If you are looking for great conversation starters, use questions as your means. Questions are easy because they get the other person talking. They also show that you have taken the time to think about the conversation itself. It’s unlikely you would come up with good questions if you didn’t.
This last point is important. Make sure you think about what kinds of questions to ask. This may not always be possible when confronted with random encounters. But, when you know the event or meeting you are going to attend, take the time to prepare those questions.
What questions should you ask? For example: If you are at a convention, you should learn about which companies are going to attend. You should also try to get background on the influential people within those companies. The more you can find out the better.
When asking questions, it’s okay if you already know some of the answers. But, don’t let others know that you do. Play the situation as though you have never heard about the topic before. Letting others champion the conversation by answering questions lets them feel as though they are in control. It’s okay if that happens. When you get the answers you were looking for, you become the one in control, even if the other party is not aware of it.
If you do know some or many of the answers to the questions you plan to ask, structure the way you ask them as though you heard a different outcome. For instance, suppose in your industry, XYZ company is using robots and you want to find that out. You could say, “I thought XYZ wasn’t ready for the implementation of robots.” Let the other person boast how great XYZ is and why they are implementing robots, etc.
Sometimes, asking questions can give you a strategic edge in your business. When you ask key people and they suddenly volunteer more information than they were intending, you can gain insight into what is going on in your industry. People love to talk about themselves and their businesses. They also love to brag, so it’s in your best interest to let them.
Preparing great questions ahead of time is a great way to get valuable information. It’s also a fantastic conversation starter. When you are prepared in advance, the conversation becomes simply a matter of asking the questions and letting others provide you with answers.
Judi Moreo is an author, speaker, and life coach. She has written 11 books including “You Are More Than Enough: Every Woman’s Guide to Purpose, Passion, and Power.” Judi can be reached at email@example.com