10 Questions You Can Use to Start a Conversation

Have you had the desire to talk with someone but was initially confronted with fear and nervousness?

Do you have a great message to tell, or an awesome product to sell, but you don’t know where to begin?

Do you want to make a new acquaintance but can’t find the words to say?

Starting a discussion with a total stranger truly is a challenge especially to those who are a bit introverted. However, there is one simple technique you can use that can really break the ice and start a conversation – Ask a Question!

Asking questions is an effective starter of conversation especially when you initially observe the situation you are in.

Remember how I started this article? – Yes, with a question!

There is no single, one-size-fits-all ‘Question’ that can be asked over and over again. But there are 10 common questions, I used or others used to me, to start a meaningful conversation and it all depends upon the situation.

10 Questions you can use to start a casual conversation with a stranger

(1) What do you do for a living? After I make the usual ‘hi’ or ‘hello there’, this question almost top any question I ask to a stranger. Everyone has an answer for this question and whatever their answer is becomes our topic for discussion.

(2) How long have you been ____? (insert a profession or a thing that they do). If the above question is obvious, I often use this question to start some discussion. For example, if I wanted to talk to a school teacher then I would ask, “How long have you been a teacher?” or “How long have you been teaching?” Most people would really like to talk about their work.

(3) How long have you been working here? This can be a follow through question to the above question, but I often use this as a conversation starter when I’m a new employee in a certain workplace. I also often hear this question being asked to me by new employees.

(4) Where are you from? Another good introductory question. Again, I draw the next topic for discussion based on their answers. Then, I would say something about their hometown or city. In case I don’t know anything about their place, I usually ask another question about that place.

(5) What time is it? This may be the oldest question I used to ask but it still works. Before, I’ll always remove my watch so I could ask for time to start a conversation. Nowadays, we have mobile phones so there’s really no need to ask for time but once you got the conversation going they won’t recognize the obvious.

(6) Do you happen to know where ____ is? Whenever I am lost or trying to find a certain place, this is the first question I ask to strangers. Sometimes, I would also ask for directions.

(7) How old is he/she? Every time my wife and I would go out and we have our little baby with us, people always asks us how old our daughter is. Then a conversation will follow. They may have initiated the conversation but this is a good question I can use if I’m going to start one.

(8) Where did you buy those? This is similar to the previous question but instead of a baby, you ask about a thing they have. For example, I asked a stranger about the small stove he was carrying and I said that it will be perfect for our small family. Just be careful not to sound suspicious.

(9) Is this your first time in ____? I frequently attend seminars and events. I’d always ask fellow attendees the question, “Is this your first time here?” or “Is this your first time in ___?” – I’ll say the name of the event. I find this effective in starting a conversation so I can meet new friends and grow my network.

(10) How much is ____? This last question is best used when you’re inquiring or buying for something. It always starts the conversation and vendors are usually friendly so I find it easy to chat with them.

There, the 10 most common questions I used to start a conversation. Remember, these are just guiding ideas.

The questions you will ask to start a conversation really depends upon the situation you are in. Once you’ve get the hang of it, you can definitely be good in starting a casual conversation to a stranger.

Have fun asking questions and enjoy starting a conversation – Just be natural and don’t forget to smile.

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