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30+ Conversation Starters for Any Situation

Trust is the foundation of any kind of relationship. But it becomes even more important when you’re in sales, as you’re continuously building networks among colleagues, bosses, and clients. 

That’s why conversations are very important—and your ability to break the ice, even more so.


Knowing how to get a conversation started can open an opportunity to nurture a valuable connection, just as using a bad opening can cause you to lose it forever.

Our advice is to have an idea of how to approach new conversations. Trust us, it’s not nearly as scary or as daunting as you think!

conversation starters

What Are Conversation Starters?

Conversation starters are exactly that: a sentence or question that’s meant to spark communication. There are so many approaches that you can take here. You can:


Start with something you have in common. Whether it’s a place, a person, or an interest, you can never go wrong with talking about something you both already know.

Use what you know about them. This is one of our top conversation starters, as it shows that you’re not just talking to them because of an ulterior motive.

Show them something interesting. Sometimes, a conversation can start with something as simple as “Check this out!” After all, the goal is to get the other party to engage.


What Are Good Topics to Start a Conversation?

Start with something simple. These are some topics for conversation starters online and in person that may come in handy:


  • Weather. As generic as it may be, talking about the weather can spark talks about commutes, travel, recommendations, and more.
  • Work. Not everyone wants to talk shop, but it may be your only option if it’s with a complete stranger.
  • Personal topics (but not too personal!). The best conversation starters online create a personal connection without seeming too prying. Apply the same principle when talking to someone in front of you.
  • Events. People like to be kept up to date with the latest happenings, so sharing or asking about relevant events can work in your favor.


What Are Some Convo Starters to Avoid?

Discussing controversial issues is important to enrich discourse, but context and timing are everything. As important as it may be to know how to start an interesting conversation, you don’t want to potentially jeopardize a valuable network over it. 


At least for the first meeting, avoid these topics:


Politics and religion. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but these topics are deeply personal.

Gossip. It’s not bad to talk about people, but don’t focus on their alleged misdeeds or misfortunes.

Relationship issues. How to start a conversation? Don’t talk about relationship issues if you don’t have a personal relationship with the other party.


If your starter assumes a level of familiarity that doesn’t exist yet, it’s better to avoid them for now.


Conversation Starter List for Every Situation

Now that we have already covered what you should and should not talk about, let’s proceed with real examples that you can try using. Please know that this is NOT a full list of topics that you can discuss with someone. Instead, these should give you an idea of the general direction where you can take the discussion.

The questions listed also don’t need to be strictly used in social settings. Get a feel of the person’s mood, and see which would work in that specific context. Begin expanding your network by using these lines:


Social Events

What are good conversation starters? Anything that helps you relate to the other person, like:


  1. How’s (relevant mutual friend or acquaintance) doing?
  2. I like your necklace/shoes/haircut. Where did you get it?
  3. What are your interests?
  4. Have you taken a vacation lately? How was it?
  5. How do you know the host?
  6. Do you know other people at this event?
  7. How are you enjoying this event so far?
  8. Can you recommend restaurants in the area?
  9. I’m looking to try something off the menu. What’s your favorite so far?
  10. Is this a great day or what?


Networking and Professional Events

Fortunately for you, it’s easy to learn how to start a good conversation within a professional setting. Try these out to start:


  1. What is it like working at your company/department?
  2. Any other related events soon that you’ll be coming to?
  3. What do you think about this discussion topic that the speaker discussed earlier?
  4. How did you find out about this event?
  5. What did you find most interesting about this event?
  6. How does this event compare to others that you’ve attended?
  7. Can you share something about the resources you’re using to upskill right now?
  8. Who’s your favorite speaker so far?
  9. What projects are you working on right now?
  10. Have you heard about this related news on the resource speaker’s topic?


Online Communication

Good online conversation starters are a little more straightforward than in-person ones. Because the other person can just leave you on read, it’s important to be even more engaging without going on too many segues.

At the same time, you should be aware of online etiquette, such as how it may be inappropriate to just leave a “Hi! How are you?” to someone who’s not a friend.


So with online communication, it’s best to just follow this format:


  1. Introduce yourself.
  2. Ask how they’re doing or express your best wishes.
  3. Tell them why you’re messaging them.
  4. Express what kind of response you’re hoping for.


If you’re doing this for online dating instead of for a professional reason, the next section may have more appropriate starters for you.


General Purpose

These are normally applicable for a lot of events (even just those with close friends!) as they are relatively generic. This means that a lot of people will be able to relate to them.


  1. What’s your favorite show on Netflix right now?
  2. What are your thoughts about this extremely popular book or show?
  3. I’m making a playlist. Any recommendations on music?
  4. What’s the best thing that happened to you this week?
  5. If you could go back in time, when would you go?
  6. What are your interests?
  7. What’s something that you wish you’d learned a long time ago?
  8. If money was not an issue, what would you be doing right now?
  9. What’s your favorite place in the world?
  10. What have you been up to lately?


What Is a Good Way to Start a Conversation? Be Genuine!

What starter line you use to begin the conversation and how you do so are equally important. After all, it’s no fun talking to someone who thinks speaking with others is a huge chore.

Being genuinely interested helps to keep the conversation going.


Instead of using our list as some kind of cue card where you simply just go one after the other, select the best conversation starters online based on your interest and knowledge of the other person.

Remember that the goal of conversations is to create an impact and build a relationship. By getting started on the right foot, it will be easier for you to work your way there.


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