Talk to the Stranger You’ve Been Told Not To!

In English Tips + Tricks, Influencers by Farheen Raaj

“That’s a beautiful name. What does it mean?”

“What was the last film you saw?”

“Do you like coffee or tea?”

When was the last time you asked someone a basic question like this? When was the last time you answered a question like this? All our lives, we have been told to avoid talking to strangers. We avoid small talk, we don’t know how to talk to new people around us. This is a huge drawback, especially when our work requires us to interact with strangers, or we are in a social situation with people we don’t know.

The LearnEd team believes that communication can only be enhanced through consistent practice. To further that, we bring you an engaging TED Talk by famed RJ Malavika Varadan.

In this short video, she opens up a treasure trove of handy tricks to use to make conversation enriching and easy. Avoiding generic small talk is one of her major suggestions. We often stray towards baseless topics such as general compliments or talk about the weather. Malavika suggests flipping that and asking questions about the other person instead. This will make the other person open up, and will help you understand them better by listening to them attentively.

Another idea she presents is to discuss their opinion on a basic issue, something as simple as how they like their coffee. This will allow you to find more common ground and lead to more conversation.

Skilful listening and speaking is no magic trick. It requires a little patience, attention and some sensitivity. Couple these with the principles of effective communication from LearnEd’s communication courses, and you will be a whiz at this in no time at all!