Go Beyond Small Talk: 24 Conversation Starters for 2024
Have you ever felt dissatisfied after some meaningless small talk about the weather? Or, in contrast, felt excited and rejuvenated after a deep conversation about the implications of a 4-day workweek?
If so, you’re not alone: a study conducted by the University of Arizona found that people who reported feelings of happiness and wellbeing in life had over twice the amount of meaningful conversations than those who didn’t. They also found that too much small talk in our lives could damage our well-being.
But how and when can we bring meaningful conversations into our own lives? “Look for common ground” to make discussing different topics easier, says Celeste Headlee in We Need To Talk. So the next time you’re chatting with a coworker, grabbing coffee with a friend, or waiting for the third person to show up in a Zoom call, look for similarities.
Reading about different topics can provide you with another method to ensure you’re never without something to talk about. The Blinkist app makes it easy to stay on top of bestselling and lesser-known nonfiction books, as well as condensed versions of your favorite podcasts.
Blinkist gathers powerful ideas and key insights from nonfiction books and shares them as 15-minute reads and listens. The app’s library features diverse content across 5,000 titles with 27 categories like psychology, philosophy, and personal development.
With these bite-sized explainers, you can learn everything you need to know about a topic in a matter of minutes and stay up to date on important issues.
To make sure you’re never stuck for what to talk about next, Blinkist has provided a list of conversation questions and matching books you can quickly listen to or read in 15 minutes.
Ready to get talking? Here are 24 conversation starters to kickstart more meaningful discussions in 2024.
Tools for the Digital Future
Cryptocurrency and Artifical Intelligence are divisive topics: you either love it, hate it, or have no idea how it works. Blinkist has a curated collection of nine books to get you firmly in one of the first two camps.
Dive into explainers of titles like Cryptoassets, Blockchain Revolution and The Age of Cryptocurrency to uncover the stories behind the headline-making technologies, the technology that underpins them all, and what the rise of crypto and AI means for the future of our lives.
Now that you’re in the know, it’s time to talk:
- Have you, or would you ever, invest in cryptocurrency?
- How have you used artificial intelligence in the past?
- Did you know cryptocurrency could bring economic freedom to developing countries?
- Do you think countries should recognize crypto as legal tender?
- How do you stay up to date on news?
- Any investing tips for me?
Entrepreneurship and Work Culture
Everyone either has a side hustle or knows someone that does. You could, of course, ask about this directly:
- Are you working on any projects outside of work?
Alternatively, you could explore Blinkist’s Guides—which are personality-driven, guided experiences through multiple books narrated by a professional and are filled with recaps, infographics, and interactive exercises.
“Build Healthy Workplaces for Success”, guided by Kim Scott & Ernest Adams, for example, covers how the world of work can be better. Take in a few episodes and then be inspired to start conversations with:
- Do you think the 4-day workweek is the future?
- Has your company embraced hybrid working? How?
- Do you have any advice for aspiring managers?
- How can our company do more to promote antiracism?
Mindfulness and Philosophy
Eastern practices like meditation and yoga have become increasingly popular in the west. There’s a good chance your conversation partner engages in one regularly, and if they don’t, they may have an interesting reason why.
Interested in how eastern practices can be used in modern life? The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin S. Sharma dives into exactly this. Blinkist’s explainer for this book covers the “Ten Rituals of Radiant Living.”
These include the ritual of solitude, or having a moment for silence in your daily routine, and the ritual of abundant knowledge, or making learning a priority throughout your life by reading or studying.
Bringing up this book with someone could easily spark discussions:
- Have you adopted any rituals in your life?
- Which have been the most transformative?
- Which new rituals would you consider adopting?
- What’s the most sacred moment of your daily routine?
And to go even deeper:
- What do you think of eastern religion coming into modern western life?
Thousands of Other Topics
Beyond these topics, you can dive into Blinkist’s library of 6,500 nonfiction books for further inspiration. And the library is always growing as the team adds 40 new books to the app each month.
Here are a few of our favorites to get you started.
- Parenting: The Nurture Assumption by Judith Rich Harris to talk intellectually about the nature versus nurture debate.
- Sleep: Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson to discuss science-backed hacks to sleeping soundly.
- Memoir: Michelle Obama’s Becoming to be in the know about the book every book club is talking about.
- History: Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens to understand the history of humankind.
- Psychology: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman for interesting science on how the brain makes decisions.
- Economics: The Economic Singularity by Calum Chace for ideas on how artificial intelligence will affect our jobs.
- Science: Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku for insights into what our lives will look like in 2100.
- Love & Relationship: The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman to learn more about your partner and how to build a lifelong relationship that can overcome the hurdles that modern couples face.
A Book Explained in 15 Minutes
People love to talk about themselves. So, the best way to start a conversation is by asking questions. But people are also tired of the overused “what do you do for a living?” opener. Instead, find out what the person is interested in and ask questions about that.
With Blinkist, you can stay informed about almost any topic to make sure you’re asking the right questions. Each explainer is only 15 minutes long, but you don’t even have to find time to sit and read them. Blinkist books are available in audio form, so you can listen while commuting, walking the dog or doing housework.
Blinkist is loved by the likes of Apple, Forbes, and The New York Times, and it’s won awards from Google and the UN. But most importantly, it’s trusted by 28 million users who use the app to expand their minds and be ready to talk about anything.
Want to have more meaningful conversations in 2024? Download Blinkist to get started.