By Rei H.
After 17 relocations in seven cities across three countries, I have met so many amazing people in my life. I get to know them through delightful conversations. But how do you conduct a delightful conversation? I know. It is uncomfortable and uneasy when you meet people for the first time. Here are some of my tips to start and spark conversations when you first meet people.
1. Ask for recommendations
If you just moved to a new city, asking for recommendations is a great way to start a conversation. It is the simplest way to understand the person’s favorites and personality. For example, you can ask simple questions such as:
-Where to go for international grocery shopping
-Which fitness gym to sign up for in Ann Arbor
-Which restaurants to go to in Greater Detroit
-How to exercise during winter
-Where to go to enjoy nature in Michigan
-Where to travel in the US
2. Find common interests
Finding common interests is another way to engage a conversation and get to know each other. I usually open up by sharing my interests in art, music, travel, sports, and food. If I have difficulties finding common interests, I ask the person the cooking recipes of specific dishes from her/his country. And I sometimes share my mistakes cooking those meals. However, try not to talk about yourself too much to spark the conversation.
3. Bring business/contact info cards
Remembering the spelling and the pronunciation of an international name is challenging for some people. When you have a small card with your name and contact information, it makes people more comfortable to remember your name and contact you later. Sometimes, people ask what your name means and start a conversation. The cards do not have to be fancy. You can buy a bunch of blank cards and write your name on them, or print them at home.
You may have been doing these things already, but it is useful to remember them when you are attending a networking event or party. I hope you get to know new people as much as possible!