How to Make Them Talk, Not Walk: Five Rules to Encourage Conversation

Some people are natural talkers. They have the knack, or, as the Irish like to say, the gift of gab. For most people, starting a conversation with a total stranger is scary, especially with the opposite sex! In impromptu discussions you may be the one starting the conversation or you may be the one approached, and if you are not the type who is a natural talker those situations may scare the heck out of you. Others find that they are fine with casual chats but when they're on a first date they feel awkward. They don't know how to talk with their date in a way that makes the other person feel comfortable enough to divulge their inner thoughts and opinions. Either way, to start and maintain a conversation takes a little skill—and a lot of practice. If you weren't blessed with the gift of gab and the ability to talk to anyone about anything, here are some great tips to help you

Tip One: Be interested. Initiating a casual conversation is not as difficult as it seems. Start every conversation with only one intention—to "chat" for a few minutes or get another's take on the current situation. Simple, short, engaging sentences are best: "You look like you're having a good time," or "You look like your having a lousy time." Stay current on current events. Share an interesting experience; what it meant to you, how it changed your life, what you learned from it etc. Look the person in the eye when you speak, smile and keep your attitude easy and breezy.

Tip Two: Be interesting. The more interesting your own life is, the more topics you have at your disposal to discuss. Take a class, read about a subject you are interested in but know little or nothing about. Keep expanding your life and your knowledge base. Not only does it make your life and mind fuller, it makes you a more interesting person to talk to.

Tip Three: Be approachable. Women complain that men don't take any initiative to chat them up. There are a few reasons why men keep their distance. The most obvious is inapproachability. If you are standing with a posture that says "leave me alone," guess what? Men will leave you alone. If your face is tight with fear, hostility or desperation, your body language is telling others to stay away. So unfold those arms from your chest and make it a point to exude a relaxed, friendly posture and SMILE. Now I'm not asking you to stand around with a huge grin pasted on your face like Ms. America, but you can let a soft easy smile touch your lips and allow your body to relax.

Tip Four: Leave the rat pack at home. Standing in a tight clutch of girlfriends whispering and giggling is a sight to strike fear into the heart of the bravest of man. George, a single man on the dating scene agrees. If I'm out at a lounge or restaurant and see an attractive woman that catches my eye with a bunch of girlfriends, I don't say a word because I feel like I'm intruding and I don't want to be judged and critiqued by her girlfriends. If you are out and about and want to meet men, don't take five of your girlfriends along, save that for girls night out and go alone. George says this, "When I see a woman out alone, it turns me on because it says she's confident, enjoys her own company and can have a great time with or without a man. That is a woman I would definitely approach." At the least, be bold enough to break away from your friends every so often on those girls nights out.

Tip Five: Avoid the RPS trap. Religion, Politics, Sex. Don't discuss religion, politics or sex if you want to avoid hurt feelings and heated debates. These topics must come up at some point when you are getting to know someone, but they should not come up the first time you meet. Save heavy issues that deal with religion, politics and sex for a time when you have a better understanding of the other person's views on such things.

By Yvonne Chase for


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