Talk to Strangers

5 Stratagies to Talk to Strangers

Since we were young we were told to never talk to strangers, fast forward to our adult life we need to talk to strangers all the time. At networking events, when starting a new job, when meeting investors at a pitch meeting, or being introduced to the in-laws. we want to be able to connect in a meaningful way with the people we meet in our everyday lives, here are a few strategies to initiate a conversation to talk to strangers. If you want to improve your communication skills then schedule you charisma coaching discovery call below:

1. Compliment & Question

If we are looking to initiate a conversation with someone then a method we can use is called “Compliment & Question”. I like this one because the title of the technique is exactly what you need to do, you need to give the person a genuine compliment and then follow up with a question, here are a few examples:

  • You have great style do you work in fashion?
  • You look athletic do you play sports?
  • I love your hair, what made you choose that color?
  • Your shoes are so trendy, do you collect sneakers?
  • You look so professional, what do you do for a living?
  • I love your confidence, who do you know at this event?
  • You loom happy to be here, what are you most looking forward to?

It’s worth pointing out that all compliments are non-flirtatious, when delivering a compliment to a stranger choose something platonic as romantic compliments can communicate the wrong message. If you are looking for compliments, and are unsure what to say, look at what they are wearing, what their body language is telling you, or what they are saying. Find the positive and what you genuinely like about this quality tell them, and follow up with a question related to that compliment. This is a great way to break the ice when you talk to strangers.

2. Become the Explorer

Talk to Strangers

When you talk to strangers for the first time, adopt the mindset of the explorer. Imagine you an explorer going on an adventure, they want to know everything about their new land, they are fascinated, they are excited and even passionate about their new discoveries. When you meet someone for the first time you want to show a genuine interest and passion to learn about them, the same way an explorer is passionate about new land.

You can do this by asking questions about the other person that gets them to open up about their passion, interests, hobbies, opinions etc. When you meet someone for the first time, they do not know anything about you, and you do not know anything about them, so the best starting point is to get them talking about themselves. Once again you have to show a genuine and authentic interest in what the person is saying.

3. Wear Something Unique

Talk to Strangers

When I was traveling with my partner I would always pack my Manchester United football top, in all honesty, she hated it! Every time we would go to the beach I would wear this Manchester United top and I could not believe the about of strangers who would approach and talk to me. They would tell me how great Manchester United were, how much they loved the shirt or rival fan would cheer that their team was better. By wearing something unique I invited other people who I had never spoken to before a positive cue that they could come up to me and they knew I was interested in football.

Now if you are in a client meeting, speaking to investors or staff 1-1s you may not be able to wear a football top, however, look are what elements of your personality you can bring into your attire. It could be a tie, funky socks, new shoes, interesting shirts, hats, coats, glasses anything that you believe could spark a conversation.

4. Cold Read

Talk to Strangers

A cold read has been used for thousands of years by magicians, fortune tellers, mentalists, and snake oil salesmen. It’s not that the technique is evil, it’s very powerful but in the wrong hands, it can be dangerous.

A cold read is when you make an assumption about someone without knowing anything about them. We cold read people every day so it is not as hard as you may think, for example:

If we say a man wearing a suit at 8:30 on a Monday morning on the metro, we can assume that he is on his way to work. We do not need to speak to him to make that assumption, we have read the situation and made an assessment of the situation.

Similarly, we could see a woman tapping her feet, looking at her watch while in line at Starbucks. We can assume she is in a rush and needs to get somewhere. We do not need to speak to her to understand the situation.

So let’s say we are at a networking event and we see someone standing by themself looking around, patiently waiting. what cold reads or assumptions can we make on this person?

  • They look alone?
  • They look professional?
  • They could be waiting for a friend.
  • They are looking to meet someone
  • They are interested in professional development
  • They like to dress sharp

All of which is true, you can use the above cold reads to spark a conversation with that person such as:

”Hey! You look alone at this event so I thought I would come over and say hi!”

“You look so professional in your suit you must be someone important”

“Are you waiting for someone? I thought I would say hi while you wait”

“It must have taken you ages to find a suit that nice What is your secret?”

You can see how a cold read can make someone feel comfortable in your presence and initiate a conversation with them.

5. Use Your Environment

when you talk to strangers remember the environment you are in is your friend, you can use any element of your environment to strike up a conversation. Some situations will be easier than others such as:

  • Networking Events
  • Conferences
  • Dinner parties
  • Office meetings

This is because the above situations have an agenda that you can use to strike a conversation up with someone such as: ”What did you think of the last speaker?”

“How do you know the host at this party?”

“Who else have you met at this event?”

If the environment is not as obvious then you will need to look out for objects, colors, sounds, smells, pictures, people anything that you can use to strike up a conversation such as:

”Do you see that painting on the wall, what do you think the artist was thinking?”

“This song reminds me of high school what about you?”

“Why do you think this waiting room is painted purple?”

Use whatever you have at your disposal to strike up a conversation.

I actually make a TikTok about all these techniques you can watch below:


How to start a conversation with a stranger. Perhaps you are meeting someone new or you’re at an event and you want to strike up a conversation. How do you start while sounding nautral? Here are a few conversation Tips to help you speak to someone new. #conversation #conversationtips #conversationstarters #communication #communicationskills #buildingrelationships

♬ original sound – artofcharisma