Simple Tips: Use Open-Ended Questions to Start Conversations

Open Ended- Questions are great conversation starters. Open ended questions are questions that will make a person tell you more about themselves or a topic. We have just had the Superbowl it is a great opportunity for you to practice using open-ended questions. Asking questions about the person’s favorite part of the game, commercial etc., is safe. For example, “What was your favorite Superbowl commercial?” “What did you think of the halftime show?” Be sure to listen, so you know if the person is not open to discussing  the Superbowl.

Open-ended questions also give you an additional time to think during the conversation, without feeling the pressure to do the talking. If at all possible stay away from closed ended questions as it is often  a conversation killer. Closed ended questions will likely get you one liner responses, which can make you feel uncomfortable. Simple questions such as the ones listed below  will you help break the ice.
• What do you do for fun?
• If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
• What is your favorite movie or book?
• What did you think about the big story in the news?
• What movies do you want to see?

People naturally like to talk about themselves, or things that they are passionate about, so try to get them to talk about their passion or interest. Safe zone topics are: sports, television shows, movies, school,  work and teachers.

staff_54_2223410517 Uduak (Udie) Osom holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology from San Jose State University. Udie has served students of all ability levels from preschool through grade 12, for over 20 years. She is very passionate about neuro-developmental disabilities and social-cognitive disabilities. She is the owner/director of Innovative Therapy Services, a pediatric speech, language and social skills clinic in Santa Clara, CA. She can be reached at

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