Articles, Blog

7 Ways to Make a Conversation With Anyone | Malavika Varadan | TEDxBITSPilaniDubai

November 10, 2019

Translator: Hang Do
Reviewer: Queenie Lee Hello, everybody. I’m going to start with a question. How many of you know the person
sitting next to you from before today? Interesting. So, do you remember the first conversation
that you ever had with that person? You know conversations are links. Let’s imagine every conversation
to be a tiny metal link. And every time you talk to a stranger, a metal link is formed. And every conversation that you have
after that moment, the link gets stronger and stronger. And every day each one of us
meets so many strangers: the grocery guy, the cab guy maybe the receptionist
at a new office you went to. And with every conversation
we build new links. Until finally at the end, we’ve created a kind of massive
World Wide Web of conversation. World Wide Web. It’s a catchy word.
I think I’ve heard that somewhere. That’s it, right? A conversation.
It’s a fascinating thing. A conversation is an adventure. A conversation gives you
a whole new perspective. A conversation opens a door. Conversations can make war
and conversations can make peace. And conversations define
who we are as a human race. Think about this. Every single person in your life
was once a stranger to you. And you knew nothing about them
until you had that first conversation. So I’m here today to tell you
to talk to strangers, to have a conversation. And I’m here to tell you how. Seven ways that you can make
a conversation with almost anyone. I’m a radio presenter and I love talking to people. I do. I love it. And I’m so glad that I do it for a living. Here’s what my day is like. Every single morning,
I go into an empty room, I put on a mic, and I have a conversation
with 1.6 million people … that I can’t see. Yeah. You know what the hardest part is, though? It’s time. In a four-hour show, I get 20 minutes. That’s all the talk there is. And in 20 minutes I have to convince you
that I am your best friend. How do I do that? How do I establish a connection? I have 20 minutes to inform you,
to excite you, to engage with you but most importantly, 20 out of the 20 times
that I switch on that mic, I have to leave a smile on your face. Except, I can’t see you,
I know nothing about you, and I have no way
of gauging your reactions. How do you do it?
How do you talk to a stranger? Well, my nine years in radio
have taught me these simple little tricks. Strangers, they are everywhere. And we’ve always been told,
“Don’t talk to strangers!” But I beg to differ. Every stranger comes with an opportunity, an opportunity to learn something new, an opportunity to have an experience
you’ve never had or hear a story that you’ve
never heard before. And you’ve had that moment, right? You’re in the room
with someone you don’t know, and you look across the room,
you see a stranger, and you think, “I want to talk to this person.” And you can almost hear the first word
but it just won’t come out, it kind of gets stuck about here, it kind of goes up and down and you don’t know – You know what? Here’s my advice: just say it. What’s the worst that can happen? They want to talk to you.
Well, they’re not talking to you now. The first word floodgates. I truly believe that the first word
acts as a floodgate. You know, once you said the first word
everything else just flows. So keep it simple. A “Hi,” a “Hey,” a “Hello.” And do what every good bowler does. Just gather the enthusiasm,
the positivity, the energy, put on a big smile and say, “Hi!” I know. There’s going
to be that strange moment right now. Turn to someone sitting next to you,
stick your hand out and say hello. Go on. (Laughter) I love the awkward laughter. “Why is she making us do this?” The first word floodgates. You know, here’s a challenge
we face every day. Time. We have 90 seconds on radio, and we have to make that conversation
with a stranger memorable. So how do you do it? What’s the biggest challenge? Honestly, if we get stuck in the rut of: “Hi!” “Hey!” “How are you?” “I’m fine.” “What’s going on?” “Nothing much.” “Same old.” “So tell me what’s new?” There you go, 45 seconds down, wasted. Right? So, here’s my advice: skip the small talk
and ask a really personal question. And don’t be afraid. Trust me. You will be surprised how much people
are willing to share if you just ask. So ask any kind of personal question. Maybe: Interesting name. How did your parents think of it?
Is there a story behind it? Or … How long have you lived in this city? And do you remember
the first day you landed here? Answers to those questions
are always something unique, always something personal. My favorite one to try is: Where do you come from?
And where does your family live? Unfailingly, every single time
I sit in a cab, I do this. I ask that question. Where do you come from?
And where does your family live? Let me tell you a little story. I was coming home one night … I get into this taxi, open the door,
sit down and I say, “Where are you from?
Where does your family live?” And the 60-year-old Pakistani
cab-driver goes on to tell me all about his life in Peshawar. We talked about politics, we talked about music,
family, wife, his farm. And 20 minutes later he is convinced
that I am the perfect bride for his 26-year-old
college-educated son from Peshawar. (Laughter) And as I’m getting out of the taxi, he is taking out a passport-sized
photograph with this look of enthusiasm. I have to say, it was a very
difficult goodbye. But the moral of the story, really, is what starts with a “Hello”
can end with a marriage proposal. And that is a warning. (Laughter) Step three. Find the “me too”s. Have you ever met someone who starts a conversation
like they’re starting a debate? “I am from Delhi.”
“I hate Delhi.” (Laughter) Yeah? Nothing kills
a conversation like a negative. When you meet someone for the first time make an effort to find the one thing that you and that other person
might have in common. When you start at that point
and then move outward from there, you will find that all of a sudden
the conversation becomes a lot easier. And that’s because both of you suddenly
are on the same side of something. And that’s a really powerful feeling. Now, what could you possibly have
in common with a stranger you ask? Could be anything, right? You’re both in the same place
at the same time, maybe you’re from the same country, maybe you both like the winter or you’re longing for it to rain. I don’t know, you’d find something. When you find a “me too,” you automatically have a kind of
buy-in from the other person. Trust me, that’s helpful. Pay a unique compliment. I read somewhere
that people will forget what you do, and they’ll forget what you say, but they will never forget
how you made them feel. So be generous. And go out and give someone
a nice full compliment. So, I have this belief
about a “compliment immunity meter”, and it comes from this experience I had when I met this gorgeous supermodel. And I look at her and I say, “Wow! You are beautiful!” And there is no reaction on her face. And I think to myself, “How?” That’s when I realized, she is immune to the word “beautiful.” She’s probably heard it
a hundred thousand times today. And if she’s on social media, she’s heard it a million times today. There are some words that each of us
have developed an immunity to. It could be “nice,” it could be “awesome,”
it could be “cool” … Stay away from these. Try and construct a compliment
that’s unique and genuine, and you don’t have to lie. Really. When you look at someone and say, “I love how when you smile, it’s like your nose smiles,
and then your eyes smile, and your ears smile,
even your forehead smiles and suddenly, the whole person
is just smiling.” You see, I hope that’s a compliment
you’re not going to forget for a while. Pay a unique and genuine compliment. Ask for an opinion. All of us have opinions; trust me. And we all want them to be heard and everybody wants validation. So go on and ask for an opinion, and that’s when you
open up a two-way street. That is when the real communication begins, and you will be surprised
how much you can pick up about a person just by asking their opinion
on something pretty generic. Here’s a mistake that some people make. They ask your opinion
about something really difficult. It feels almost intimidating. Somewhere in a room,
full of very well-informed people, and someone was to come up to me and say, “So what do you think about the way the oil prices have affected
the real estate market in Dubai?” I feel a bit cornered. I feel like I might fail,
and this is an examination, and that’s the lesson. Nobody needs to fail
at a first-time conversation. Just ask something simple.
Keep it generic. How do you like your coffee? When did you watch your last movie?
What did you think of it? And when somebody gives you their opinion: really listen. Don’t listen to reply. Listen to listen. There’s a difference. And that brings me to my next point. Be present. I know you’ve been through this. I know I have. You’re pouring your heart out to someone, and they are like this, “Yeah, yeah, go on, keep talking. I can multitask! What’s with Wi-Fi?” (Laughter) You know, when someone’s trying
to communicate with you, the least you can do
is really be in that conversation. Just be wholeheartedly present, just be there. And – oh! – my favorite part:
make eye contact. Trust me, eye contact
is where all the magic happens. You can feel the conversation. And trust me, when you
are looking at someone in the eye, nine out of ten times,
they will not dare look away, right? (Laughter) Now, if only I could look
into the eyes of 1.6 million people, I would not have to worry about you guys
tuning out during the ad breaks. That brings me to this, my favorite point
because I think it’s got a catchy name. Name, place, animal, thing. You remember that game? Remember the little details
about a person. Remember their name.
It’s so important. It’s awful when you meet someone
for 18th time, and you say, “You must be Paul, no Peter.
Something with the P and it ends with …” It’s terrible. Remember someone’s name
and say it back to them. You have no idea how important
you’re making them feel, and that’s not the only detail. Remember all the other details as well. The places they like to go to,
the places they’ve been to, the places they want to go to,
their pet’s names. How their pet’s been feeling lately?
The things they like. Remember their children’s names,
that’s such a winner. Remember their wife’s names,
their girlfriend’s names. Just don’t mix up the last two
because that could be disastrous. (Laughter) Remember these little things about people
and repeat it back to them, ask be genuinely interested, and automatically you kind of
become an investor in their well-being, so they’ll feel responsible to you
to keep that conversation going. There we go. Seven amazing ways that you can
make conversation with anyone, and seven reasons
why you should use the break that’s going to come up to talk
to a stranger that you don’t know. I’m going to end with this analogy. A conversation is like reading a book. You can turn to any page you want. You can flip to your favorite chapter. You can read as long as you want,
and you can read what you want, and every person, trust me,
is a really good book. And it saddens me so much that entire human lives
are being boiled down to 140 characters and catchy headlines. Because that’s not what we are. We are not abridged versions. We are entire human stories. We deserve more from each other. So what are you going to do
in this big world we call the library? Are you going to walk around, look at the hard bound copies
and read the titles? Or are you going to actually
reach for a book, open a page and start reading a story? You decide. Thank you. (Applause)


  • Reply CHAMP MUNA September 27, 2019 at 3:14 pm

    The audience is such a vibe killer 😀😀😀

  • Reply Fagbamigbe Kehinde September 27, 2019 at 6:46 pm

    This is mind blowing.

  • Reply Sachin Negi September 28, 2019 at 6:52 am

    I loved the way she talked

  • Reply Noah Nye September 28, 2019 at 10:47 am

    woooo,She is the most beautiful I had seen on TED

  • Reply Hanif Afa September 28, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    Shes like, super attractive damn

  • Reply excellent believe September 30, 2019 at 3:10 am

    There's no need to talk to anyone u need to talk to ur self once u learn to love ur self and talk to ur self than everything's ease.

  • Reply guna sekhar September 30, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    She is seeing everyone with one eye masked by hair

  • Reply ajay kumar September 30, 2019 at 5:38 pm

    The last idea was really wonderfull..I am definitely going to use it

  • Reply Kevin September 30, 2019 at 11:13 pm

    She's really cute and bubbly. I usually don't like the Indian accent but she seems like fun. I hate it when people forget my name and then they reintroduce themselves to me for the fourth time. Or I'm their facebook friend and they think we haven't met before

  • Reply Khalil Bounab October 1, 2019 at 5:23 am

    Me : You eat food ?
    Girl : yes
    Me : Nice i eat food too we have commons

  • Reply food & travel October 1, 2019 at 12:39 pm

    The way you walk with the smile on your face and shining teeth is mesmerizing.

  • Reply MENTAL HEALTH FOR ALL -Dr. Shashwat Saxena October 1, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    you bored so much with your initial 4 minutes that anyone would run away…and the presumed jokes which you only understand add to your shallow laughter .nothing else

  • Reply John Roberts October 2, 2019 at 2:13 am

    "HI!" I like to skin humans. What are your hobbies? Miss? Miss?? Why are you running?….

  • Reply panji pradana October 2, 2019 at 4:13 am

    A Personal Qustions is Depends on Where you Lived,

  • Reply Frank White October 2, 2019 at 6:08 pm

    Sheesh…she is hot. Just need instructions on how to talk to her, forget everyone else.

  • Reply Joe Hernandez October 3, 2019 at 4:54 am

    She can get the D

  • Reply Bhavika Chhajed October 3, 2019 at 5:28 am

    I want to ask question 😯😯

  • Reply Raja Sanassy October 4, 2019 at 5:22 am

    You are beautiful. To start a conversation use – attention ,appreciation and affection

  • Reply angel cabrera October 4, 2019 at 1:23 pm

    She low key bad asf,

  • Reply sanjar urokov October 5, 2019 at 8:09 am

    good advice, I liked it

  • Reply yahye abdirashid October 5, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    what should is say when Indian person keep looking at me ?

  • Reply Hansen Vs Predator October 6, 2019 at 5:03 am

    Man she's so F annoying I don't think I could keep her for longer than a one night stand

  • Reply Zsk Indian October 6, 2019 at 6:21 am

    Mam your lecture was very nice but your smile sounds artificial

  • Reply piyush tripathi October 7, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    And right now you are alone here just like your studio , what kind of conversation you are doing alone ??
    Ha ha ha 😂😂😂

  • Reply will man October 7, 2019 at 5:41 pm

    Excellent ideas

    But still hesitate to talk with girls.

  • Reply will man October 7, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    Pakistani are loving and caring by nature.
    They try to feel emotion, getting positive sides and aggressive in making relation

  • Reply Felipe Wanderley October 7, 2019 at 9:22 pm

    Shes so talented and so cute

  • Reply Muhammad Idrees October 7, 2019 at 9:53 pm

    shut up!!

  • Reply Aborgin begum October 8, 2019 at 9:22 am

    Asking a personal question without knowing someone is CREEPY….

  • Reply Tolulope Ajayi October 8, 2019 at 2:09 pm

    You have a contagious personality, a very pleasant one. I am a fan already. Weldone Malavika

  • Reply Dileep singh October 9, 2019 at 12:15 pm

    I don't know wether you will get this message but I find this Soo amazing

  • Reply Mikael Simpson October 9, 2019 at 12:19 pm

    2:55 minutes in thats enough nonsense am out

  • Reply kaushal patel October 9, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    She communicates a bit different..

  • Reply rohit goswami October 10, 2019 at 4:01 am

    Too boring !!

  • Reply Vinit Kumar October 10, 2019 at 5:31 am

    Thanks team TEDx for bringing this beauty on stage. Fallen in love with her conversation.

  • Reply Sarfaraz October 10, 2019 at 1:53 pm

    A conversation is a barrier of every gate which you want to open..

  • Reply Raúl Antunez October 10, 2019 at 10:40 pm

    She is so right

  • Reply Atishay Jain October 11, 2019 at 4:54 am

    I end up being joker smiling and saying hi to stranger. (don't know why everybody was staring me)

  • Reply Emra Akg October 11, 2019 at 6:35 am

    I think conversation or flirting is like dancing.. yeah If you dancing dont think about the next move just let it flow to the rythm..m

  • Reply Shashank Sangule October 11, 2019 at 8:02 am

    She says par instead of but 😉

  • Reply Times of BE October 11, 2019 at 5:20 pm

    Lady is confusing money with meta data.

  • Reply Arya Srivastav October 12, 2019 at 7:26 am

    I am not good in talking english to someone but in hindi I am good.
    Pls advice me something for that.🙂

  • Reply Archi. ishtiaq October 13, 2019 at 6:20 am

    haha i am from peshawar too of pakistan………………Anyways It was Immense thankssss

  • Reply Kiran Shinde October 13, 2019 at 8:51 am


  • Reply Dggc Dggf October 13, 2019 at 9:28 am

    Eye contact is so heard
    It confuses me and interupts my flow of thoughts
    It makes me go crazy and pushes me towards the end of conversation as fast as possible

  • Reply Neag Catalin October 13, 2019 at 9:45 am

    Imagine to have a wife like this wonderful woman and you are like me. I am not very talkative… And i am pretty sure she want to talk a few hours with she's husband every day after they come back from work and he longs for a little peace
    after a tiring day.

  • Reply Tiago Silva October 15, 2019 at 5:20 pm


  • Reply Romesh Bhat October 15, 2019 at 7:03 pm

    Everyday we meet a new person. No mam
    Same face when I wake up
    Same grocery store guy down my building
    Same faces in my car to work
    Same receptionist
    Same colleagues
    Same manager
    So your lecture not really required.

  • Reply Football tv October 16, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    This is usefull only in a professionnel event but don't use this to approach a woman specially if you're not good looking

  • Reply Denzil King October 17, 2019 at 4:02 am

    Its seriously At peak

  • Reply Dank- Hill October 17, 2019 at 6:40 am

    Her vibe is so warm and energetic, beautiful!

  • Reply John Cronin October 18, 2019 at 3:38 am

    To much trouble, I don’t need to talk to someone that bad, sorry

  • Reply Jean-François Kener October 18, 2019 at 8:03 am

    The first point is the most important! And it's not about the word itself, which can be for sure "HI!", it's about security and good energy. I learnt that on my nights on Spain ^^

  • Reply daninath SAHA October 18, 2019 at 8:30 am

    I needed this video much.

  • Reply Mina Das October 18, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    Awww, she said it so beautifully. And the last part…reach…open…start reading. That part melt my heart.

  • Reply shariful islam October 18, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    good presentation

  • Reply Vijay Nisarta October 20, 2019 at 4:57 am

    Such a great information.

  • Reply Rahul Das October 20, 2019 at 6:11 am

    All the introvert guys here just hit the like button
    And make me proud😜😜

  • Reply strikeblade 666 October 21, 2019 at 2:01 pm

    Is she Indian????

  • Reply Raspberry Biscuit October 22, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    The video actually starts at around 3:33

  • Reply stuti swarnkar October 22, 2019 at 5:13 pm

    haha I am very happy that I can talk to anybody…Literally… ANYONE

  • Reply HEMEN BEAMLAK October 22, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    how to develop confidence in any public speaking so,please help me strongly because i'm still highly suffering i want to try speak out

  • Reply Liew w October 26, 2019 at 10:31 am

    Love her energy and this presentation :))

  • Reply Raja Ram October 26, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    She is an actor

  • Reply RxSwolldier October 26, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    she is hot

  • Reply Moo2oob October 27, 2019 at 5:26 am

    If after you say the first word, and it's going south, you can always pretend you were talking to someone on your phone. Then say "Just a sec…there's some creepy person giving me a weird look…ahhh…everywhere you go!"

  • Reply Sayedu Zzaman October 27, 2019 at 2:44 pm

    She is my girlfriend

  • Reply BOZ Gaming93 October 27, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    Shes a baddy lol

  • Reply Avnish Choudhary October 28, 2019 at 10:36 am

    Thor after seeing this girl's advice " i like this one" 😂😂😂

  • Reply ANTENEH NEGA October 28, 2019 at 11:49 am

    waw so nice looking dear

  • Reply Sonu Negi October 28, 2019 at 5:41 pm

    After watching your video, I willing to talk with strangers. And now I know it, I can learn so many things from them.

  • Reply Shah October 29, 2019 at 1:54 am

    100% of my problems is money , nothing to do with this video , but just saying .

  • Reply Alx Leon October 29, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    This talk is just about her…nothing to grab from it

  • Reply naveen joee October 29, 2019 at 3:37 pm

    Watched till world wide web👋

  • Reply John Doe October 30, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    Bull shit…….n u r full of it hoe. Lol

  • Reply crispy noodlez October 31, 2019 at 4:03 am

    I don’t like your left eye covering hair style.mulaka

  • Reply Dzedrus October 31, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    First question that comes to my introvert mind is not how to make a conversation with anyone, but what's the point? Like, ok conversation with some beatiful girl or your coworkers to establish better realtions, but what is the point to talk with e.g. some guy in the bus? I really prefer silence and only talk to someone if it has some reason to do so. Talking about weather with some stranger is worthless to me. Anyway pretty good presentation, but I think it's for shy, extravert people(yes they exist, and on the other hand i'm not shy and i'm introvert).

  • Reply AJAY dayma October 31, 2019 at 4:49 pm

    Coping This from below Comment,Posting Here for your help:
    1. First word floodgates (3:33)
    "Once you've said the first word, everything just flows."

    2. Skip the small talk. (5:20)
    Ask personal questions. Be bold, and you might be surprised how much someone might share.
    Asking about family might help elicit response.
    The lady gives a neat tip, and a neat story at (6:27)

    3. Me – too's (7:34)
    Don't start with negatives. Start the conversation on the same side.

    4. Pay a unique compliment. (8:45)
    Someone may forget what you say or how you look, but they would never forget how you made them feel.
    There are words and compliments that people are immune to.
    Avoid them and pay a genuine, unique compliment.

    5. Ask for an opinion. (10:19)
    Ask generic questions like "what's your last movie and how did you find it?" instead of "what do you think about how this affects the oil prices?"
    That is the difference between generic conversations and exam questions.
    And when someone gives you an opinion, really listen; listen to listen, don't listen to reply.

    6. Be present. (11:40)
    Don't look at your phone etc.
    Make eye contact. You literally feel the conversation.

    7. Name, place, animal, thing (12:42)
    Remember their name. It's really important. Say it back to them. Places they want to go to. Their pets names, their children's names.

  • Reply padmanabhan subramaniam November 1, 2019 at 2:12 am

    Always listen to their stories. People like to be listened .Say motivational words. All people are craving for motivational words.

  • Reply Cosmin November 1, 2019 at 7:30 am

    Hello miss, please show bobs and vegana.

  • Reply Alexander Andrade Leão November 1, 2019 at 12:39 pm

    What a cute!

  • Reply Fizz alie November 1, 2019 at 1:17 pm

    Find the me toos : don't always disagree, no negativity
    Me remembering all the times I have said I don't mostly like humans…


  • Reply Shrishti Kafola November 2, 2019 at 3:49 am

    Her voice is like that of Priyanka Chopra❤️

  • Reply Bekzhan Kabulbekov November 2, 2019 at 6:25 am

    The book can't tell you "No"

  • Reply Khalid Hasan Zibon November 2, 2019 at 11:32 am

    BORING!!! 😐

  • Reply Jim Cuddy November 3, 2019 at 12:14 am

    Did you watch the new Bollywood movie?

  • Reply rajib uddin November 3, 2019 at 5:38 pm

    Pruncation you're very good

  • Reply SGH 2018 November 3, 2019 at 8:51 pm

    it is easy for you to say Georgeous-)

  • Reply Nwachukwu Chigozie November 5, 2019 at 3:05 am

    Good tips but is it really necessary to start at first?

  • Reply Miramar Prison Garden November 5, 2019 at 10:43 am

    starts at 3:32

  • Reply Miramar Prison Garden November 5, 2019 at 10:43 am

    starts at 3.32

  • Reply And_U Experience November 5, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    great speach …thx

  • Reply Vishy November 6, 2019 at 2:21 am

    TedX devaluing their brand by allowing simplistic talks like this to be associated with them. Sure there are some useful enough thought nuggets but it’s all a bit whatever. It’s like a desperation topic for someone that wants to add “did a ted talk” on their resume, and wants to do the ted talk walking around on stage, and wear the ted talk mic, and get ted talk laughs from the crowd, and tell the crowd to do little ted talk activities, etc. Formulaic meh-ness personified

  • Reply Nico M November 6, 2019 at 5:21 am


  • Reply ChamplooMusashi November 7, 2019 at 4:29 am

    But what if you aren't introverted and just actually hate talking to boring strangers who don't want to engage in meaningful conversation

  • Reply الباش الباشا November 7, 2019 at 4:23 pm

    sent to me
    wats nu

  • Reply الباش الباشا November 7, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    any one sent to me

  • Reply Mazdy Soraya November 8, 2019 at 10:06 am

    Civilization came to the point where you need a mentor on how to talk and listen. We are not talking about rhetoric talking which is an art that few masters.

  • Reply Saurabh Gusain November 9, 2019 at 11:21 am

    Be real
    Like you are with your brother or friends

  • Reply Rosalinda Sasmita November 9, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    In college, everytime I try to find topics and finally talk to someone, they just respond me with "mm yeah" "hahaha yea" "of course yes". Dude, I'm tired to be the only excited one -_-

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