love coming and they have a reason that brings them there.
In most cases, they will respond by introducing themselves and talking about their reasons for being there.
Once they respond, I respond by building upon what was said before each time posing an open question to get them talking as well. This makes the conversation flow naturally.
There is a way to make them interested in you. Yes, you can. If you develop a mysterious personality you can surely attract people and talk much longer.
Here’s a full article on “how you can develop a mysterious personality” in you.
6. Encourage People to Talk About Themselves
Over the years, I have concluded that people love to talk about themselves. Even relatively quiet people tend to open up when asked about circumstances in their lives.
One can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like what they like doing in their free time or their dream vacation destination are great for getting someone talking. For example, “Sorry to bother you, but can you help me settle this? I am thinking of taking a vacation. Do you mind giving me some recommendations on some of the best places?”
As a father, I know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a relatively easy topic to bring up. Most parents will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.
7. Be сuriоus: Don’t Be Afraid tо Gо Off-sсriрt
Be curious in a friendly way. Skip the obvious questions (what do you do, where do you stay, etc.) and instead ask questions that will make your conversation partner more engaged. If there’s something you would want to ask the stranger, ask it right away. A person will indirectly start feeling comfortable with you if they can share things about themselves with you. Ask questions like why the person you have just met is putting on a piece of clothing that they are wearing?
Why did they decide to come to that party that both of you are attending? Research says that the company of people who ask more questions is more enjoyed than that of people who ask fewer questions. A question can either open up a conversation and keep it flowing.
8. Be Engaged: Show that You Enjoy Talking with Someone
To be engaged while talking to a stranger, following the following guides is essential.
● Have proper body language– When talking to a stranger, it’s necessary to keep your posture, eye contact, body language and facial expressions in line with the conversation. Stand upright, hold your hands comfortably to your side, and maintain eye contact with the person you’re talking with.
● It’s also crucial to avoid being distracted by something outside the conversation. This can include your inner dialog, surroundings, or thinking about what you’re going to say after the person is finished talking.
● Be an active listener– Be engaged, actively listen to what the other person is saying, and ask questions. This shows your conversation partner that you care about what they are saying and really care about them in the bigger picture.
9. Talk About Positive Topics with a Positive Tone of Voice
Almost everyone enjoys the company of a cheerful person. So, it is vital to have at your disposal enlightening stories to make the conversation enjoyable. But, of course, a joke will also benefit, if it is relevant to the circumstances you find yourself with the stranger.
Endeavor to make the other person more interested in your conversation. Your mood and confidence also play a huge role on how the other person sees you. If you look unhappy, then the other person you’re talking to will also perceive unhappiness. Be cheerful and show confidence while talking to strangers and you will comfortably interact with them.
10. Use Compliments: Don’t Fake It
A compliment is a lovely and natural approach to striking up a discussion with someone you don’t know. To come across as genuine, mention anything special about them. For example, you might compliment the individual on their clothing or anything else you love about them, such as their attitude. This method frequently leads to a nice conversation regarding the object or feature you’ve appreciated.
For instance, “Those earrings are just stunning! What store did you purchase them from?” or “You look great with that color shirt!”
“You truly presented the presentation with a lot of confidence,” one may add as another example.
As a general rule, don’t make too many comments about someone’s physical appearance because it may make them feel uncomfortable..
11. Treat a Stranger as Your Friend
Anybody can socialise better with anyone if they treat everybody like they’re their friends. So consider every stranger that you meet as a friend. Then, trick your subconscious by putting this particular thought in your mind each time you face a stranger.
Alternatively, you can also just think of every stranger you meet as a future friend. They’re not your friends yet; you intend to make them one.
Consider smiling; it will make you look approachable and friendly. If you’re someone who already smiles comfortably around people, then good! But if not, consider practising it.
You’ll start becoming friendly with everybody you meet then, allowing you to talk to strangers properly.
12. Avoid Being Pushy: Know When to End the Conversation
Don’t press the conversation if you realize it isn’t going anywhere and there appears to be no connection between the two of you.
The other person may not want to communicate; perhaps they are having a terrible day.
To end a tense conversation, consider the following indications;
- The other person consistently refuses to open up, even when you ask open-ended questions.
- There are many awkward silences in between conversations.
- The other person appears to be upset.
13. End on a Positive Note
After successfully talking to strangers, it is important to end the conversation correctly. How you end a conversation is just as important as how you start it.
You can end the conversation on a positive note by expressing your gratitude for their time and company. Let them know you enjoyed their conversation. If there’s is some connection between both of you, then go ahead and exchange phone numbers. Following the exchange of contact details, one can end the conversation by checking your wristwatch and saying, “I just noticed the time! It’s getting a bit late. It was a pleasure meeting you!”
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do you get so nervous when you talk to strangers?
It may result from having low self-esteem and lack of confidence in yourself or a symptom of social anxiety disorder, also known as social disorder. People with social phobia feel very nervous and uncomfortable talking to strangers. They often feel like they will say or do the wrong thing.
How can you stop being nervous around strangers?
- Always take deep, comfortable breaths to make sure your body is as relaxed as possible. This will allow your mind to feel a certain sense of relief and maybe some comfort.
- Make sure you have standard conversation topics, questions, etc., to feel ready to talk to people.
- Practice it more. Consider talking to several strangers every week. Once you face the fear, it will disappear.
How do you start small talk with someone?
Dr. Carol Fleming, a communications expert, offers a three-part process to kick off a small talk with anyone: Anchor, Reveal, and Encourage (ARE).
Begin with an ANCHOR.
Start by observing your mutual shared reality to establish a connection between you and the stranger, such as the prevailing weather condition.
Here is an example: “The weather is great.”
Though the comment sounds obvious, it is a polite way to transition into a “real” conversation.
Follow with a REVEAL.
Next, say something about yourself concerning the anchor you just put out.
For example, one can say, “It’s such a perfect time to go swimming:
By opening up a little more, we are building connection and trust with the other person while at the same time giving them fodder to which to respond.
Now you pass on the ball to them by asking questions like: Do you sometimes go swimming?
It’s essential to keep building the conversation after employing the ARE method to exchange pleasantries. You can offer follow-up comments and questions to keep the conversation flowing. Eventually, you will start talking about something other than swimming, and you never know a great friendship may result.
Using some of the strategies mentioned above can help one master the art of talking to strangers without feeling awkward.
Practicing talking to strangers more often and utilizing the given tips will make you more comfortable.
Remember, everyone you know now was once a stranger. Now get out there, talk to strangers and make some new friends.