So what to talk about? It’s a question we all ask. Unfortunately, it often pops up in situations where you need something to talk about and fast!
Memorized lines can work but much better is to improvise depending on the situation. So here’s a quick technique to help you come up with appropriate conversation questions on the fly.
Conversation questions work well when you need something to talk about quick. It’s a way to throw the ball in the other person’s court and get them talking.
Think them up quickly by using the acronym F.O.R.M. It’ll help you remember universally good topics for conversations.
F.O.R.M. stands for Family, Organizations, Recreation, Money
Here are some examples:
- So do you have any brothers or sisters?
- How’s your family doing?
- Do you have any kids?
- How does your grandfather like his new porch?
- I’ve been wanting to join a running group. Know any good ones?
- How have your Toastmasters speaking meetings been going?
- How do you spend your time when you’re not (at work, at the bar, attending conferences, etc.)?
- So how was this weekend? What did you do?
- Hey, what are some good movies out right now?
- Got any vacation plans this year?
- So what do you do for fun?
(I have to admit, this one seems weird. But think of it this way, people are usually proud/passionate about things they’ve spent money on, so they’ll probably want to talk about them…)
- I’ve been wanting to buy a new watch. Yours is nice. What kind is it?
- Wow that car is incredible! How does it handle?
- What’s that Orange Mocha Frapachino like? Is it really sweet?
Tips on using F.O.R.M. for conversation questions
Don’t play the interrogation game. Listen to their responses and comment on what they say in addition to asking questions. That way the conversation will flow more naturally. If you’re not quite sure how to do that, check out my posts on how to keep a conversation going and asking open-ended questions.
Keep in mind that these probably aren’t the very first thing you’d say. At the least, a small exchange of pleasantries would likely come first, such as, “Hey, how’s it going?” “Oh, pretty good. You?”
Small talk is a good thing; it leads to more substantial talk. The examples above are useful because they heed that rule. They can actually be used in many situations. I’ve never had much success starting conversations with stuff like, “if you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?” That kind of thing is more appropriate in later stages of talking.
The above are all just suggestions. The main point is that you use the acronym F.O.R.M as a quick guide for appropriate topics based on the situation. As always, the more you practice using this, the easier and more natural it will be.
What do you think?
What are some other conversation questions you can think of using the F.O.R.M. technique.