Starting a Conversation: Not So Hard


®Mary Vertulfo

Another subject on request: conversations.

This is to give you a few ideas for first conversations. Remember, you don’t always have to stick out your hand and say your name and “Nice to meet you.” That is just one way to start a conversation. You can also just start talking and say your name later.

Conversation 1 – Are You New Here?

Kimberley: Excuse me, is anyone sitting here?

Jeff: No, go ahead, have a seat.

Kimberley: Thanks.

Jeff: I don’t think I’ve seen you here before. Are you new here?

Kimberley: Yes, I started working today. My name’s Kimberley Rodriguez.

Jeff: Great. Welcome to the company. I’m Jeff Scott. And this is Donna Perez.

Donna: Hi, nice to meet you, Kimberley.

Kimberley: Nice to meet you two.

Jeff: What department are you in?

Kimberley: I’m in marketing. And you?

Jeff: I’m an Operations Manager.

Donna: And I’m in sales.

Kimberley: How interesting. I’m sure we will be working together sometimes. I’m only just getting to know the company. How do you like working for the company?

Jeff: I like it. It’s a big company and my job is challenging.

Donna: I’m a bit fed up, actually. I’m looking for another job. I’ve been here five years already.

Kimberley: Oh, are you?

Tip: When you’re meeting at work, people usually say their full name (first name and family name). When you’re meeting at a party, your first name is usually enough.


Karen Montgomery

Conversation 2 – You Sound like an Old Hand

Marilyn: Hey, I saw you signing up on the list.

Kenneth: Yes, I’m looking for a tennis partner.

Marilyn: Are you? I am too. I’ve just finished my first course.

Kenneth: Really? Congratulations. And how did you like it?

Marilyn: It was cool. The coach was really patient with us.

Kenneth: So now you’re playing like a pro?

Marilyn: Hardly. But at least I can hit the ball.

Kenneth: That’s a good way to start, I guess.

Marilyn: How about you? You sound like an old hand.*

Kenneth: I’m not really. I’m getting back into the game. I had a knee operation.

Marilyn: Ooh, that sounds serious.

Kenneth: It was. But I’m all right now. Want to play a game?

Marilyn: Sure. Let’s see if we are a match.

*You can probably guess what this means: an old hand is someone with a lot of experience and who can do something well.

Note: I don’t know if you noticed, but Marilyn and Kenneth were so busy talking that they forgot to introduce themselves.

Conversation 3 – You Got Introduced to Someone at a Party

Christopher: Soran, this is Daniel. Daniel, this is Soran.

Soran: Hi, Daniel. Nice to meet you.

Daniel: Nice to meet you too.

Christopher: Daniel, Soran is a designer too. You probably have a lot in common. Oh, there is Sharon. Must say hello to her. See you guys later?

Daniel: Really, what do you design?

Soran: I design scarves.

Daniel: How interesting. Silk scarves?

Soran: No no, not silk. Those poor silk worms. I use a very soft blend of cotton and nylon.

Daniel: Cool.

Soran: And what is it you’re designing?

Daniel: I design multimedia systems for cars.

Soran: That’s really exciting. But isn’t it dangerous to watch a DVD while driving?

Daniel: You’re joking, aren’t you? You definitely shouldn’t watch a movie when you’re driving. But you can watch a movie while you’re in a break. The system I design is popular with taxi drivers. They take a rest and watch a movie or surf the internet.

Soran: Oh, I see. The taxi drivers brake so they can watch a movie.

Daniel: Well, yeah, I won’t bore you with that. There are more interesting subjects than the life of taxi drivers.

Soran: I guess there are. How do you like the party?

Daniel: It’s a little too quiet for me, but I like the food. Have you tried the yummy friend rice?

Soran: I’m on a diet, and I have only 100 calories left for today. So, the question is: fried rice or another beer?

Daniel: Oh, in that case take the beer.

Soran: I believe you’re right.

I’m not sure what you’ve just learned from these rambling dialogues, but here is a quiz!

Conversation Quiz

What would you say? Choose a suitable answer.

For the answers, have a look here.

1 Hi, is that seat free?

Please, have a seat.

No, it costs five bucks.

2 My job is in sales.

You probably make a lot of money.

How exciting!

3 I had an operation last week.

Sorry to hear it. How do you feel now?

Not to worry. You’ll be fine.

4 I need to work long hours in my job.

I once had a hard job too, and it almost killed me.

Really, what time do you get home?

5 I hope to see you in the Thursday class.

Sure, see you then.

If I don’t come, give me a call.

6 You must be really good at tennis.

Well, yes, I try to be.

I’m good at many things, such as drawing, acting, making music, and lots of other sports.

7 We should go for a drink sometime.

I feel a headache coming on.

Yes, sounds lovely.

8 I have got to run now.

See you tomorrow.

You’re too fast for me.

9 Want to play a game?

I don’t normally like games, and I’m not making an exception for you.

Why not?

10 How do you like the party?

It’s like the party I went to yesterday.

The people are nice, although I didn’t know anybody when I came in tonight, and I like the music.

You can order extra exercises here.

6 thoughts on “Starting a Conversation: Not So Hard

  1. First of all I want to say fantastic blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you do not mind.
    I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your head before writing.
    I have had a tough time clearing my mind in getting my ideas out.
    I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost just trying to figure out how
    to begin. Any suggestions or hints? Kudos!


    1. Thanks for the compliment.
      All writers need some ideas first before they start writing. I’m “lucky” because I usually have more ideas than I have time for to write. Many writers recommend not sitting at your desk and starting at the screen when you’re trying to formulate your thoughts and ideas. Take a walk or a shower, and ideas will come to you. If you still don’t have a viable idea, take a text that you admire and use the ideas that are in that text. Or make a list of favourite sentences and ideas of other people that you love and find inspiration in those. The best writers “copy” from others.


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