Q&A: What Is Your Favourite Ice Breaker To Get a Conversation Started?

A great tool for sidestepping small-talk. #MayIWrite — Day 19

Questions for Q&A can be submitted via twitter, facebook or via my website.

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The question that has become my absolute go-to (and which has sparked some of the best conversations I’ve had with strangers and friends alike) is “What are you passionate about?”

Sidestepping queries that ask specifically what people do for work is very useful in starting real conversations rather than getting trapped in the land of small talk. It may well be that the person’s response will be directly about their profession, and it’s a lucky person who can truly say they feel passionate about what they do for work, but the root is the passion.

This is also a great tool for getting past the subtle social pissing contests we’re all trained to engage in. Whether our usual canned responses are rooted in certain expectations around performing masculinity or adhering to any other group- or role-based expectations, talking about our passions is completely unique to us. It’s a very personal question, and in the best way. It cuts right to the chase in trying to learn about the most alive parts of another person, and it usually feels good to be asked!

When we talk about our passions, we light up. It is one of my favourite things, to experience someone as they share that with me. Give it a try!

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