Talking to strangers can be nerve-racking but it’s not as difficult as you may think. Just be yourself and try to have fun. Here’s how to talk to people when you don’t know what to say:

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1) Be interested in what they have to say

Remember that it’s not always about you. Pay attention to what others are saying and show genuine interest. Follow up with open-ended questions in order to get the conversation going. Avoid questions that only require ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. The key is to get them talking. Let them elaborate.

2) Rephrase what they tell you

If you run out of ideas, the trick is to simply repeat what people say or ask for clarification. It shows that you’re interested and actually listening to what they’re saying. They will gladly tell you more because of your interest.

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3) Have a few standard questions ready

If you want to talk to strangers but don’t know where to begin, just prepare a few general questions so you don’t have to struggle later. For example, if you’re travelling, you can always ask where they’re from, how long their trip is, and where they’re heading to next. You can even ask what their plans are for the day and see if you can join them if you want to make new friends.

4) Share small things about yourself

Don’t worry about sounding weird or not having anything interesting to say. It’s better to say something than having awkward silences. The key is to be confident. They will appreciate your effort and respond accordingly.

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5) Avoid being a know-it-all

People will think you’re arrogant if you try to prove that you know everything. Take it easy. Don’t go overboard or try to dominate the conversation with your knowledge. The objective is to have a connection with others, not bore them with what you know.

6) Don’t overthink it

If you think too much about what you’re going to say next, you might lose the momentum or end up not saying anything at all. Don’t worry too much. There’s no right or wrong. Just say what comes to your mind even if you think it may sound stupid. Try to go with the flow and relax.

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