Recommending people conversation topics is tricky. Personally, tuning my people skills, I have learned to talk about anything and everything. I can do this now, not because I know a lot of stuff (which I don’t), but because I can relate with people on any subject.
Simultaneously, I am aware that particularly when you’re talking with a person you’ve just met it’s good to understand what the interesting conversation topics that go well with most people are. Thus, you can start a conversation on a common ground and build rapport fast.
With this in mind, I am giving you ten fine researched conversation topics I believe work fabulously in most conversations. So you can confidently pick from them in your social interactions and then adapt the conversation topics as you learn more about the other person.
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 there.
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 idea.
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?
Image courtesy of Bethan