How Do I Continue a Stalled Conversation?

Do you ever get stuck in a conversation, not knowing what to say next? Lisa B. Marshall, aka The Public Speaker, shares lots of great tips to keep that conversation going.

Lisa B. Marshall
5-minute read
Episode #324

Conversation Continuers when Meeting New People

When getting to know someone new, more wild questions can sometimes be appropriate. For instance, a friend of mine told me that on her second date with her now-husband, he ran out of things to say, so he asked her, “So … have you ever had any interesting pets?” She said she was embarrassed for him, but fortunately she had raised baby opossums. That certainly kept the conversation going for a while! When getting to know someone new, always strive to make it fun.

Some fun get-to-know-you questions might include:

  • What did you want to be when you were a child?
  • What is the most amazing place you’ve ever traveled to?
  • What's the best meal you've ever had?
  • What would you do if you knew you only had a week to live?
  • If you could talk to anyone (from history or today) who would it be?
  • Are you more of a morning person or a night person?

Conversation Continuers for Networking

Much is said about conversation starters for networking, but little is said about conversation continuers, which are much more difficult. Once you’ve exchanged basic information, like who you both work for, what you do, and how good the hors d’oeuvres are, you need to make some deeper connection. I have found that listening carefully to your conversation partner and then moving to “so tell me,” combined with an interested and friendly demeanor, works really well:

  • So tell me more about <current project>.
  • So tell me about your role and responsibilities in <current role>.
  • I’d love to learn about your experience with <anything they mentioned>.
  • So tell me about the goals for <current project>.
  • So tell me what’s the best part/most challenging part of working on <current project>.
  • So tell me how you’re dealing with the current challenges of <insert project>.

Conversation Continuers for Business Meetings

Now that's I've given you some specific things to say, I'd also like to give you some general question techniques that work really well in continuing conversations. They can help draw out crucial information and drive a meeting forward. When properly used, they can really increase productivity and deepen relationships.

Let's look at my three favorite techniques ...


About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.

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