Conversation starters for any leader

Aug 06, 2021
This week we're examining communication hacks that take your conversations and connections to another level.
You might not realize it, but we all give off signals and hints of what we're interested in, what we like, or where our thoughts are at. With the right cues, you can get someone to open up and share their interest!
We've compiled this list of conversation signals that show you're interested. Consider them as small talk prompts and see how they might apply to your next conversation!
1. Personalized humour for everyone. Even when you're just getting to know someone, your sense of humour can call to mind what you like in life and your current interests. This is a great way to find common ground and get someone to open up about themselves. Humour is universal, and it's refreshing thinking out loud about the things that interest you.
2. Your sense of humour. Whether you're funny or the source of most of the jokes around, you can always make your conversation partners laugh (even if you're not the one doing the talking). You might not think that it's in any way a conversation signal, but it really is! It uses non-verbal cues to carry your personality through and show that you're someone who appreciates others' individuality and humour.
3. Your love of lists. Some of us are really into making lists and writing things out, especially when you're trying to organize your thoughts. The act of you telling someone about your list-making habit shows how much it means to you and gives insight into what's on your mind.
4. Your go-to topics. You know exactly what's on your mind, and you're not afraid to talk about it. If someone is interested in the same things as you, it gives them a great way to connect with you on an even deeper level.
5. Your unique style. We all have different ways of doing things, so finding commonalities in your own personal preferences can be a great way to show that you're interested in getting to know someone.
6. Your taste in music. Even if you're not a real "music fan," just having a favourite artist, album or song can show that you're interested in getting to know someone different than yourself.
7. Your love of activities that get your endorphins going. If you're always trying to get out and do something active, even if it's just a long walk or bike ride, it can signal an interest in someone who likes doing the same thing without necessarily having to actually say it.
8. Your willingness to talk about what interests them. This is a conversation hack that few people know, but you can use your interest in other people to draw them into the conversation with their own interests.
As a leader, I often present as an extrovert who's confident in any social setting. It's often true, but I've still got a shy streak when it comes to small talk - especially when business and social are mixed together. And it doesn't matter whether you're an established leader, as we open to more diverse teams, so we need more diverse conversation starters. Not everyone likes football, and not everyone has kids.

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