Imagine you have just arrived at a party and the only person you know is the host. After being introduced by your friend, you are left in the middle of a group of people. The ice has not yet been broken; what do you do? Here are some tips on how to start a conversation that you might find useful.

Smile – When starting a conversation, look the other person in the eye and give him/her a genuine smile. This will make you look friendly and interesting.

Ask questions – A conversation can start with a question. Think of some interesting general topics and start to ask the other person about his/her opinions. If you cannot think of anything, why not ask some basic questions, such as ‘Where are you from?’. People like to talk about themselves, no matter what. Besides, if you find a common ground, you can just keep the conversation going with ease.

Keep conversing – Listen to what the other person says and respond in kind. You can start with just small talk. If the other person finds you and the conversation interesting, the flow will come.

Be funny – Humour is key. Appropriate jokes or funny remarks break the ice. Good-humoured people are seen as friendly and charming. However, if you are not a funny type of person, it isn’t necessary to try too hard to be funny. Bad jokes and inappropriate funny statements risk alienating people.

Be open – Be open in terms of body language, meaning that you should take care not to cross your arms or legs or fist your hands. Try to relax and let your body go with the flow of the conversation. At the same time, study the body language of the person with whom you are talking. If they seem uninterested in the conversation, try to come up with a new topic.