We all know and love (and want to be) those people…
The funny ones.
The ones who seem to crack up co-workers and friends with a word or a well-timed gesture.
People gravitate towards them--even you. Funny people make you laugh and smile and feel good, who wouldn’t want to be around them?
Even though it can feel like some people are born to be funny and others are born to laugh, you can actually learn how to be funny.
Learning how to be funny in conversation is a crucial people skill. It will help you:
Just like any skill, learning how to be funny takes practice! If being funny doesn’t come naturally to you, just remember:
There’s no such thing as a funny baby.
No one is actually born funny.
It’s a skill that these people have been working on and building for a long time - probably since childhood.
The class clowns, the crack-ups we remember those kids. Now that they’re all grown up, they’ve used that experience to their advantage.
They’ve had a lot more time to learn from trial and error what’s funny and what’s not (and that’s an equally important skill--learning what types of humor to avoid).
So let’s get to it...
In this article, you'll learn…
Look, we’ve all been there...
You see someone...and you wonder how to start a conversation with them.
Then you feel it…
Your mind starts to race - maybe so fast that it starts to go blank.
“What should I say?” “No, that’s stupid, no one says that!“
And by the time you psyche yourself up to start the conversation, the other person has ordered their tall Americano and sailed out the door.
Ah, such is life, you tell yourself. But it doesn’t have to be this way!
With the right gameplan, you could be chatting up tall Americano right now and making a new friend.
I know...easier said than done.
Learning how to start a conversation and developing a gameplan to help you practice and grow your newfound skills takes effort, know-how, and guidance.
Luckily, you’re in the right place.
Simple Beats Complex!
When my clients ask me how to start a conversation, my first response is this:
While what you say first IS important, it’s not as important as what you say second.
In fact, for most of my clients, the best conversation starter is: “Hi, I’m [Your Name].”
I know, I know...
It feels almost too simple. But it’s often how we follow up that first statement that makes or breaks the interaction.
In this article, you’ll learn:
Look, sometimes we just need a little extra push to come up with something to say...some extra conversation starters to help that awkward silence melt away.
I got you.
Here are 300+ conversation starters and topics for you use in several different social settings. Use them with friends, coworkers, on dates, or out at happy hour!
Pro tip #1: Find 5 of your favorites and write them down on the notes app on your phone. Use them in your conversations this week.
Pro tip #2: Be sure to balance asking questions with telling stories, and making statements. (No one wants to be interrogated!)
Let's swan dive in... (For fun, I've answered a few of these in parentheses)
Look, we’ve ALL been there…
You’re at a dinner party or on a Zoom call with a friend and your mind just goes...blank.
Maybe the vibe is just off, or the conversation seems to have run its course, running out of things to talk about on Facetime, Zoom, or IRL, can make you feel awkward, boring, and lame.
If you’ve ever felt the growing horror of dead air between you and your conversation partner, don’t worry - you’re in the right place.
We’re going to help you build up an arsenal of topics and questions that will help you defeat the conversation killing silence!
We can call them conversation starters, but you’ll notice that almost all of them are questions.
That’s because to keep a conversation going, you have to get people talking! And the fastest way to do that is to invite them to talk about themselves.
If you’ve read any of my other articles, you’ve likely heard me say this before:
People love to talk about themselves.
So let them!
It may feel like you’re putting the work on them, but I promise they are just as eager to avoid the awkward silences as you are.
Learning and using the “things to talk about” below will help you keep the conversation flowing and put your conversation partners at ease.
Let’s dive in!
If you're reading this article, it's a pretty easy guess that at some point or another you've felt...well, boring.
Don't worry! It happens to the best of us!
You want to be more interesting and engaging, but you just don't know how to not be boring on the phone.
Pro Tip: Smile. People can literally hear the smile in your voice even if they can't see you.
You want to enthrall the office with stories about your weekend but you are still Googling "how to not be boring on facetime" instead of doing it.
The good news is, you are in the right place.
We are going to cover how to not be boring from top to bottom. These are not vague tips, but real steps you can take with action steps and homework.
As a social skills coach, I believe in a progressive step-by-step approach to self-improvement.
Start small, build confidence, repeat.
In this article you'll learn...
5 time NCAA champion Mike Krzyzewski - possibly the most famous college basketball coach ever has a quote I love:
“Communication does not always occur naturally, even among a tight-knit group of individuals. Communication must be taught and practiced in order to bring everyone together as one.”
With over 1,000 career wins and over 100 future NBA players coached, Coach K knows his stuff. He’s one of the best examples of what a great coach can help his athletes achieve.
There’s a reason that communication coaches are called “coaches.”
A coach is someone who directs training and habits to help someone become the best they can be. And you just heard it from the best - communication skills can be taught and improved!
So let’s take a look at what makes a good communications coach and how they can help you achieve your communication goals!
Questions are a great way to start a conversation at a barbecue, a Zoom networking event, or a party.
Questions can even help you move past small talk and into deeper topics. (Which studies suggest could make you happier!)
If you’ve ever struggled with thinking up questions to get to know someone better, this post is for you!
Pro-tip: Don’t ONLY ask questions. If you do, you’ll fall into the interrogation trap!
After your conversational partner responds, keep the conversation going by making an observation about what they said.
Look through the list below and copy/paste 5 of your favorite questions into the notes app on your phone.
Then, you’ll be all set to break the ice at your next social event!
I believe that everyone has the ability to improve their social skills and become more outgoing - you just have to tap into that outgoing part of yourself.
But as any introvert who’s tried to teach themselves how to be more outgoing can tell you - it’s not as easy as it sounds.
“Know thyself.” -Socrates
Socrates wasn’t playing around when he dropped this philosophical morsel on us.
He believed that the answer to all happiness and philosophical unrest was to look within where all knowledge already lives, waiting to be remembered.
I love this idea because it’s an equalizer.
We might have different starting points, but we can ALL improve and grow.
If you want to learn how to be more outgoing--you just need the mindsets and tactics to get there!
So let’s talk about how to be more outgoing as an introvert, step-by-step.
In this article you’ll learn:
Ready? Let’s dive in!
Many of my readers ask me about how to make conversation.
A conversation that feels natural and smooth.
Good news: These are learnable skills.
Having great conversation skills that you can "turn on" at a moments notice matter when you're:
The better you are with these soft interactions, the better your career, business and social life's trajectory will be.
And the best part?
These skills compound over time.
Like investing in a 401K, the more connections you make, the easier it is to call up good friends, find jobs fast, and get introduced to more people who can change your life.
Here are 5 tips that you can use starting today to make better, more memorable conversations.
Every one of these skills are effective individually, but when you stack them together, they become extremely powerful.
When I became self-employed, it was a huge shift.
Gone were coworkers, office small talk, and happy hours.
Instead, it was just me.
And the cat.
At first, it was nice.
"Finally, I can just put my head down and do the work!" I thought.
But, after a couple of months, I realized "Holy crap! I might accidentally become a hermit if I'm not careful."
When you're trying to learn (or in my case re-learn) how to become more social, it's effective to have a few tips to help you get on the right track.
These tips will help whether you're
Here's a sample of crappy advice you WON'T find in this article:
Here are 8 ways to become more social starting TODAY.
You feel it...the death of your conversation.
"Some get the crash cart!!!"
You're standing there, it feels like hours since you've spoken. The ice in your drink slowly melts.
We've all been there, wondering how to keep a conversation going when:
When we can keep that conversation going, we can make new friends, better job opportunities, and become more successful.
So how do we do it?
In this article, you'll learn:
Let's dive in!
Here are 9 ways to keep a conversation going & destroy awkward pauses forever:
The importance of conversation skills: these skills can be the difference between having great friends, connections, and experiences and...not.
Today we're going to cover how to improve conversation skills. You can start using these 8 powerful tips today.
In This Article, You'll Learn...
Let's dive in: Watch the video below, or read on...your call!
(These first two tips will help your conversation skills before you even open your mouth!)
Knowing how to introduce people is a great skill to have.
Example: A friend's wedding.
At the reception, after grabbing a fresh drink, I saw my former co-worker, Michael.
He stood up and walked over, shook my hand, and we talked for a few minutes about the World Series.
As our conversation was wrapping up, he said "Hey! Let me introduce you to my wife."
What I was expecting: To walk over and be introduced with a simple "Hey, this is my buddy, Jeff."
“Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price we all have to pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.” – Vince Lombardi
Imagine that you group together the greatest baseball players of all time - Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, and Mike Trout.
Now imagine that they all speak different languages and have no idea what the others are saying.
As a soft skills coach my clients ask me to help with situations like this all the time.
You may be the Babe Ruth of Finance Techs, but if you can’t connect with the VP of Sales (the Mike Trout of soft skills), you’re not going to climb very far up the corporate ladder.
Soft skills don’t come easy to many of my clients.
And while the reasons for that may vary, they all figured out the hard way that to advance, they’d have to study up and invest in their ability to communicate effectively with their bosses, their coworkers, and their clients.
The good news is you don’t have to do it alone.
Using the guidance of a soft skills coach can help you achieve the success you want to see in your career more quickly and effectively than trying to level up on your own.
Andre Agassi - eight-time Grand Slam Champion, Olympic gold medalist, and owner of possibly the best hair in the history of sports - knows a little something about hard work and success, and a lot about what makes a good coach.
My favorite quote from his autobiography “Open” is:
“A great coach can lead you to a place where you don't need him anymore.”
This is as true in life as it is in sports.
Whether you’re talking about a personal trainer, an executive coach, or a social coach, the ultimate goal is to train and up your skillset until you have a foundation to work from.
Having a solid foundation in the basics gives you the confidence you need to practice and build your social skills and achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself.
You have to learn how to dribble before you’re doing trick shots!
So how can a social coach help you improve socially?
What does building a strong foundation in social skills look like?
It looks a lot like this...
I'll help you supercharge your people skills so that you can have a more fulfilling career,
business & social life.
Over the last 15 years, I’ve learned... (Read More)
• 8 Uncommon Tips To Make A Great First Impression
• The Ultimate Guide To Joining & Enjoying Group Conversations
• How to Never Run Out of Things to Say