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StartersWas doing some spring cleaning recently and found some old books, including Breaking the Ice by Dave Sherman.

I don’t remember where or when I saw Dave speak – likely at a Public Relations Society of America or Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO) event years ago, but I still have a copy of his book. I agree with Dave, who says “every good relationship begins with a conversation.” It’s just that starting that conversation with a stranger is difficult for many people, whether they are at a networking event, a family reunion or some other place surrounded by people they don’t know.

What are Conversation Starters?

Breaking the Ice offers up 306 conversation starters. Here are a few of them:

  • Describe how you got into your current line of work.
  • Describe your favorite type of weather.
  • Describe what you like to when you’re not working
  • Describe the most beautiful place you have ever visited.
  • Describe the things that make you most happy.

Note that these all begin with “describe.” That’s how most of his 306 conversation starters begin. There are some actual questions sprinkled in the mix and some examples that may be too personal for a business setting, but you get the idea.

Continuing the Conversation

Another couple tips Dave offers up:

  • Follow up most answers by asking why. This provides more opportunity to learn about the person with whom you are chatting.
  • Make sure you listen to their answers. People can tell if you are genuinely interested or if you are faking it.

It’s time to start a conversation with someone you don’t know.

Scott Hanson
Scott Hanson
President Scott is president of HMA Public Relations and a founding member of the Public Relations Global Network. He’s a Phoenix native, husband, father of two and a fan of all sports and a participant in some. Check out Scott's full bio

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