The first thing I've noticed is that people like to talk about themselves. So that's always a good topic to start with! In fact, for most human beings, it is probably the favorite subject. Me, my experiences, my opinions, my perspective, my hopes and dreams, my history, my plans. And to a lesser degree, my pain, my fears, etc.
The second thing I've noticed is that relationships don't generally get off the ground unless there is mutual value. That means that we both must find value in the relationship if it is to become a genuine relationship. That may sound selfish or even crass, but I'm not convinced that it is. I think it is just one of those elements of humanity that must be dealt with in reality.
So what do we do when we find ourselves needing to talk to someone we don't know? There's a simple acrostic for this. I didn't invent it and I'm not sure who did. But it goes something like this.
It is a five-point agenda for talking to someone new is found in the letters S.P.E.A.K. Here's what they mean in practical terms.