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Conversation Topic: Repeat what they said

Conversation Topic: Repeat what they said
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“If you are shy and don’t know what to say try being an empathetic listener. Reflect back what you hear the other person saying and offer compassion. This allows the other person to feel heard, validated, and accepted –and they’ll want to spend more time talking with you.” —Fran Walfish, PhD, Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist, author of The Self-Aware Parent.

Conversation Topic: Join the fun

Conversation Topic: Join the fun
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“Introduce yourself by going up and saying ‘You look like you’re having a lot of fun so I wanted to come and say Hi!’ This is effective because it exudes confidence and charisma. Just make sure to pair it with a bright smile and make eye contact.” —Michael Banovac, founder of The Millionaire Date Doctor.

Conversation Topic: Dig for little-known info

Conversation Topic: Dig for little-known info
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“Ask someone ‘What is something I would have never guessed about you?’ This is a good starter because everyone likes to feel unique and their answer will reveal a little more than they might have initially been willing to give away. It’s a little intimate but not too much.” —Rochelle Peachey, dating and relationship expert and founder of I Love Your Accent

Conversation Topic: Use strategic sarcasm

Conversation Topic: Use strategic sarcasm
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“Solid gold opening lines get people to talk without being too serious while still getting the person to feel some emotion. A little sarcasm can help lighten the mood and make you feel relatable. My favourite examples: ‘Oh, I just love waiting in lines. Once I get to the front I just drink my drink as fast as I can so I can line up again.’ Or if someone is on their phone say, ‘You must be smart, I only text with emoticons.’”  – Harvey Hooke, author and human dynamics coach

Conversation Topic: Ask about a mutual friend

Conversation Topic: Ask about a mutual friend
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“Mutual friends are good conversation starters when you are at a family gathering, party or any event where you were invited by the same person. Asking ‘So how do you know Mike?’ helps them share old stories and allows the two of you to jump right in and get to know each other.” – Lori Bizzoco, relationship expert and founder of CupidsPulse.com

Conversation Topic: Be pleasant

Conversation Topic: Be pleasant
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“It’s a simple social truth: Being happy makes others more interested in being around you. Try starting a conversation by expressing a pleasant emotion, like pointing out what a beautiful night it is. You should never try to shock someone into a conversation as it suggests you are scary, not interesting.” – Nikky Prause, a neuroscientist and licensed psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles

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Conversation Topic: Comment on the venue

Conversation Topic: Comment on the venue
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“Environmental small talk is appropriate for all events as it offers others the opportunity to engage or withdraw according to their comfort level. Try something like ‘I love the high ceilings in here’ or ‘What beautiful decorations, they’ve done an amazing job.’ Follow their lead and don’t be afraid to keep a conversation brief if you’re not receiving signals that they want to further engage.” – Jessica O’Reilly, PhD

Conversation Topic: Say it with a smile

Conversation Topic: Say it with a smile
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“It is viscerally impossible not to like someone who genuinely smiles at you. This means smiling with your entire face, including your eyes. Try this as you greet friends and colleagues and observe their reaction. A smile will disarm defences, boost your likeability, and increase the chances of a positive conversation before you say a word.” – Wendy Patrick, JD, PhD, behavioural expert and attorney

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