Good Conversation Starters: Questions that Get Conversations Rolling

Published: 08th January 2010
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Making conversation, or "small talk", at a party, work function or other social event can sometimes be frustrating. There is a skill and an art to speaking with people in a casual or fun way.

Avoid those awkward conversational lulls with these tips and sample conversation starters.

Before we get into specific questions you can ask, there are a few general guidelines you need to keep in mind when you are making conversation. First, always try to keep things casual. Don't bring up politics, religion or other hotly debated topics. You don't want to make people uncomfortable and these topics can quickly get a crowd into an uproar, or make someone with a minority opinion feel singled out.

Second, try to make things interesting. Don't ask about the weather or some other boring topic. Try humor to make the conversation interesting and your talk memorable. Finally, try to keep the conversational pleasant and happy. They call it "exchanging pleasantries" for a reason.

Now that we've established the ground rules, here are some conversation starters that you can use at your next social event. To lead into these questions, simply say "Here's an interesting question" or "Here's interesting question I was thinking about the other day."

1. "If you were to live anywhere in the world, where would you go?" This topic is interesting to just about everyone, because lots of us love to travel. This question helps you learn about a person's likes and it causes the whole group to think about far off destinations.

2. "That's a great shirt. Is purple your favorite color?" (Obviously, you'd only say this if the shirt were actually purple.) This is preferable to just complimenting someone's shirt because it gets them talking. Find something about the person to compliment and then follow it up with a question.

3. "What is your least favorite word?" This is an opportunity to peek into someone's pet peeves or likes. There are all kinds of words that people find annoying, and for really unusual reasons. The question "What is your most favorite word?" will also give you a variety of interesting answers.

4. "Who was the worst boss you've ever had?" Everyone has had to deal with a bad boss at one time or another, so this question appeals to everyone. You can commiserate over your inept supervisors together. Obviously, you don't want to use this question at a work get together.

5. "Where did you take your last vacation?" Vacations are always fun and this question allows people to relive memories of their past vacation spot. There are normally lots of interesting stories to share from a vacation, so this question opens up the conversation to lots of possibilities.

6. "Seen any good movies lately?" Sharing movie reviews from the latest DVD releases or new movies in the theater is something that everyone can enjoy. This question can roll into questions about people's favorite movie genres, favorite movies and their favorite actors or actresses.

These sample questions will get the conversation started at your next social event.

Jamie Jefferson writes for and, where she shares the web's best coupons for discount art supplies and discount office supplies.

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