So you're at a networking event and you have no idea what to say to the person you've just met. Do you ask about their job, even though it sounds boring? Inquire about what movies they've seen recently, secretly praying they're not into sci-fi (or whatever genre you don't know anything about)?
Starting a conversation can be challenging, whether it's in the office kitchen or at a friend of a friend's birthday party. You don't want to rely on the same old, "Where do you work?"
question, but you also don't want to offend anyone by accidentally bringing up something controversial. And if you don't know what a person's interests are, it's hard to ask in a way that doesn't sound awkward or totally canned.
To get some insight into how to start a convo you'll both actually want to be part of, we turned to the experts. We talked to Lizzie Post, spokesperson for the Emily Post Institute and cohost of the Awesome Etiquette podcast
, and Jacqueline Whitmore, certified speaking professional and etiquette expert
, to share their tips on starting a conversation with anyone (really!).
Click through to find out the pros' best advice — you'll never fear small talk again.