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How To Start A Conversation Naturally
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If you listen closely after someone asks, “So what do you do?” you can almost hear the other person’s eyes roll as they recite their 30-second elevator pitch.

But talking to new people doesn’t have to be such a drag.

There are ways to get the conversation going without resorting to irritating clichés.

Check out these 17 icebreakers that will help ease you into an engaging conversation with people you’ve never met before.
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‘What kind of volunteer work do you do?’

Asking people about their volunteer work will open up “a world of wonderful conversation,” writes strategy consultant Alice Korngold on

Korngold says she especially enjoys meeting people who work on nonprofit boards because she gets to learn about how an organization was founded, how the person got involved with it, and about the “fascinating group dynamics of boards.”
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‘Are you originally from [wherever the event is], or did your business bring you here?’

This question will help you jumpstart an engaging conversation with ease because “it doesn’t feel like you are asking for a stiff elevator speech,” national etiquette expert and owner of The Protocol School of Texas Diane Gottsman tells U.S. News & World Report.

The conversation will allow both parties to talk about themselves, which is the ultimate goal of career-savvy people attending a network event, Gottsman says.
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‘Man, these networking events can be so crazy. Mind if I join you over here where it’s a little quieter?’

Find someone on the outskirts of the ongoing conversations and introduce yourself, says Ariella Coombs, content manager for

Since they are alone and possibly looking miserable, they are probably uncomfortable with the social situation, Coombs says. By initiating the interaction, you can help to put them at ease and get them in the flow of a conversation.
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‘Hmmm, I’m not quite sure what that dish is. Do you know?’

Rather than silently standing in line for food, take the opportunity to start a conversation about the topic on everyone’s mind: food.

Ask about the dish they think looks good or the mystery dish, Coombs writes on “Who knows, you might leave the buffet with a better plate of food AND a new contact!”
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