Tips for Keeping the Conversation Alive

Are you jealous of the born conversationalist? The person who can easily strike up a dialogue with strangers and make small talk with anyone in the room? Do you want to know their secrets for keeping a conversation alive? Here we have assembled some effective openers and fun fillers to help get your tongue untied and your brain working again after it has gone blank. Say goodbye to those awkward silences.

Ask Lots of Questions

It is hard to keep a conversation alive when you don't know anything about the other person-his interests, hobbies, political views, and values. When meeting someone for the first time, play the game of 20 questions to learn as much about the person as possible.


Your goal is to ask enough questions to get a random hit and find common ground where the two of you can meet to enjoy a lengthy chat. A good set of initial and/or get-to-know-you questions include the basics:

  • Where are you from?
  • What school did you go to?
  • What's your favorite restaurant?
  • Do you have any pets?
  • What do you like to do on weekends?


Two-thirds of all human conversation is gossip, so you better put it in your repertoire of conversation techniques. If you share mutual friends, acquaintances or colleagues, they can be your springboard to keeping the conservation alive.

Everyone enjoys gossiping, although few people admit to it because it sounds petty or trivial. Men seem to prefer to call it "keeping in touch," which is essentially a euphemism for gossip. To be an effective gossiper, remember to vary your voice (try lowering or elevating it for effect) and provide plenty of rich juicy detail.

Ask for Advice

Guys love to give advice, especially about cars and gadgets. To select a topic for advice, think about what is going on in your life. Are you in the market for a new car? Do you need to do some repair work around the house? Are you having trouble finding a certain app for your iPhone?


As long as you are a good listener and attentive, your conversation partner will enjoy sharing his expert advice or at least his two cents. If you are lucky, you might even find an enthusiastic volunteer who will offer to help you in your endeavor.

Share an Experience (especially if it's funny)

Remember that a good conservation should have a rhythm to it. When one person dominates the discussion and the other is doing all the listening, you don't have a conversation-you have a lecture. Through sharing personal experiences, we crack open our outer shell so the other person can get to know "the zany and loveable nut inside."

Good stories become great stories once you tell them over and over again, embellishing them a little each time. Practicing your story a couple of times can help calm the butterflies in your stomach.

Give a Compliment

If the conversation looks like it is faltering, try giving a compliment. Even if the conservation ends shortly thereafter, at least you ended it on a high note. Complimenting a person on what he is wearing is always a good choice and remember to follow-up by asking a question about where they shop.


Blurt Out Your Next Thought

If all else fails, try to blurt out the first thing that enters your head. Blurting is a conservation technique to break the awkward silence. If you can tie your stream of consciousness to something going on in your surroundings, that is even better.

Great Topics for Conversations (especially with men)


Talking about food-shopping for it, preparing it, and eating it-allows the conversation to bounce back and forth. In discussing your favorite restaurant remember to provide delicious detail about what you love about it-the atmosphere, the appetizers, the desserts, the price, and the service.

As a follow-up, suggest getting a group together to go out. Planning an outing is another way to keep the conversation alive and kicking.


There is a countless number of movies and luckily a movie critic in every room. Everyone has a favorite movie or one that is on their radar to see soon. Enjoying a good movie and being able to talk about a movie are two different things.


To keep a movie discussion going, you need to know how to share your impressions. The easiest way is to read reviews from movie critics. Don't substitute their reviews for you own, but jot down some phrases that they use so your next movie review will be a full-feature instead of a preview.


Home repairs are the bane of every homeowner's existence but great sources of conversation. Are you looking to spruce up your home and need some advice? Homeownership and rentals are a great foundation upon which to build a conversation. Share the good and bad of your home improvement projects or fiascos and don't forget to ask for advice and recommendations for contractors.


People love to talk about their pets, which often lead to long and personal conversations. Sharing stories about our pets shows our caring nature and as a bonus can be highly amusing. When a conversation begins to stall, reach for your phone or camera and bring up pictures of your adorable pet acting goofy to share.



Besides our home, we practically live in our cars. If you are in the market to buy or lease a new car, ask for some advice and then for fun talk about your dream car. If you want to be on the other side of the conversation, attend a few auto shows and read car reviews online, so you can share your knowledge on the coolest and latest features and specs.

Remember that a good conversation is like a good ping-pong match, where the players keep the ball in continuous play. If your partner sends you a lob slowing down the conversation, pick it back up by using one of the conversation techniques previously outlined. If your partner smashes the ping-pong and it looks as if the conversation is over, ask him whether he has ever played ping-pong.