1. If you had just one wish, and it couldn't be for more wishes, what would you wish for, and why?
2. If you couldn't watch TV or go online for a month, how would you spend that time?
3. If you had $100 to spend to help people, how would you spend the money?
4. If you could be a famous person for a week, who would you be and why?
5. If you could choose a new name for yourself, what would it be?
6. If you could go anywhere in the world for a week, where would it be?
7. If you could have any superpower, which would you choose?
8. If you could be principal of your school for a week, what changes would you make?
9. If you could trade places with someone you know would you do it? Who would it be and why?
10. If the house were on fire and you only had five minutes to get out, what would you grab to take with
11. What is your favorite way to relax?
12. How can you tell someone you love them without using words?
13. Do you have any fears? How would your life be different if you overcame that fear?
14. If you could eat just one food, every day, for a month, and nothing else - what would it be?
15. If you could talk to your whole school all at once, what would you say?
16. If you could look into a crystal ball and see your future in ten years, what would you want it to look
17. If you could trade places with your parents for a day, how would you do things differently?
18. If your parents went on a month-long vacation and you could live with anyone you wanted while they
were gone, who would you want to live with?
19. Who have you learned the most from so far?
20. If you could have one dream come true, which dream would it be?
1. “I really like your necklace.”
I was wearing a big, gaudy necklace to the event (one point for me!). A couple people started
conversations by noticing it, and it led to an easy conversation about something (as trivial as it
was) that we were both interested in—accessories. I also overhead someone else saying, “I love
your dress!” It was true—the woman wearing it had a great dress, which led to an introduction
2. “Is it quieter on this side of the room? I can hardly hear over there.”
Brilliant. When a woman came up to my friend and me and asked this simple question, it was so
easy to fall into a conversation and then ask what she did, talk about what we did, and go on
from there—on the quieter side of the room.
3. “May as well chat if we’re in line for the bathroom!”
The bathroom line is quite possibly the easiest place to strike up a chat because you have a
captive audience—as was I to the woman waiting in front of me. We briefly joked about the line,
the music at the party, and then got into why we were both there in the first place.
4. “Do you work for [write for, program for, etc.] The Daily Muse?”
This opener proved to be a bit awkward at times, but hey, you’re all at the same party, so it’s a
reasonable question to ask. What’s your affiliation with this particular company?
5. “This chicken is a little dry, huh?”
Commenting about food is always a win. This approach came about at a different party a few
weeks earlier, but when a dude said it to me, I was instantly ready to express my similar opinion
about the passed apps.
6. “So, was it a pain for you to get here?”
A classic New York (or any major city, really) question, when the mode of transportation and
location in the city are always on peoples’ minds. There’s bound to be a story about it.
7. “Hey, aren’t you friends with [fill in random name]?”
See someone who looks vaguely familiar? It doesn’t matter if you really think the person is
someone you know, just walk up and ask if he or she is friends with someone you know. He or
she will tell you “no,” and conversation will commence.
8. “Hi, I’m Jessica.”
Ha! So simple, yet (for me), so difficult. But plenty of people started conversations with me like
this, with one hand outstretched (key), and I didn’t think twice about it. So don’t overthink it.
Next event, have a drink and try it.
9. “It is so hot (or cold) in here.”
Hey, maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but the person will either agree or disagree, and pretty soon
you’re talking about weather patterns, your best umbrella, and then your career goals.
10. “Man, I hate networking.”
See someone else standing miserably in the corner? If you sense a fellow party-goer has similar
misanthropic tendencies, walk up and start a conversation about your mutual distaste.
Before I list these topics though, I want to add one thing: knowing the right topics doesn’t do
much for you if you lack conversation confidence. Knowledge without attitude is useless. This is
why I have created for you a free presentation in which I reveal the secrets to conversation
confidence. Go here to watch it.
1. Human Psychology
We love the subject of human nature and nurture. We want to understand ourselves better and to
understand others better. To some people, this is almost like having a superpower.
Talking about how we are, how our mind works, why we do what we do and anchoring this in
real life is always interesting. Furthermore, if you know some fascinating psychological theories,
you’re sure to woo anybody.
Nowadays, traveling is highly accessible and it is the favorite pastime of many people. Almost
every person out there with a decent income does some long distance traveling every year and
has a lot of stories to tell.
For this reason, I find that it’s very easy to get other people talking about their traveling
experiences and to relate with them. Plus, I have filled most of my traveling agenda based on
recommendations from others.
From what I can tell, almost everybody with a level of education above high-school reads books,
at least once in a while. Sure, people may have different tastes in what they read, but the subject
of books in itself is very big and juicy.
Also, keep in mind the alternative sources for reading material such as newspapers, magazines,
journals, websites and the increasingly popular… blogs.
Books may have their limits as an interest, but I’m positive that everybody who doesn’t live in a
monastery watches movies. In my perspective, this is one of the richest conversation topics out
The caveat is that a discussion about movies can quickly get boring, so you want to be careful
and elegant with it. You most certainty don’t want to abuse this topic.
5. Women/ Men
I often say that men’s favorite conversation topic is women, and women’s favorite topic is men.
You might as well exploit this. I have rarely seen two men connect as easy as when they are
having a discussion about the ‘prey’ (and I’m not talking about wild deer).
Even if you’re talking with a person of the opposite sex, talking about either men or women
(pick one at a time) can be very engaging. We generally love to get the perspective of the
opposite sex on this subject.
There is a wide range of hobbies people may have, from polo, to yoga, to pottery. I frequently
like to ask others about their hobbies. Even if we may not have a lot of hobbies in common, they
present a good opportunity to get to know the other person and perhaps discover a new, exciting
hobby for myself.
Preferably, avoid talking with a workaholic about their hobbies, as they will politely (or not)
explain you how they work 70 hours each week. Speaking of workaholics…
There is a huge difference between a job and a career. A job is what you do at one point or
another for money. A career is a journey of learning, adding value and receiving value that
stretches over most of your lifetime.
You don’t want to narrowly focus a conversation on “What do you do for a living?” You want to
also explore career plans, career challenges or the journey so far.
8. Bars, clubs, pubs and coffee shops
One of my favorite conversation questions is: “Where do you go out?” Some people prefer
places where they can dance, some where they can eat and others where they can just hangout or
use their people skills to socialize.
Nevertheless, most persons do like to go out of their cave and explore their immediate
surroundings. Conversation topics involving their experiences in this area are definitely a good
There is this subtle attraction most of us humans have towards food: making it, seeing it,
acquiring it and eating it. It’s not just a subject for housewives and chefs.
Subtle conversations on the art of cooking or the art of eating, sharing small details about the
kinds of foods you like and how you eat them, these create a bond between people.
If you live in a relatively big city (and chances are that you do), there’s a lot going on in it every
day of the week: conferences, celebrations, marches, strikes, accidents, alien invasions and so on.
Such events create one of the best conversation topics for some quality small talk at the
beginning of a conversation: they’re easy to bring into discussion, somewhat interesting and
they’re happening somewhere near you.
These are ten conversation topics I use quite a lot and I find well suited for almost any
conversation. They’re a good tool to engage people, make interactions enjoyable, build
relationships and reveal your charismatic personality.
However, they are only the second layer in making conversation. Check out my presentation on
conversation confidence to learn how to put a solid foundation.
What are the conversation topics that work best for you?
There are many conversation starters that work. In fact, I believe you can start a conversation
with almost anything.
I recently started a conversation by asking a person if they know how to stop hiccups, because
for some reason I had begun to hiccup. It all went naturally from there simply because I was
curious, talkative and genuine.
However, the best conversation starters don’t just work, but they work incredibly well and no
matter who the person you wanna talk with is, they will rarely fail you.
The best conversation starters are the ones you can rely one to start the conversation, engage the
other person and make an impression, and they also making it easy to keep the chat going from
Based on my experience as a social confidence coach and a passionate about social dynamics, I
concluded there are 4 qualities that the best conversation starters all have, and these 4 qualities
are what makes them so great.
1. They are personal. Forget about commenting about the weather and stuff like that. Go
with conversation starters that relate to the other person. That way you get to learn
something about that person, they’ll engage in the conversation more, and you’ll have
more paths to take the conversation on from there.
2. They’re not too personal. At the same time, it’s not the best idea to start a conversation
with a person you don’t know by asking them something very personal, like “Do you
have any insecurities?” That’s too forward and it has more chances to inhibit the other
person rather than make them to open up.
3. They reflect a genuine interest. Never ask or comment about anything you don’t really
care about. Because if you don’t care about it, chances are you’re not gonna know how to
keep the conversation going from there, or you’ll take it on a path that doesn’t really
4. They are delivered with confidence. If you are self-assured when you start a
conversation, you will make a good impression and suck the other person into the
conversation. Confidence is like a magnet and it’s one of the best qualities you can
convey to others from the get go.
That’s it. Not all conversation starters fit these criteria, but you can find many of them that do.
My advice is to go from here and come up with your own conversation starters based on these 4
criteria. It would be ineffective and condescending of me to actually tell you what conversation
starters to use.
The best conversation starters vary based on your real interests. I will give you some examples
though of conversation starters that I use and work really well, just for inspiration.
“How was your day/evening/weekend?” I love to ask people about this and learn about the
things they’ve done recently. I try to relate what they say and also talk about the things I did, and
the conversation moves on from there.
“What do you do?” I’m always interested in what a person does for a living and I often ask
about this. In my experience, it’s an awesome conversation thread to go on with most people.
“That’s a nice shirt/suit/pair of glasses. Where did you get them?” Since I’m interested in style,
I like to notice cool things in other people’s appearance and comment on them. It’s pretty easy
for me from there to make the conversation take off.
As you can see, every conversation starter is a good match with my interests, and it’s also
personal, but not too personal. This is the recipe I encourage you to follow.
Also, always keep in mind that when it comes to making conversation, the way you talk is often
much more important that what you actually say. If you are confident and at ease, people will
love talking with you and what you say becomes secondary.
If you lack conversation confidence, check out this presentation right now. It’s a presentation I
created that shows you precisely where conversation confidence comes from and what are the
steps to developing it. I’m sure you’ll find it very useful.
Equipped with the best conversation starters, you will stand out from the pack. You will find it
easier to make conversation and astonish others. You will have that extra leverage that can make
your social life infinitely better.