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To have a conversation, even with someone you’ve never met before, is not as hard after all. A deep breath, eye contact, smile and a good salutation are the most basic things needed to pull it off.
The law of reciprocity says to give what you want. So, maintain eye contact, keep smiling and be relaxed. There really isn’t a right or wrong way to smile, so relax.You will be amazed how many people smile back if you smile at them.
Making eye contact is a great way to connect to someone. They know you are interested. If you want to get to know somebody better, eye contact will always be the first step. If they are not maintaining eye contact with you, did not smile back, or did not respond to your greeting, then they may be otherwise distracted or this may not be a good time. If you will have an opportunity to talk to them again (i.e. you see them on a regular basis) then you might want to wait. Otherwise continue.
Start talking to them from a safe distance, but not so far away that they cannot hear you. As they become more comfortable, you can move closer. If they appear uncomfortable, then give them space and slow down.
Be a little creative with your salutaion, especially if you can determine with certainty his/her first language. Try to greet with that language but be careful not to make assumptions about an individual’s language based solely upon his/her appearance, since such individual could be offended if you guess incorrectly.
Tell them your name. It’s better to start with your first name and Offer your hand for an hand shake. If you offer your hand, then they will usually shake it.
Comment about something mutual: the weather, sports, work (if you work together), your location or situation (stuck in an elevator), traffic, etc. Talk about something you can both relate to is a great way to break the ice.The secret is to never get too personal or push at their comfort level. It is important when asking questions that you are not interrogating them. Most people love to talk about themselves, but if they don’t, then don’t press them.
Listen to what they say. Remember details and get a question in return. Ask more questions that show you were paying attention. Eventually they will probably ask you a question too. Don’t get too caught up talking about yourself though.
Don’t take it personally if the individual is arrogant, sarcastic, immature, or otherwise rude in his/her initial reply. This is a sign of emotional immaturity and is usually a maladaptive defense mechanism. Confident, self-actualized people will always remain polite yet assertive even when approached by someone they don’t have the least bit of interest in talking to. Simply laugh it off as if they told a joke and move on, paying them no more attention. They didn’t tell a joke, of course: they were the joke.