My friends know that I can talk underwater with rocks in my mouth. For some that can be irritating, for others, engaging (sorry – not sorry). Engaging in conversation with loved ones I can do. Talking with a stranger at a party or network event? Hmm, not so comfortable. Got me thinking – surely other folk experience discomfort with small talk too?
Yes, unseasonably warm isn’t it?
Ever been plunged into the realm of small talk and struggled to come up with something more interesting than the weather? A dating site staring at a blinking cursor while pondering witty/clever/sophisticated questions to ask an interested party? A slow elevator ride with a co-worker, an acquaintance at an industry event, a complete stranger at a networking event, it happens to us all. ‘Yes, it is unseasonably warm for this time of year isn’t it?’ Boring.
Let’s kill the small talk!
If you’ve found yourself talking about topics you have no interest in or have already discussed one too many times—just for something to say, check out this great little article by Aja Frost (making small talk so much easier). After reviewing, I started throwing a few out there and along the way, managed to learn fabulous things about people that I’d never have picked up in ‘normal’ conversation. No more awkward silences or boring small talk folks! Here’s a starter kit of unexpected, thought-provoking questions that will evoke more than a mere yes or no response. And there’s something for everyone!
For the culture cravers…
1.) Are you reading any good books right now? How about shows? What would you recommend?
2.) Do you have any podcast suggestions for my commute?
3.) What’s the last movie that made you cry? Or laugh aloud?
4.) Whom would you want to be your Amazing Race partner?
5.) If they made a movie about you, which movie star would you choose to play you? Your family members? Why?
For the foodies…
1.) If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
2.) What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
3.) What’s your go-to comfort food? Or the food your Mum always made for you on your birthday?
4.) Does your family have any “secret” or famous recipes?
5.) What’s your favorite restaurant that other people might not know about?
For late night reveries…
1.) If you were in charge of picking the eighth wonder of the world, what would you choose?
2.) What do you wish you had placed in a time capsule 15 years ago?
3.) What’s the strangest compliment you’ve ever received?
4.) Have you ever thought of a cool invention or company, only to discover someone had already invented or started it?
5.) What would be your ideal superpower?
Bonus Q (my fave):
6.) If you could invite 5 people, dead or alive, to your dinner party, who would you choose? Why?
For the work buddies…
1.) If you weren’t working here, what would you probably be doing right now?
2.) What’s the craziest thing a boss has ever asked you to do?
3.) Would you rather work four 10-hour days or five eight-hour days?
4.) If you were guaranteed to be successful, what job would you want?
5.) What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? How about the worst?
For the travel hungry…
1.) If you could fly anywhere for free, where would you go?
2.) What’s the coolest road trip you’ve ever been on?
3.) Where’s the last place you traveled? What did you do there?
5) What’s your favorite thing to do around here on the weekends?
For the daters…
1.) What did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
2.) Do you have any hidden talents or surprising hobbies?
3.) What was the must-have accessory or item when you were growing up?
4.) What’s the most unbelievable thing that’s ever happened to you?
5.) What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Bet just asking one or two of these questions and you’ll be engaged for hours. Best order another wine!
What questions do you like to ask to jumpstart a cool discussion?