I have to admit that I’m not that great with conversations. I get nervous because I don’t know what to say let alone keeping the conversation going long enough.

But the interesting thing about conversations is that they’re kind of like our affiliate work in the sense that you can run A/B tests with individuals until you’ve come up with a routine that allows you to socialize without much trouble.

You may “strike out” with some individuals when talking with them but what you’ll learn is what not really to bring up the next time around. This article is that culmination of those conversational topics that seem to go over well and gets the talking going.

Once you get people hooked into the conversation they’re way more likely to listen. Once they’re listening they’ll probably entertain the idea of looking into what you have to offer.

Here are some icebreakers to get the conversation going:

  • What got you started in X industry? You can use this question as a launching point to really get to know the person and not just the business. It will let you get a glimpse of their mindset and drive. You’ll also learn of the troubles they had to overcome to get where they’re at today. By identifying and bantering about these early days you can keep the conversation very casual and by the time you begin talking about the real business stuff they will feel relaxed and more open to telling you important, juicy information.
  • What’s your end goal? Everyone has an idea of what they want to do once they reach a certain level of success. This type of topic always gets people excited because they want to share their dreams and aspirations. The conversation can also bring up the possibility of working with the individual in accomplishing their goal. You could use it as a launching point to offer up your services, advice, or labor.
  • What was the most exciting event at work? There are plenty of ups and downs business people will experience at their work. This makes for a great conversation starter because if the event was truly exciting you can bet they’re willing to share the experience. Even if it was a downer it’s still something interesting enough to hold a conversation. This type of question puts them on the podium which will make them feel important and at the center of attention. Give them this feeling and you’ll have no problem keeping the conversation going for as long as you want.

What I would say is to take your knowledge of using emotional response in ad copy and apply it to those conversations you’re having with other business-types. People can talk about the technical aspects but if you want them to really share their insights and secrets than you want to get them emotionally invested in the conversation.

And like I said in the beginning: do a simple A/B test. Try out one type of banter with an individual and then do the same (with a tweak) to someone else. Eventually you’ll come up with a handful of icebreakers that can get the conversation started and running with ease.