Joyful Conversation Starters
Updated: Jan 18
Small talk about the weather and traffic gets old and certainly doesn’t set us up to talk about what most matters to us. (Unless we are a meteorologist or work in transportation!)
By asking intentional open ended questions that we care about, we set a framework that creates more meaningful connection and conversation.
The people we are meeting also appreciate the questions because they help to remove awkwardness while fostering more interesting dialogue.
Not only do these types of conversation starters help us to enjoy and feel more confident in our networking, they can make us a magnet for others to want to know us! Take a look at the following list and see which ideas resonate for you. Some are more oriented for professional settings and some for meeting in casual or social situations. Several of the questions can also be used as icebreaker questions for groups to use.
Conversation starter ideas:
1. What are you looking forward to?
2. What inspires you?
3. What do you most enjoy about your work?
4. What is something you are proud of?
5. What is something that has gone well for you in the past year?
6. What pleasantly surprises you in your work?
7. What is your favorite way to learn something new (e.g. reading, podcasts, workshops)
8. How do you most like to meet new people? (e.g. events like this, parties, small gatherings)
9. If you could come back in another lifetime, what would you love to do for a career?
10. What do you most enjoy doing when you are not working?
11. Let’s each complete this question: “Wouldn’t it be fun if ___?”
12. What is your ideal day? (include "workday" if you'd like to keep it professionally focused)
13. What energizes you?
14. Do you have a favorite day of the week? If so, what makes it your favorite?
15. Is there something you enjoy so much you’ve made it a regular habit?
16. Is there something you would really like to accomplish?
17. What is your favorite personality type to work with?
18. What is one way you’d like to challenge yourself or push outside of your comfort zone?
19. If you could do anything, what would you want it to be?
18. If others saw you as a superhero, what would they say is your power?
19. Is there something you really want to do but scares you a little?
20. What is something you are excited about?
21. What do you most enjoy about your work?
22. What inspired you to attend today?
23. What are you hoping for from this event?
24. How did you learn about this event?
25. Is there something in particular you are grateful for?
26. If you won an award, what would you want it to be for?
27. If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?
28. What is the best thing that’s happened for you this week?
29. What would your ideal retirement look like?
30. When you look back on your life, what do you want people to remember about you?
31. Is there a legacy you’d like to leave and be remembered for?
32. If you were invited to a dream dinner party, who would you most want to be there?
33. Do you have a role-model? What do you admire about them?
34. What do you know now that you wish you had known earlier? 35. If your “future self” could share words of wisdom with you, what would they say?
36. What is something funny you’ve experienced in your work?
37. What do you find most interesting about your role?
38. What is something new you would like to try this year?
39. What is one of your favorite days you've experienced?
40. What is something you are grateful for?
41. What lights you up? (What brings you joy?)
42. What would you like to experience more of in your career, business or personal life?
43. How were you magnetized to your work? (How did you get drawn to the field you are in?)
44. Fill in your own joy-related question: __________________
Choosing joy-oriented conversation starters that fit for what we want to talk about not only sets the stage, it helps us to feel more confident in our networking while making us a magnet for others to want to know us!
Identify some conversation starters that would work well for you.
Write them down somewhere to have handy as you practice using them (e.g. an electronic note on your phone or computer, a card in your wallet).
Here is one of my favorite conversation starters…
“What are you looking forward to?” And a good standard standby, I like to ask is, "What drew you to this event?"
Which are your favorites? Do you have other questions to add to this list? Let's see if we can get to 50!
Change and fun go together for Teresa Thomas, an award-winning connector, presenter, networking expert and author.
Teresa is on a mission to ignite intentional, connected and joy-filled living. She created the 50 Fun Things® experiences, books, and charts as a way for people to look at how they can add fun and fulfillment as integral pieces in their lives, leveraging joy on a personal and professional level. One of the ways Teresa shares 50 Fun Things® is through "Happier Hours" and social mixers with customized meaningful conversation starters (e.g. conferences, client appreciation celebrations and open houses — online and in-person).