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As a kid, I thought the epitome of homesickness was the four weeks I would spend away at overnight camp every summer. And then I moved to college in another state. Being so far away from home—not just the physical structure of my house but the family, friends, and familiar sites that defined my comfort zone—was an overwhelming undertaking. Homesickness is a longing for the familiar. Homesickness can present as anxiety, sadness, or fear; all natural reactions to transferring out of comfortable environments and in to the unknown. Here are some tips to get you through.
Whether you are trying to settle into a new role or meeting a new professional contact, the ability to start a conversation is an excellent skill for networking and building relationships. However, it can be a challenge to find the right words the first time you meet someone.
Regardless of the situation or personality of the person you want to talk to, there are several effective ways to begin a conversation. In the workplace, you can choose a wide variety of topics as long as they are appropriate for the environment. Conversation starters with colleagues or professional contacts will look different than those with new friends or acquaintances.
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Your initial efforts could start a conversation that will help you build valuable relationships with coworkers and colleagues. Here are some of the best conversation starters for work:.
A great way to start a conversation is to ask for information from the person you want to talk to. This is an effective, natural way to build rapport with someone quickly.
Even if you already know the answer to your question, it is still a great way to approach someone if you cannot think of another topic. For example, if you are attending an event and see a colleague you have not talked to yet, you can ask them about the conference. With this, you can take the conversation even further by mentioning something you like about the speakers, and so on. Giving someone a compliment can liven their day and boost their confidence. You can pick something about the person you like and mention why you like it.
The cut suits you. There are several follow-up questions you can ask to keep the conversation going, such as where they go to get their hair cut or how they chose the style. You can usually find something positive to say about an event or situation.
The occasion could have been the last office happy hour or a game that was on the night before. If the person shares your views, you are on your way to an engaging conversation. I think our team finally hit their stride. From there, the conversation can go deeper in the game, or a tangential subject, such as a different sports team.
While this may not be suitable for every situation, it is a straightforward way of showing you are interested in meeting someone. If you just started a new job and have not met someone in another department yet, you can approach them and introduce yourself. You can then ask follow-up questions about their position or how long they have been with the company. Related: How to Introduce Yourself in an Interview. If you find yourself in a position to assist a person you want to talk to, seize the moment and offer them help.
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Offering help can make you likable and earn the trust of the other person, especially when you show a genuine concern. From there, you can lead into conversation related to the task, such as what is in the contents of the binders.
Requesting help is another effective conversation starter. If someone does you a favor, they may be more likely to think of you in a favorable light and trust you. Asking for help can help you start a friendly conversation, but make sure your request is convenient for the other party. If you want to talk to someone who you know shares something in common with you, you can always find a topic as a talking point. Your shared experiences make getting along easier, and that aids the flow of the conversation and building of the relationship. If they are familiar with the topic, many people will happily respond to your questions, and it is a perfect way to get a conversation started.
When asking an opinion, choose topics relevant to the moment.
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Are they comfortable? When you meet an executive or prominent person in your organization for the first time, a great way to hold a conversation with them is to praise their work. You made some really good points. See if you can find a topic you know the person is passionate about. Passions can get your coworkers talking, and you can learn something new.
Remember to keep the conversation friendly and positive. Have you ever been to one of their shows? What is it like there? People naturally like talking about themselves. Try finding a topic that will allow the person to speak about their interests, family or experiences. Commenting on the building, temperature or artwork can all be great ways to get a person talking with you. If all else fails, you can always comment on the weather. It is one of the easiest ways to get someone talking and can segue into multiple other topics.
See examples of ice-breakers below:. Since you now know how to start a conversation, it helps to know the best topics to talk about. The following topics rank among the most popular among people:.
You can ask questions on relationships, siblings, children or even pets. So long as your communication skills are good and the questions are not too intimate, people will often feel proud to talk freely about their families.
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This is a perfect topic for a work happy hour or a team function. It is a way to engage in small talk and learn more about a person quickly. People are passionate about sports and will gladly share their passion. You can ask questions about their favorite teams, tournaments and sporting events. In the age of on-demand entertainment and blockbuster TV series, entertainment is an important talking point for many people.
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If you ask someone about their favorite TV show or series, the chances are that they will have one or two they watch. Being current on the latest news can help you start small talk easily with strangers and acquaintances. Whether you are a fan of traditional newspapers or follow digital alternative news media, you can always open a conversation with questions about local news, happenings in other parts of the world and others.
However, it is generally best to leave political news out of the workplace. Many people take pride in talking about their job and will gladly share thoughts on the role they play in the organization. Whether you are talking to a person in your own company or someone you met recently, asking questions about their duties at work will likely inspire a response.
Some topics are best to avoid when starting a conversation in the workplace. Asking questions that are too personal or sensitive can cause your relationship to get off on the wrong foot.
They include:. The key is to try to avoid any negative conversations that might make people upset. Keep your conversation starters positive, and you can start a good relationship with your coworker or colleague. If you can tell that they are closed off and unresponsive, it may be best to move on and respect their space.
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It may not be a good time for them to build a connection with someone new. Active listening means focusing completely on the speaker.
This will allow you to fully understand the information being exchanged during the conversation in order to respond thoughtfully. It can be intimidating to start a conversation in many situations. Know that the person you start the conversation with is likely appreciative of the gesture and may have been wanting to break the ice with you as well. It is natural to feel anxious or nervous when approaching a new contact, but the benefit of meeting new people and expanding your network is worth it. If your conversation has gone well and it feels natural to exchange contact information, consider exchanging business cards or simply offering your.
This way, you can follow up explaining that it was a pleasure to meet them and that you are happy to continue the conversation as it makes sense. Draw on specific details from your chat to let them know you paid attention and valued meeting them. Indeed Home. Find jobs. Company reviews. Find salaries.
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