Is the title, ‘How to ask a Question that Might Begin a Conversation’ a bit fussy? Ok, perhaps a little. I used to claim that I could help you ‘begin a conversation’ with someone. Now I have realised that this is an impossible claim. The only thing that you have control over is whether or not you ask a question. You have no control over whether that person wants to have a conversation. So, that is what I will help you with, knowing how to ask that question.
The first aspect of knowing what is ask, is realising that this is a skill. Because it’s a skill, it means that the more you practice, the easier it will become. If, currently, this idea makes you feel awkward, chances are you rarely make yourself do it, thus fulfilling your idea that it’s hard.
Most people say that once they are in the conversation they are ok, but the ‘starting it’ bit is difficult. So how do you ask a conversation in way that won’t make you look/feel foolish? The key is to ask a question in the context of where you both are.
If you are in the supermarket, you could say, ‘Do you know anything about this brand?’
If you are at the bus stop, you could say, ‘Has the 31 bus come by recently?’
If you are at the gym, you could say, ‘Could you please show me how to use this machine?’
If you are at the bookshop, you could say, ‘Are you familiar with this author?’
If you are at the gallery, you could say, ‘What do you think of this painting?’
Before you make any judgements about the person in front of you, her or his attractiveness, or anything that s/he might be thinking, just ask them one question. Then, let them respond however they want. Their response has everything to do with who they are (their mood at that moment, personality, and if they are in a hurry or not) and not much to do with you. Asking a stranger a question is definitely not the time to test out if people think you’re fabulous. You have already done the work, away from these scenarios, and know you are fabulous. You don’t leave it in the hands of strangers to deem you worthy!
So, go on. Start trying it out. What is the worse that could happen?