Conversation starters are a great way to begin a meeting or party. How many times have you awkwardly sat in silence next to someone you barely know, wishing you had something to talk about? With conversation starters, you can take some of the uncertainty out of a meeting by generating discussion right off the bat.
Sure, many conversation starters can be corny. But what breaks the ice better than laughing with your tablemate? Whether you learn what superpower they’ve always dreamed of having or what food they couldn’t live without, it’s a lot easier to talk to someone once you’ve learned a little about them.
Conversation starters can be used in many different situations to help break the ice or as a fun game in the middle of an event. Here are ten ways to use conversation cards.
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Work Meetings or Trainings
Meetings and trainings are some of the most common situations where conversation starters are used. If you’re leading a meeting with a cross-functional team or a training where all the participants may not know each other, conversation starters can be a great way to get everyone comfortable quickly.
They can also be used for everyday meetings with your team. Even though I’ve known my coworkers for years, I certainly don’t know if they’d rather only eat with a fork or with a spoon for the rest of their life! These either-or questions can be a fun way to start an otherwise boring meeting.
When using conversation starters for a meeting, make sure you prepare the cards ahead of time. Put one at each person’s spot at the table. Then, depending on the size of the group, either have each person read their card and go around the room answering, or break out into smaller groups to ask the questions. It can be fun to hear everyone’s different answers, so make sure each person gets a chance to respond to multiple questions.
While they work well for smaller work events, conversation starters can also be a great icebreaker at large conferences. Conferences can be awkward even for extroverts, because the sheer number of people can make it difficult to connect directly with others.
Help people feel comfortable with each other by placing a card at each seat. If the room is set up with tables, direct attendees to go around the table and ask and answer each question. If the room is set up in rows of seats, ask attendees to turn and ask their direct neighbors to their left and right.
For extra fun, have attendees keep their cards with them throughout the conference. Direct them to start every conversation with a new person they meet by asking their question. Bonus points if you find someone with the same card.
Conversation starters also work as great icebreakers in the classroom. Whether it’s the first day of school or you’re just looking for a class activity, help your students learn more about each other with conversation cards!
Depending on the age and reading ability of your class, you can either pass out cards to the students to read, or read them yourself as the teacher. Choose five questions and ask every student to answer, or break into smaller groups to ask more questions.
Conversation starters made specifically for kids can also be a great way to help students improve their speaking and listening skills. They work well as prompts for public speaking classes for students of any age.
Pair younger students off and have them ask each other several questions. This can help students learn to listen intentionally. It can also help young kids develop their speaking skills.
If you teach an ESL or foreign language class, conversation cards can also be a fun classroom activity to help students expand their vocabulary and get speaking practice.
Use conversation starters as table topics for your next dinner party! If you have different friend groups who don’t know each other, they can be a great way to get everyone familiar with each other quickly.
If you’ve all been friends for years, learn more about each other with fun questions you’ve almost certainly never asked before. “Would You Rather” questions can brighten up any party, as you make your friends decide between tough choices like if they’d rather be constantly tired or constantly hungry. You might learn your friends have some interesting priorities!
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. But depending on your guests, it can be a tricky holiday to navigate. Avoid political or negative conversations with pre-planned topics! Place a card at each attendee’s seat and use them to generate conversation whenever there’s a lull in talking or to change the subject if the discussion starts to get contentious.
Bonus: If you put a lot of effort into your Thanksgiving table settings, cards designed specifically for the holiday can make a great addition to your table.
Whether you’re hosting your Christmas party in-person or virtually, Christmas conversation starters can help get the party started! Learn what everyone’s favorite Christmas song is, or start a heated discussion when you learn one attendee doesn’t take their tree down until March.
I’ve discovered that people have VERY strong opinions on their favorite Christmas movies or Christmas drinks. So the biggest problem with your Christmas conversation starters might be getting everyone to stop talking about them!
Conversation cards can also be used on Christmas Day! Put them in your kids’ stockings as a fun activity for Christmas morning. Or use them as gift tags on presents and ask your kids to answer the question before they unwrap their gifts. These twists can add a little excitement to your Christmas morning and create memories that will last a lifetime.
You can also use the cards in the lead up to Christmas Day as an addition to your normal Advent Calendar. Before opening the day’s door, ask your child one of the Christmas-themed questions. Or bring them along with you on your roadtrip to Grandma’s house for the holiday. Have your kids ask each other questions during the drive!
Use our virtual Christmas Conversation Starter game for endless Christmas fun! Play the game as an icebreaker at your virtual holiday party, or video call your family members anytime during the season and play to get in the holiday spirit. Cast the game on your tv for a fun after-dinner game with your kids, or play on Christmas Eve while you’re sitting in front of the Yule log. This is a great alternative to physical cards if you don’t have a printer or if you want to play with coworkers, friends, or family who can’t be with you in person.
Conversation starters make a great addition to your wedding table settings. Guests may not know everyone at their table, so cards can help make everyone comfortable with each other at the beginning of the night. Use table topics or “Would You Rather” cards to generate conversation all night long.
Conversation starters are also a great addition to your virtual happy hour or party. Simply send individual cards or sheets of cards to participants ahead of time. Or, designate one person to be in charge of the conversation, and have that person read the questions to the group. Use the questions as icebreakers at the start of the party or sprinkle questions throughout whenever there’s a lull in conversation. If you’re using a video platform that has polls, “Would You Rather” questions make great poll questions, as well!
For an even easier way to integrate conversation starters into your virtual party, you can use a digital conversation starter game designed for that exact purpose. Our Virtual Would You Rather Game is perfect for any Zoom Happy Hour or party. It works well as either an icebreaker or a full-fledged party game. It’s appropriate for work or family gatherings, but fun enough to play with your friends!
Use Conversation Starters Whenever You Need an Icebreaker
Conversation starters are super flexible. You can use them for pretty much any class, meeting, party, or event. They make great icebreakers that can be used for an entire week of trainings, or can be used simply to fill extra time in an agenda. Can you think of any other uses for conversation cards that we haven’t listed already?