6 Ways to Avoid Being Tongue-Tied

Sometimes I know exactly what I want to say to someone, and other times I am searching my brain to try and formulate a question to start a conversation. Does this ever happen to you? Try these 5 ways to always have a question on hand.

1. Start your question with WHO?

Of course you will need to add something after asking "Who?" but just having a starting point is helpful. Ask Who do you admire? or Who would you most like to meet someday?

2. Start your question with WHAT?

Ask your friend what she/he likes doing in her/his free time. You can also ask things like What is your favorite color? or What is something you strongly believe in?

3. Ask WHY?

Regardless of which question you choose to pose first, you can always follow up with why? (Remember when your toddler kept asking you why?) Sometimes if you probe just a bit further you learn something new about what drives that person or why they answered the way they did.

4. Start your question with WHERE?

Where have you traveled? This could be a whole conversation in itself! Be prepared to be an armchair traveler with your companion as you listen to fun stories. You can also ask Where did you grow up? or Where is your favorite place to walk?

5. And finally, ask WHEN?

Asking when helps you get the conversation in perspective. Did this happen just last night or years ago? When can also project into the future, such as asking., When do you see yourself retiring? You may ask When did you learn...? or When would you like to get together again?

6. One more way to avoid being a-tied is to ask a HOW question

How did you do that? or How even How was your day? are very specific and personal questions. Your friend's answer could reveal things that will carry the conversation further, especially as you apply some of the other word-start questions.

Remember that questions you decide to ask will be dictated on who you are talking to, and where you are. Try for more generic questions before you get too personal. Otherwise you may find that your friend is reluctant to share. And of course, you need to be willing to share your answers too. The key ingredient to having a good conversation is to really LISTEN to what your friend has to say. Don't just bombard him/her with questions like a firehose. Take time to hear what they are saying and to respond in an appropriate way.

If you remember to use questions that start with WHO, WHAT, WHY, WHEN, AND HOW, you are well on your way to being a great conversationalist!

Still feeling timid about starting a conversation? You may like our 30 conversation starters in our shop. You can see that here.

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