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A two-word trick for starting conversations

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Many people are paralyzed by the idea of talking to people they don’t know. It’s often related to the fear of public speaking.

But, here’s the absolute truth — people love to talk about themselves!  All you have to do is break the ice.

Here’s an article that offers a unique approach to initiating a conversation in a non-threatening way.

Written by Dave Schools in Medium, he recalled conducting an experiment at a party. His goal was to have one interesting conversation with a complete stranger.

After formal introductions were made and typical small talk was over about where people are from and what they do for a living were, he opted to go deeper by starting with two words, “I’m curious” and asking a question about themselves.

Schools noted that what “I’m curious” does is set the other person up for success. You’re not being interrogative, as there’s no right or wrong answer. There’s no judgment, no ulterior motive. You simply want to learn.

What an excellent tool!  When people can talk about themselves and tell their stories, they are naturally drawn to ask about yours. Soon, you’ve made another friend.

This would work very well in a church setting, too. You know those awkward moments at men’s or women’s groups where you are meeting new people sitting around a table. Just ask someone, “I’m curious…

  • Why did you start attending this church?
  • Why did you move to this area?
  • Who was the most influential person in your life when you were a teen?
  • How old were you when faith became real to you?

Who knows where the conversation will lead, and it will encourage others to jump in as well.

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Greg Gerber

A native of Wisconsin who moved to Arizona in 2009, Greg Gerber is a DODO -- Dad of Daughters Only -- to three grown daughters. He worked as a journalist for many years before pursuing a career as a faith-based writer, author, coach and speaker. Greg is the author of Pornocide: How Lust is Killing Your Faith, Stealing Your Joy and Destroying Your Life.

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