Conversation starters

The best way to approach a conversation with someone new is to keep it relaxed and natural, just let the conversation flow. Below are some simple ideas for conversation starters to help you get started with supporting someone if you are nervous about your first interaction. 

Getting started 

  • Tell me about yourself. 
  • What has been the highlight of your week? 
  • Tell me about your hobbies. 
  • Do you like to read/watch TV/listen to music? – What are your favourites? 
  • Have you spoken to a volunteer before? What did you enjoy talking about with them? 
  • Are you a sports fan?  
  • What do you typically like to do at this time of year? 

Getting to know someone better 

  • What have you been most proud of in your life? 
  • Who are the most important people in your life? Tell me more about them. 
  • If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why? 
  • What activities do you miss doing? (can help you to think of ways they could bring these back or try something similar). 
  • Do you enjoy learning new things?  
  • What is the biggest thing you have learned in life? 
  • Have you always lived here? Tell me about other places you have lived? 
  • What song or music makes you happy? 
  • What was the last book you read? 
  • What was your favourite thing to do when you were younger? 
  • What smell brings back great memories? 
  • What cheers you up when you feel down? 

Remember, you are trying to find out about the person so you can best support them but if conversation is stilted you can tell them about yourselves or answer the question you have asked, for example: 

You: “What do you typically like to do at this time of year?”  

Them: “I can’t think of anything.” 

You: “I really enjoy the garden in spring, seeing all the new plants come to life makes me realise winter has passed. Have you ever had a garden?”. 

Sharing something and asking a follow up question can help them to open up. Our other guides in this series can also help you to have good conversations and build understanding of the person you are supporting.