Since COVID-19 it’s likely your chamber has turned to virtual meetings of some kind. You’ve got the technology down but what about the conversation starters?
We’ve got a list of 100 most excellent conversation starters for you. While these are excellent ways to stay in touch with your members, they also can be awkward if there’s too much structure or you don’t have the right mix of personalities and people who are willing to share.
However, even someone who is reticent to join in the conversation will respond when the question is right. Here’s a list of top conversation starters for your next virtual meeting or get together.
Getting Great Engagement
Before we dive into these conversation starters, it’s important to take a moment to think about how you will organize your virtual meeting. Unless your group is very small, you need some sort of emcee or host who will enforce the order of things in the virtual meeting. Otherwise, it’s likely only the loudest and most excited voices will be heard. You need to be able to balance out the interaction. Unfortunately, that may mean limiting discussions between people and focusing on more of a panel discussion atmosphere.
What works best for your group will depend on the personalities and the number of people involved. If you have a very small group joining you on the meeting you can encourage interaction with these conversation starters asked between the participants. But if you have more than seven people, this will get unwieldy and noisy. Make expectations known ahead of the call and reiterate them when everyone joins.
If you notice that your audience is interested in smaller group chats and there’s a lot of desire for interaction between participants, you may want to think about organizing smaller, more directed conversations in other virtual meetings.
That type of intimate exchange can provide a very different experience. Some people who may not be interested in your virtual happy hours may be very excited about a much smaller, more targeted conversation between similar industry professionals.
A lot of what we’re doing these days is trial and error and seeing what works best for your audience. Virtual meetings are no different.
100 Conversation Starters for Virtual Meetings
No matter what your goal is for your virtual meeting you won’t be able to accomplish it if people aren’t interacting with you and sharing with others. In order to prime the exchange most virtual meeting hosts will tell you that you need to set the expectation for exchange early on. The easiest way to do that is through the use of conversation starters.
Conversation starters are questions that appeal to the majority of people regardless of their demographic. They are easy to answer. They’re the topics you’re likely using on social media to increase engagement.
Here is a list of 100 of our favorite conversation starters and questions:
- Tell us something no one else on this call knows about you. -Judy Doherty at the Greater BucksMont Chamber of Commerce)
- Ask people to find a penny. Then ask them to read the year and tell you what they were doing that year or a highlight from it. -Amy Napoli
- Finish the quote: “Never have I ever…” – Nancy Vanyek
- Tell us what you wanted to be when you grew up and why. -Jeanette Campagna
- If you weren’t in your current job, what would you want to do? – Terri Hayes
- Invite participants to join the meeting with their favorite sandwich cookie and beverage or ask them to share how they eat an Oreo. It says a lot about their personality. -Samantha Crouch
- Favorite summertime activity.
- Favorite Italian dish.
- Best thing you’ve ever made. (Use the word “made” because it leaves it open to interpretation such as recipes, crafts, etc.)
- Have you ever met a celebrity? If so, who?
- Who do people tell you that you look like?
- Childhood dream car versus your actual first car.
- Best concert ever.
- Concert you wish you had attended.
- First concert you ever saw.
- Random piece of trivia that will surprise everyone.
- Favorite movie soundtrack.
- Favorite 80s/90s/00s/etc movie.
- The movie that’s most like your life.
- Do you have a bucket list? Have you checked any of it off?
- Sunrise or sunsets? Last time you saw one.
- Most overrated city you’ve been to.
- Best/worst job you’ve ever had. How long did you stay?
- First job.
- Favorite dessert. When did you last indulge?
- Favorite food to make/signature dish.
- Favorite beach.
- Beach or mountains?
- Favorite article of clothing and why.
- Best gift ever.
- Favorite boy band. (This can be funny for those of us who don’t have one and scramble to make one up.)
- Movie that had the biggest impression on you as a child, in your professional life, in romance, etc.
- Favorite fairy tale.
- Favorite saying.
- Best advice a parent or grandparent gave you.
- Worst advice you ever received.
- Invite people to tell you something about an item within arm’s reach.
- Ask each person a question about what you see in the background.
- Favorite beverage.
- Favorite comedian.
- Most overrated actor or actress.
- Movie you hated that everyone else loved.
- Food you hate that everyone else loves.
- Worst food you’ve ever eaten.
- Name a quality you wish you had more of.
- Favorite holiday.
- Thing you love most about your favorite person in the world.
- Person who had the greatest contribution in making you who you are today.
- If money, energy, and time were no object what would you do or what skill would you learn?
- Advice to this year’s graduating class.
- Favorite store at the mall when you were a teen.
- Something you thought you’d hate but were pleasantly surprised.
- Fill in the blank: “You can never have too much _____.”
- Fill in the blank: “If I never do _____ again, it will be too soon.”
- Thing most worth waiting for.
- What do you regret most professionally?
- Favorite business (outside of your own).
- If you had picked out your own name, what would you have chosen?
- If someone wrote a book about your life, what would it be called?
- If you could cast the main role in a movie based on your life, who would play you?
- Most embarrassing moment.
- Did you enjoy high school?
- Favorite subject in school.
- Name a hobby you’d like to take up.
- What’s the one word your best friend would use to describe you?
- If you were a drink, what drink would you be and why?
- Favorite season in our town. Why?
- What silly thing were you most afraid of as a child?
- What’s your favorite social media platform and why?
- Fill in the blank: “I knew I had made it when ______.”
- Favorite pastry flavor.
- Favorite album/band/singer.
- First thing you notice about someone.
- What’s the one thing that helps you trust someone?
- Would you get a tattoo (or have you)? If so, what would it be/is it?
- Would you agree to getting a tattoo of a brand? If so, what brand and how much would the company have to pay you for it to be in a conspicuous place for everyone to see it?
- Name the reality TV show based on your life.
- Laws and feeding costs aside, if you could own any kind of animal what would it be?
- What’s the most frightening thing you have ever done?
- If you could rename your hometown based on your favorite childhood activity, what would it be called?
- Best purchase ever.
- Worst purchase ever.
- Who do you most want to meet from a professional standpoint?
- What do you think the world needs most? Doesn’t have to be serious.
- What do you think our town needs most?
- What business do you miss the most?
- If you could select a professional mentor from history, who would it be and why?
- Favorite time period or time period you wished you had lived in.
- The one thing people say you are really good at but you’re not sure.
- Beatles or Rolling Stones?
- Favorite local beer.
- Favorite Billy Joel song.
- Normal bedtime for you.
- Morning person or night owl?
- Do you need quiet or noise to work?
- Do you like working from home?
- Favorite form of exercise.
- Favorite smell.
- If you could have a conversation with a celebrity (past or present) who would it be and why? -Jeanette Campagna
- What’s your dream vacation/bucket list destination.
When you’re trying to decide which questions to use to stimulate conversation, remember you want to choose things that everyone can answer and would be willing to answer.
Yes and no questions and this or that questions (although we have a few on this list) are excellent for social media but for virtual meetings you want to go a step further.
When you have 20+ people on a call, one-word answers can become quite boring. Instead, add “why” to the question with these conversation starters and you’ll create opportunities for more meaningful engagement.