In this video, I’m going to teach you a super simple 3-step process to come up with really great conversation topics. And I’m going to actually demonstrate it with my co-founder and co-author, Will. But he’s a few hundred miles away and I’m going to port will in via his LinkedIn profile on my computer. Let’s get into it.
Blog Note: The following is an adapted and edited transcript of one of our daily YouTube tutorials. We know sometimes it is easier to scroll through written content which is why we are publishing here. Because of that, there may be typos or phrases that seem out of context. You’ll definitely be able to get the main idea. To get the full context, visit our YouTube channel here. And if you want to watch the video on this topic specifically, you can scroll down to the bottom of this post to access it as well.
The three steps in short are come up with a mental list of everything you know about that person or that topic or idea, turn each one of those things in your list into a question. And 3, circle the questions you’re actually curious about. Because the best topics of conversations are the ones that you’re invested in. The ones that you care about, that you want to follow, that you’re curious about.
Create a list of everything you know
Turn the list into questions and then circle the questions that you really love. You can do this all mentally. If you’re like really wanting to slow things down and figure that out, you can write it down and you can do this really manually. But depending on where you’re at and having conversation, this becomes something the more that you do it, the quicker that it is. If anybody talks for a minute or two minutes, you can be curious about potentially 10 to 15 things just from that content that they shared. Enough living in our heads.
Let’s dive into Will’s LinkedIn profile and actually demonstrate how this would look if I was in a conversation with Will right now. Hello and welcome to behind the scenes. This is Mr. Will Wise’s LinkedIn profile. In it, we can learn that he lives in center hall Pennsylvania, he has 710 mutual connections with me. Wow. He wrote a book called Ask Powerful Questions. You can see his number of followers. Can even see his recent activity. That’s sort of creepy on LinkedIn. His description of his current job working with me is that leaders call him when a lack of trust gets in the way of getting results. His passion is connecting people to people and people to ideas. He previously worked at an organization called race relations project that turned into an organization called world in conversation which is where I actually met Will for the first time.
Knowing he’s from center hall, I could ask what inspired you to move to center hall Pennsylvania. Knowing that we have 710 mutual connections, I could turn that into a question by saying, “Will, I’m curious. Who’s somebody that you know that I have never met?” You see how I’m genuinely curious about that question. And it’s from something that I was able to learn about him. Now, obviously, if you’re trying to connect with somebody in person, you’re not going to have their LinkedIn profile pulled up. And I wouldn’t recommend pulling it up in front of them. The reason that I’m demonstrating it here is because on a profile, you literally have somebody’s information that’s written out, spelled out right here. The thing is in a conversation, that also happens, it’s just invisible. Because when people are talking, it’s not coming out in a bulleted list like as if you’re watching a video or on somebody’s profile.
This can work digitally but it works just as well in person. It’s just a mental game that I’m making visual or visible right now. Taking that idea that leaders call Will when there’s a lack of trust that they’re trying to mend or solve, I could turn that knowledge into a question and say, “Will, I’m really curious, who is a leader that you feel like you’ve really, really helped. Do you see how that opens up this whole other conversation in that moment?”
What are the Best Conversation Topics?
If you’re trying to steer a conversation into some really interesting good topics, the best conversation topics by far are the ones that are already present that you can follow and build on, right? It’s a conversation is much better when it goes down a certain path and continues down that path as opposed to saying, “What’s your favorite color?” ,”Where are you from?”, “What do you do?” That conversation feels really disjointed and there’s lots of awkward pauses in between and there’s no smooth segue. whereas when you follow your curiosity from one point to the next it makes a massive difference in how you come up with conversation topics because you aren’t coming up with them the conversation and what that person’s sharing is coming up with them for you.
Perhaps the most important little golden nugget or gem in this entire video is that the best way to come up with great conversation topics is be willing to let go of all of the topics you came up with. If you’re somebody that it was actually helpful to write down topics that were curious about or things that you knew to actually circle what you were curious about before you went on a a date or before you had a meeting or before you were on a job interview. If that’s useful, cool. But don’t be held to any of those. The more rigid we are in conversation, the harder it is to come up with really great topics. It’s so much more interesting in conversation if you’re able to just be fluid and that’s what i think we’re all seeking when we’re in conversation is that a really natural organic good feeling conversation. This video probably gave you a couple ideas on how to make that happen.