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Questions the Most Interesting People Ask to Spark a Great Conversation

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it also sparks a lot of great conversations. At least, that is what the latest studies tell us. If you want to engage others in great conversations you need to exhibit intellectual curiosity to get the conversation started and keep it going. Curious people enjoy socializing more and they are simply better at it. But how can you be that kind of person? What questions exhibit your intellectual curiosity with others? Here are five questions that are sure to be a conversation starter the next time you’re in a crowd.

5 Conversation Starter Questions

You want to be that person. We’re talking about the person in the crowd constantly engaging in a fun, meaningful conversation with strangers. Every corporate gathering has a person like that. There’s no magic to it, just your genuine interest and curiosity in the people around you. Here are five questions to lead with when meeting new people at your next business activity.

  1. Turn the stale “How are you?” into something like, “What’s your story?” Business coach Marcel Schwantes starts his podcasts with this very question. It opens the door for people to talk about anything that interests them; work, home, a passion project, college, or whatever they want. You must be cautious that this blunt approach doesn’t turn people off, though, so it’s best to introduce yourself first before blurting this line out.
  2. Try, “What brought you here today?” It’s another pretty open-ended question that could take the person in several different directions to launch a conversation. It’s a good opportunity to ask a lot of follow-up questions as the person starts talking with you. During the conversation, you can demonstrate your natural curiosity by asking these questions, and practicing active listening during the chat.
  3. “What got you into your line of work?” Another great conversation starter. It’s like peeling an onion; you can really get to know someone with this question. You may learn what the person’s passion is and what motivates them. Did they just fall into their work and love it? Did they go to school to learn their trade? You can ask about the work environment they’re in now. You may even find the person isn’t happy in their job at all. That can take the conversation in an entirely new direction.
  4. “What’s been the high point of your professional career?” People love to talk about themselves, and this question is a great one for really getting to see the passion that people bring to their work. It takes practice, but this question just naturally lends itself to other follow-up questions that keep the conversation going.
  5. “Do you have any new goals for the year?” This is a question best suited for the beginning of the year, of course. You can revise the question to ask if they set goals at the beginning of the year and what their progress is. But it’s a great conversation starter that will really help you get to know the person quickly. Do they launch into personal goals first over work goals? That tells you something about what really matters to them. It can also lead to other great questions, such as, “How did you do on your goals for last year?” “What’s your secret for actually reaching your goals?”

Starting conversations is what PrideStaff Thousand Oaks is all about. We talk with job candidates every day about their professional goals and how we can help them meet them. If you’re searching for a change of venue, why not practice your conversation skills and give us a call?

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