6 Ways to Start a Dinner Party Conversation

Dinner party conversations can either make or break an evening. Arguably, it is equally (or more) important than the food itself in contributing to the success of the event. So how do you know if you are a good dinner party guest? Nobody likes to sit with a nonstop talker who monopolises every conversation. Equally, it is just as bad to sit next to someone who has nothing to say and you feel like you’re pulling teeth.

Some people thoroughly enjoy talking to strangers whilst others dread meeting new people as they fear they’ll have nothing to say. There are individuals who even when they are telling a boring and mundane story are able to make it funny and captivate their audience. There are also those who try too hard to be funny and this is just draining and dull.

The good news is that everyone can make it easier to talk and interact with a stranger and be a pleasant guest at a dinner party or any social gathering.

6 Ways to Start a Dinner Party Conversation

1. First things first. Introduce yourself. This is both common sense as well as good manners. It also avoids the awkwardness of waiting around for someone to make the introduction. State your name first rather than immediately asking for the person’s name as this may come across as aggressive.

2. If you are at an event organised by someone, a good starting point is always “so how do you know so and so”? If you don’t have a common contact, the best thing is to say something generic to break the ice. The good old weather topic is a good start. Or talk about the venue or the food. Maybe ask “What do you think of the venue” rather than “I hate this place”.

3. Inevitably, people end up taking about their occupation. Don’t be intimidated or put off by someone’s job. Find out what they enjoy doing outside of work. Everyone has hobbies and things they enjoy and will usually be happy to discuss them. Be enthusiastic and inquisitive as this will help build rapport.

4. Compliment someone on something they are wearing. You can say how much you like their tie, handbag, hat, pin etc. Just make sure it’s nothing too personal.

5. Talk about current events bearing in mind the old adage of steering away from religion or politics as a first approach.

6. Have some random facts up your sleeve that you can pull out to save the day. It can be anything in varying degrees of randomness, such as:

– Mosquitoes have 47 teeth.
– Asparagus makes your urine smell funny.
– It’s impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.
– “I am” is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.
– The electric chair was invented by a dentist.
– Humans and dolphins are the only species that have sex for pleasure.
– The average human eats 8 spiders in their lifetime at night.

It can be anything that you find interesting. Ideally have a variety of more serious to more outrageous facts that you can use according to your audience.

Meeting and talking to new people can be an enriching and fun experience. Relax and enjoy it.

How do you get a conversation going with a new person? Have you had any fascinating conversations with an absolute stranger?

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Written by Ana Antunes da Silva.

Image provided by Flickr user Torley.

One Response to “6 Ways to Start a Dinner Party Conversation”

  1. Lynne says:

    For those who are hesitant and shy, a very good formula for a conversation during parties. Thumbs up!

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