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Lets Talk About Talking

We all have been through this situation - we are in a social gathering with tons of people around us; we are expected to move around a bit and find someone to talk to; but the problem is, we don’t know what to talk about. Honestly, I took the longest time to figure this out, and today I am relatively more confident about starting off conversations with random people. So what led to this change? Well, I thought about a lot of things I could talk to people about. These “conversation starters” are nothing new to us, and yet their awareness can make any dull day into one which makes us feel great about ourselves. But before you start off a conversation with anybody using these conversation starters, be aware of who you are talking to, and use your grey cells to figure out the most appropriate one. 

Photo credit - Aman Wilson
1) Compliment the other person : It could be their dressing sense, appearance, intellect, communication style, any value or quality they are strong at. Whether they admit or not, people love hearing compliments about themselves, and they often elaborate on the thing or quality being complimented. They might as well return the favour by complimenting something in you, which would mean that the ball would rest in your court and you can shake things further.

2) BAM (Books-Albums-Movies) : Do I really need to elaborate on this? I am sure you have discussed your favourite books, songs, albums and movies with people you are pitted with in any situation. And it usually works wonderfully well.

3) Share your feelings : Talk about how happy/sad/agitated/stressful you are feeling about something, and why so. This will immediately cause them to pay attention to what you are saying and respond with empathy.

4) Talk about your work : This seems like a no-brainer, but it isn’t. Most often, people mention their current occupations and give a generic description of their jobs. I’d argue you mention aspects about your job the other person wouldn’t be aware of. For example, instead of telling them what it is to be a project manager, discuss your last successful initiative in the company. But it doesn’t have to be only positives. You can also talk about things which are not working well. Makes some sense, eh?

5) Share any recent achievement : Mention that painting of yours which got exhibited at the embassy, or the latest published article in the editorial section, or something more basic like a successful day at college/office. But make sure you package your message properly as you don’t want to make the other person feel insecure or intimidated.

6)   Food : It is one of my favourite things to talk about. Food makes people really emotional and it serves as a successful ice-breaker. 

7) Share your vision, goals and dreams : If you can intuit that the other person could resonate with slightly deeper thoughts, which mean a lot to you, go ahead and have a discussion on those. You might just inspire them to think differently, or share what their goals and dreams are. 

I am sure there are thousands of other things you can talk to people about, and I’d be happy to have you share them with me. I believe that what is more important is not what you say; it’s how you say it. Make the other person feel that they are the only ones, at that point, you care for. Be extremely positive and humble, and maintain high levels of energy. Do not be pretentious; it will show. Be honest to the person you are talking to, and to yourself. And lastly, do not forget to wear your smile.

Pranav Sukhija
Teacher of primary school children, counselor for many, perpetual thinker, voracious writer, avid (not greedy) reader, crazy dancer, joyful singer, wannabe guitarist, wannabe actor, wannabe chef, comfort food lover, nature lover, self-proclaimed photographer, ingenious explorer, Delhi boy who doesn't fulfill most of the assumed 'typical' Delhi boy qualities.


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