Conversation Do’s and Don’ts

Have you ever been in a situation, where you are in a room full of people that you don’t know, and you need to spark up a conversation quickly, but you do not even know where to start.

To help you out, we at OPSA have come up with some small but important rules that will guide you through ANY conversation you might find yourself in.  Don’t forget about your 30-second introduction and remember about how your are presenting yourself in the conversation.



  • Stick with topics that are appropriate for the situation. If you attend a social event, keep the business talk to a minimum.  Otherwise, you will look needy and will scare off networking prospects.
  • Keep business conversations professional and topical.
  • Read newspapers, news magazines and trade publications to keep up-to-date on current events and industry news. Pepper your conversation with interesting facts, figures and new nuggets.
  • Ask open-ended questions to get the other person talking (not questions that will require only a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer). Indicate your interest with eye contact, body language and follow-up questions.


  • Flirt, curse, repeat off-colour jokes, gossip, brag or use turn-off language that will paint a negative picture of you and send the listener running.
  • Monopolise the conversation or interrupt other speakers.
  • Look around the room when you should be listening to and making eye contact with the speaker.
  • Ask personal questions or comment on potentially embarrassing matters (a divorce, the loss of a job, a lawsuit)
  • Continue a conversation with an individual who indicates no interest in you or in whom you have no networking interest. Excuse yourself politely and move on.

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