Trying to introduce yourself to a new person can be intimidating. If you don’t know anything about them, how will you know what to say? How can you start an interesting conversation with a total stranger? Here are five English icebreakers to help thaw the icy-cold awkwardness of meeting someone for the first time.
This is the most obvious way to start a conversation. It takes confidence, though. Make your introduction more memorable by offering some information about yourself rather than just giving your name. For example, you could explain how you know the person organising the event or why you are at the event. This will give the other person a chance to either ask you a question or offer some information about themselves.
Comment on the surroundings
If you are talking to someone face-to-face, the surroundings are something you both share. Comment on the food or the venue and you know it’s a topic the other person will able to talk about, too – you’re in the same place together, after all!
Find something in common
Even if you think you don’t know anything about this new person, you actually do – you know they’re in the same room as you. You can ask “What brings you here?” to find out why someone is at the event or “How do you know the host?” to find out how you know a common friend.
Give a compliment
Everyone likes to hear nice things said about them. Comments on clothes or accessories are a safe way to start a conversation. For example, you could say “Those shoes look great!” and follow up with “Where did you get them?” Questions like this are good because they invite the person to tell you more about themselves. Make sure not to make comments about a person’s body in English, though. It’s a sensitive topic and likely to offend people.
Ask a question
Almost all people have jobs, so why not ask the person, “So what do you do for a living?” Or “Where are you from originally?” meaning you want to know where they were born. Again, questions make any first-time conversation easier. If the person is polite, they will ask you the question in return, which will give you a chance to talk about yourself. Asking questions is a great way to find a topic you are both interested in talking about.
So, those are our top five ways to start a conversation in English. Try using them next time you find it tricky to start a conversation. Who knows? You might even make some new friends.