How to Start a Conversation When You Have Nothing to Say 0 294

  • There is nothing more awkward than an awkward silence but it's something we've all encountered at some point or other. Below are few ideas to help you strike a conversation either at work or at a social function.
  • One other:  Ideas for Building a Real Offline Networking Community
How to Start a Conversation When You Have Nothing to Say

Starting a conversation to get to know another person or breaking an awkward silence can be stressful.  Generally, introverts have difficulty conversing with other people. They are quiet and often have nothing to say. Even extroverts who enjoy socializing will eventually run out of things to say. And during these times, there is this strange awkward moment of silence.

We are somehow pressured to say something. But the pressure creates mental blocks and prevents us from choosing interesting and appropriate topics to talk about. Why does this happen? Why does it have to be so awkward? Why do I have to suffer through all these?

These things are just part of getting to know a person. We often don’t run out of things to say when we are conversing with close friends and family. But if you’re talking with someone that you’ve just met, then expect some long awkward silences during your interactions.

It’s hard to talk with a stranger since you have to establish a common ground. You might not know what interests them, what they dislike, what offends them. And because of this we often try to play it safe and say nothing at all.

How to Talk to People And Never Run Out of Things to Say

You need a few tricks up your sleeve to hold a conversation with a complete stranger. By knowing how to talk to people you can improve your social status and create the foundations of a wonderful friendship. This knowledge will also help you create a network of professional connections.

The trick to talk with people is to:

Talk to Them Normally Like You Would a Close Friend

It’s very simple but very true. Most people try to be interesting and talk about all kinds of exotic and extravagant things. They believe that they have to win people over by making jokes or by talking about interesting things.  I hate to say it, but you’re not building a connection with them this way, you’re actually building walls and keeping them away.

Talk about the weather, about the place, about current events. It doesn’t matter what you talk about. What matters is the interaction between you and the other person. People often forget the topics in their conversations but they often remember how they felt during the conversation. So just be yourself and treat them like a close friend, they’ll eventually come around.

Get to Know Them by Asking Questions

The most basic trick in holding a conversation with a stranger is by asking them about their favorite topic.  And what is everyone’s favorite topic? Simple, it’s me! Me! Me!

People like talking about themselves, it’s a topic that they’re very familiar with. When you ask people about themselves they tend to get a good impression of you since you’ve taken an interest in their lives.

That’s why if you run out of things to say, then go for the safe and sure option of asking questions about the person you’re conversing with.

Ask open-ended questions

Which one is better?

This one.

You: Hi, do you like it here?

Stranger: Yes….*awkward pause*…. Do you like it here?

You:  Yes…*awkward pause*… See ya then.

Or this one?

You: Hey! I like your shirt. Where in the world did you get such an awesome looking shirt?

Stranger: You like it? Well I was out shopping one day where I saw this …..*blah blah blah*

The second conversation is obviously the better choice. The reason is that you used an open-ended question. Questions that can be answered by a yes or a no often in awkward silence. It’s hard for the person to continue answering when it can be answered by one or two words.

What you need is to ask questions that let their mind think and allows them to continue talking without holding anything back. Ask them about their day or how they managed to do this and that. The possibilities are endless.

Talk About Food

Talking about food is a universal topic, it is extremely helpful if both of you are at a party or if both of you are having dinner somewhere.

Some people are ignorant about the latest iPhones, tablets, and gadgets. While others are experts at medicine, programming and other topics. It’s hard to find a common ground if both of you have such a gap in knowledge. However, everyone eats food and it is a topic that most of us are knowledgeable about.

You can simply comment on how delicious the food at the restaurant is or you can talk about how the food in your country is prepared. It doesn’t matter, just say something to keep the conversation going.

Rephrase what they said if you have nothing to add

Stranger:  I’ve put a lot of work making that necklace and what did she do? She sold it! That girl sold it!

You: So you’ve spent all this time and effort on the necklace and she didn’t even care?

Stranger: Yeah, and….*blah blah blah*

If you have nothing to add or aren’t knowledgeable about the topic, then you can simply rephrase their previous statement to keep the conversation going. This shows the other person that you are listening to what they’re saying as well pointing out that you are interested in the conversation.

By repeating what they’ve said you’re creating rapport and you’re making the person trust you more. This will make them happy enough to continue conversing with you and they will share more about their life.

Share Something About Yourself

It isn’t just a one-way conversation. If you’re going to keep asking about other people’s lives then you’re eventually going to have to reveal something about yourself as well.  You can try to play it mysterious by giving vague answers, but being mysterious won’t help you form meaningful connections.

You don’t need to tell them your deepest darkest secret, you just need them tell them small minute things about yourself. This may come unnatural to introverts, but if you’re going to build rapport, then you need to learn how to open up and share details of your life.

Don’t Be a Know-It-All

You know whose fun at parties? That laid back guy who knows how to have a good time.

You know who isn’t fun at parties? That obnoxious know-it-all who thinks they’re better than everyone because they’ve read an entire encyclopedia in the span of 2 hours.

Don’t be the know it all, they’re hard to converse with and some people can be turned off by that “I’m better than you because I know more” attitude. If someone makes a mistake about a certain topic, don’t brush them off and correct them harshly, be subtle in correcting them. It’s even better if you don’t correct them at all.

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How To Work Hard Without Sacrificing Your Sanity 0 284

How To Work Hard Without Sacrificing Your Sanity

Companies idealize hard work and some even promise that you get compensated well without sacrificing your sanity.  But let’s be honest here, ok.  In the modern world, we know better. Most of us know that a lot of things are fake and that it’s hard to keep it real. In short, it’s hard to be authentic.

We eat more than we need. We buy overpriced coffee because of the brand. We buy cool looking t-shirts that we hardly ever use, and we waste our time watching mindless movies. Society dictates that we must keep a certain image.

Yes, you might be following the trends, but deep inside you feel empty. Deep inside, you feel you are a fraud.

The “more is more” lifestyle

You may be familiar with the “more is more” lifestyle. The more we have the better we are.  We often apply this lifestyle to our work as well. We clock in at the earliest possible time, then we work ourselves to death until we go crazy! In fact, people who sacrifice their lives are often branded as star employees!

I’m not telling you that this lifestyle is bad. In fact, if you keep working like this, you’ll eventually earn more money than your coworkers. However, your coworkers would probably be happier and healthier than you. Is that a good tradeoff?

Well if you don’t like to live like this, then I have good news for you. You can still be a hard worker and keep your sanity. You can work hard all day and do overtime without losing sight of who you are. You can even be successful and still be a nice guy (but that’s for another article).

So what’s your point?

What I’m trying to say here is that you can enjoy work even if you’re constantly on overtime. You don’t have to be fake, you can be who you are.

Of course, you still have to do your job well and impress your boss. Here are some tips and tricks to help maintain your sanity.

  1. Learn when to say “No”

Don’t be a Yes man/ Yes woman. Your friend might ask for help on their project. You really want to help them but you’re also burdened by projects as well. Some people would sacrifice their own time and work to help a friend out. Sure, you’ll be a good friend when you help them out but you’ll probably be reprimanded for not doing your job.

If you sacrifice yourself, then you’re going to miss deadlines and produce shoddy work. You may even lose your job for it!

Don’t be a martyr. Prioritize yourself before helping others. Remember that you can’t really help people out if you can’t even help yourself.

  1. Learn when to say “Yes”

After learning when to say “No”, you have to learn when to say “Yes”. To be more precise, you should know when you should help people out.

When you lend a helping hand, you are providing value to your colleagues. People will rely on you more, and your boss might see potential in you.  If you help people regularly, then you will most likely be put in a leadership role.

That means you’ll be spending more time managing people and less time doing menial labor.

  1. Take small breaks from time to time

Yes, this might seem pretty obvious but you’ll be surprised to see that most people don’t even take breaks when they’re stressed out. This is a recipe for disaster.

If you think that you’ve had enough, then STOP. Don’t think about the consequences, don’t think about your schedule, and don’t think about getting fired. Just STOP. Let go and take a break.

Once you’ve calmed down, then get back to work. You’ll find out that you’re more productive and more likely to get the job done.

  1. Focus

One of the reasons why you’re taking too long would be because you aren’t focused enough. I often waste my time replying to useless email and surfing on the internet. I know that it’s a bad habit but sometimes it helps me think that I’m being productive.

Well, to tell you the truth, I was only using it as an excuse to slack off and not do my job.

If you want to stay as sane as possible, then you have to do your job as quickly as possible.

  1. Be active during meetings

You miss a lot when you’re not paying attention. If you fail to ask questions or be passive during meetings, then things really won’t go your way.

You can express your concerns, your opinions, and even your feelings during meetings. You might not get what you want all the time but there’s a slight chance that you might have your way.

Get out there and be active.

  1. Keep contact with your boss from time to time

Most workers fear their employer. In fact, some employees do whatever they can to avoid talking to their boss.  And when they do meet their boss, they usually nod in affirmation and agree with everything that their boss says. If you’re doing this, then let me tell you one thing. You’re making a huge mistake.

Sure, you’ll feel less awkward and less pressured but you’re also sacrificing your productivity as well. You need to meet regularly with your boss and contact them from time to time. This is very important because you’ll be more informed to get the job done.

You will finish your work faster if you ask for your boss’s opinion and advice. And you will have good relations with your boss as well. Don’t let the fear of interacting with your boss get in the way of your productivity.


Well, those are some tips and tricks to help keep your sanity during work. Going crazy is a big no-no. Sure, it may be hard to keep your sanity if you’re missing tons of deadlines but if you know how to deal with it, then you can minimize the damage.

Remember that these are just tips and tricks. The best way to keep your sanity while working is to prioritize your well-being first. Eat healthily, sleep as much as you can, and exercise regularly.

21 Helpful Productivity Apps for Entrepreneurs.

Why Authenticity is Rarely Seen in the Workplace 0 325

Why Authenticity is Rarely Seen in the Workplace

Honesty is the best policy is an old but well-known proverb. It certainly is and a lot of people believe it. People will always appreciate the honesty of another.

However, the truth is uncomfortable to talk about, especially when you’re in an office set up. Business relationships are always built in a way where you need to put on a false persona. You need to save face and most of the time you have to hide who you really are.

Many professionals have to put up with this because authenticity in the workplace is something that can’t be easily achieved. No matter what your background is, the cold and honest (ironic huh?) truth remains that you have to hide your real persona.

Being authentic at work might trigger other people. You will be the target of envy, of scorn, and you will be an outcast.

Why Authenticity is Rarely Seen in the Workplace
Why Authenticity is Rarely Seen in the Workplace

What now?

So what does freedom in work actually mean? Does it mean having a pantry filled with things that you can eat at your own leisure? Does it mean having a dress code that allows you to come into the office while your favorite hoodie and sweatpants?

This is true for some people but to many others, it means being able to bring out who they truly are without having to fear to be an outcast. It means that’s they can simply be themselves. The question now presents itself, how do we achieve this for everyone?

We are all made up of layers

In this age, if you don’t act like other people or do what other people do, then you are already a target for scorn. Your unique perspective and actions aren’t really accepted by corporations and businesses.

People who come from the LGBTQ+ community or married individuals who choose not to have children may find that even the simplest of questions could open up a hazardous path leading to awkward office conversations. These people may be forced to answer a question that they don’t want to answer.

Questions like “when do you plan on having kids?” or “are you really gay?” are inquiries that people who fall under the spectrum of being ‘different’ have to deal with every day.  And honestly, it can get very tiring after a while.

Even if you aren’t technically hiding your sexual orientation, people will always still want you to magically conform to the norms of society. They may be thinking that asking questions like this might magically make you change your mind on whatever you’ve already set your heart on. To be honest, this never works.

The Global Head of Culture & Inclusion at Twilio, LaFawn Davis says that “We are all intersectional, meaning all have layers with which we identify. There can also be negative and long-term impact on intersectional technologists from expending the energy to determine whether or not all their layers will be welcomed or excluded”

Why Authenticity is Rarely Seen in the Workplace
Why Authenticity is Rarely Seen in the Workplace

The Pressure to Cover

In day to day office conversations, a non-conforming person may find themselves straining their minds. They are always burdened because they are always trying to think of ways to communicate with other co-workers without offending any of them.

An example of this would be, someone who does not have any interest in the importance of marriage or relationships in general. This person would have to find a way to explain that they are not interested in other people without offending the inquirer. In some cases, the non-conformist will have to evade the question altogether.

In tow with evading a conversation, individuals who find themselves in this type of situation commonly resort to talking about another co-worker. Not from ill intent, but from the perspective that this would be the only way to change the topic.

Of course, this is easier said than done. For the non-conformist, it would be hardly able to shake off the innate feeling of wanting to be different. One could not simply toss aside the feeling of being authentic. But, to talk about taboo things in the office would only lead to more complications.

Research shows that the act of ‘covering’, or the act of someone downplaying their differences from the norm actually affects the workforce badly. 3000 employees in over 20 large US firms had a turnout of 61% of employees that had faced implicit pressure to cover up their true selves in some way. While 50% of employees said that the pressure had disappeared because of their commitment to the company.

However, this practice still has a negative effect on people. This practice hinders the performance of the workers, and it could drain the individual in the process. Covering is also seen as a leading cause of attrition, with over 1000 casualties in companies.

Why Authenticity is Rarely Seen in the Workplace
Why Authenticity is Rarely Seen in the Workplace

Lead with Empathy

The best solution to this persistent problem is to develop safer and friendlier environments for people who fall under the spectrum of ‘non-conforming’. Leading with empathy includes implementing inclusive values, such as respecting an individual’s preferred pronouns.

To an employee, the people with the most influence are their supervisors. Once their team managers make them feel like their needs are acknowledged and that they’ve established that they are in a safe zone, then these individuals will feel less of an outcast and less likely to leave the company. Authentic concern for employees always produces good results, whether or not they are classified into the minority.

Supervisors must also strive to lead by example. Once someone from a higher position starts setting a new norm, their subordinates will start picking up on the habit. If everyone in the company starts being their true to themselves without having to hide behind a mask, then the company can slowly become a safe and conducive environment.

Being ‘authentic’ in this world is a hard feat to accomplish, but staying open and humble in a conversation helps in trying to make authenticity become the new norm. There is no single answer to the existing problem but if leaders lead with bravery and trust, they are sure to herd the industry into the right path.

How to Create a Culture of Collaboration.

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