6 Expert Online Conversation Starters
EliteSingles sat down with international relationship expert Sami Wunder to get her top tips for composing attention-grabbing, connection-inducing first messages that can get things moving forward. She shared her top 6 tips for influential online conversation starters
Online Conversation Starters: top tips for connection & communication
Tip #1. Only initiate conversations with people you are genuinely interested in meeting
No matter how good your online conversation starters might be, it’s easy to spot when someone sends the same general message to everybody fishing for a reply, any reply. Instead, be selective and invest your energy only in those matches that appeal to you (quality over quantity). Don't think of yourself as overly picky or a fault-finder if you don't message everyone because it is important to be smartly selective. You will be successful if you always keep a balance and stay open with all possible matches.
Tip #2. Take the time to look at the person’s profile by reading their story in detail and see what you can find interesting in their photos.
Try to ascertain if there is something the two of you share - a hobby, a love for dogs, a place you have both visited in the past. If yes, this can be one of the best online conversation starters because it shows you made the effort to review their profile and are able to point out a shared likeness. However, if there is nothing in common that you can immediately talk about, go the opposite way and ask about something in their story, profile, or pictures that is completely foreign to you or something that you find intriguing or you would like to try.
On a related note, when writing your own profile, make sure to include such possible online conversation starters in there, to make it easier for people reading your profile to connect with you. Include your passions, be as specific as you can and paint a vivid picture of your life, rather than just listing likes and dislikes.
Tip #3. Use the information you picked in the previous step and compose a personal message in which the person you are sending can relate to.
It is a good idea to start with the person's name or username, to make it evident from the first look that this is not a copy/pasted mass message. Keep it short, but long enough to be meaningful. End your message with a question or hook, to give your potential date an opportunity to reply. This not only keeps the conversation going, but it might also lead them to reveal more about themselves. For example, let's say Donna or Don has a well-written profile that includes the following:
"I've been told I'm an art snob, and I'm not afraid to admit it. You might find me strolling through the MoMA on a Saturday evening, or exploring some indie new gallery somewhere in Brooklyn."
If you're an equally artsy person, you might write a first message along the lines of:
"Hi Donna or Don, nice to meet a fellow art snob! :) Though I admit I haven't been to MoMA in years - have you seen any great temporary exhibitions lately?"
On the other hand, if you're not an artsy person, but you still want to connect with her/him, you could start with:
"Hi there Donna or Don! I loved your profile, and I'm intrigued by your passion for art. As someone who never quite "got it", I have to ask a genuine question: What does going to galleries provide for you? I'd love to understand more!"
Tip #4. Remember to talk and act like the educated, successful, elite person you are.
Because it’s online communication, casual lingo tends to take over. When this happens, too many amazing people inadvertently end up sounding like frat boys and girls or like desperate pick-up artists reciting stale clichés. Having a more formal tone is the way to go. In a first message, never write just "hi", "hey" or "hru" as it most probably will NOT catch the attention of that special single!
It shows laziness and it throws the onus of finding something interesting to talk about on the addressee - and if that person is in high demand and receives many messages every single day, the probability of them even replying to your single-word message becomes very low. Needless to say, vulgarities, innuendo, or sexual compliments should not be included in a very first message.
Tip #5. Always remember to check grammar, spelling and punctuation.
This is important because when you don’t you will be risking non-replies because a poor grammatical message often reads as careless and low value and here’s how we know. A study conducted by Kibin claims that 43% of respondents are turned off by bad grammar, while 35% consider proper grammar to be sexy! Interestingly, women seemed to display stronger feelings about grammar than men - so it pays to double-check that message, gentlemen!
Even more interestingly, revenues also appear to play a part in how important a well-written, grammatically-correct, properly-punctuated message (or a profile) is: In this study, respondents earning over 100K/year cared 10% more about this, compared to respondents earning less. While this may be considered a small thing, don't let it compromise your chances of attracting a partner as "elite" as you are!
Tip #6. Women, too, should absolutely start conversations online.
I am a proponent of polarity in romantic relationships, but, online dating is the place where I do teach women to make the first step and initiate a conversation with men! The reason for this is simple: in general, men receive far fewer messages than women do, so making the first step is a sure way to stand out. Secondly, the fact that you sent that first message does not mean you have to assume the leading role going forward. On the contrary, it can be the virtual equivalent of making eye contact and smiling at a stranger in a crowded room - an invitation to come closer and find out more about you.