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  • Tracy Hooper

How to Start a Conversation in 2023

How do you start a conversation, especially with someone you're meeting for the first time? A few weeks ago, I met with a gentleman for coffee. We’d been virtually introduced by Milt, who’s a friend of his and a client of Mine. Milt told me, “Tracy, Bob is a great guy. He's smart, personable, curious, and always open to new ideas and people.” Milt was right. Bob and I connected right away. And talked for almost two hours! That night, my husband, Henry asked me, “So how'd you start the conversation with Bob?” I gave him a compliment! I said, “Bob, I couldn't wait to meet you. Milt said you’re smart and curious and always open to new ideas. So, tell me about you." Who wouldn’t that opening line? That’s all it took. We were off and running! Offering a compliment is a great way to start a conversation. "Congratulations on your company winning Best Place to Work in the state." "I heard you on the panel today and I appreciated your bold comments." Or,

"Milt says you're a great guy. I couldn't wait to meet you!" A friend of mine who has had a brilliant corporate career says, he never compliments people on what they look like or what they're wearing. It's never: “Great haircut or nice sweater.” Instead, he compliments them on an accomplishment or a trait he admires. Congratulations on making the President's Circle or on landing that client or for winning that case. I noticed how patient you were when you answered that complicated question. Of course, your compliment has to be genuine...and it doesn't have to be big. Offer praise, make it real and get the conversation started! Thanks for reading.

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