What You Say To Start A Conversation With A

Man Or A Woman

by Austin McGonigle

You are not going to have many dates unless you learn how to begin a conversation.  Here are some excellent was to initiate a conversation, submitted by Austin McGonigle, a professional speaker and expert on listening skills and relationship building.  He is a master at using light and funny comments to start a conversation, whether for romance and dating, or just to initiate a casual discussion. He described several situations that he has been in for

One.  McGonigle watched a woman dealing with a customer in a professional and pleasant manner.  After waiting for the customer to leave, he approached the woman, and said:  “I saw your smile and it was so pleasant that I had to come over and compliment you…” He paused for her reaction.  She was so pleased by the compliment that they struck up a conversation.

Two.  McGonigle noticed that a woman at Starbucks had spread out documents and a computer on her table.  She had turned her table into a mini-office.   McGonigle approached the woman and, with a smile said: “Excuse me, do I need to call you to set up an appointment to talk with you?”  The woman laughed and they began a conversation.

(You have to be cautious about this approach.  The woman may be on deadline, and not appreciate the interruption.  If she smiles and then looks back at her computer screen, move on.)

Three.  McGonigle uses the following question for all sorts of requests.  It is powerful as an opener for either a man or a woman: “I wonder if you might help me?  He pauses, waits for a response, which is almost always positive.  He then makes a simple request:  “May I call you to set up a time to meet for coffee or a drink?”

Four. Chance encounters.  (You have to be ready to seize opportunities, or turn chance encounters into opportunities.)

McGonigle has met women in supermarkets in the following manner.  If he notices that a woman is pushing her cart behind him, if they pass several times, or if she ends up behind him at the checkout counter, he will make eye contact, and say, “Pardon me. Are you following me?”

McGonigle says the response sometimes is “Yes,” sometimes it just causes her to laugh, sometimes it is “No…but I guess I am”  He says it can be the beginning of a conversation.

McGonigle advises that often the woman is trying to think of a way to initiate the conversation herself.   He recalls a woman at a coffee shop who asked him if she could borrow a section of the newspaper that he had read and placed on his table.

McGonigle replied with a chuckle:  “You can have anything I possess.” She smiled and moved her chair closer to his.

I once found an opportunity at an elegant restaurant to try out an opener using a compliment that was linked to a compliment.

I was seated at a table next to an extremely attractive young woman, who was having lunch with a man.  She had  an obviously expensive leather handbag slung over the back of her chair.  I could not help but overhear the conversation, which it turned out, was an interview.

When it was over, the interviewee left, and she began to gather up her belongings.  As she started to leave, I said to her:  “That’s a gorgeous bag.  (Pause) You must be a creative person.”

Her response was positive.  She smiled, thanked me, and lingered.  So I added, “What do you do?”  She replied that she owned an executive search firm.  I then introduced myself by giving my name, and told her that I was a writer.

She gave me her name.   We struck up a brief conversation, and found a common interest.  We exchanged business cards.   As it turned out, she is married, but we began a business friendship.  –Jonathan

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