How to Initiate Small Talk Using the ARE Method

In this blog I will teach you how to initiate small talk with strangers using the ARE method. The easiest way to break the ice and get a conversation started is by asking questions about what they do or know, showing genuine interest in their life story, which can lead into more personal topics.

The “starting a conversation the are method” is a way to initiate small talk. It’s also called the “A-E-R Method.”

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So you know how to approach people to start a conversation and how to encourage them to approach you to talk.

But what happens after you’re “in”? How do you get started with small talk, and how do you continue the discussion from there?

Dr. Carol Fleming, a communications specialist, has devised what is perhaps the simplest and most successful way for starting small talk: a three-step procedure that progresses from Anchor, Reveal, and Encourage (“ARE”).

Let’s go down what each stage entails:


Begin a discussion by establishing a “mutual shared reality.” Your first sentence continues the initial thread of communication between you and another person, the lightest of compliments on something you’re both seeing or feeling. You may chat about what’s going on around you – the weather, the ambiance, the setting, the food, the events of the scenario — or you can congratulate the person with whom you’re conversing.

  • “Those test questions were totally different than I was anticipating,” I said as I was packing up my belongings after class.
  • “Great lift!” they exclaim as they pass each other in the weight room.
  • “Pie for a wedding dessert!” someone says as they wait in line for meals at a wedding. That’s something I’ve never seen before, but it’s fantastic.”

Don’t get caught up in the idea that such remarks are too shallow, and look for something actually brilliant to say in vain. Such interactions are referred to as “pleasant sounds” by Fleming, and you both know they’re not significant, but rather a gentle and courteous approach to transition into a “genuine” discussion.


Next, say something about yourself that has anything to do with the anchor you just dropped:

  • “This semester, I chose to study for the first time, but I think I studied the wrong stuff!”
  • “On the deadlift, I’d want to be able to pull that much weight.”
  • “I’ve never been a huge lover of wedding cake in the first place.”

We stretch a few more threads of connection and trust to the other person by opening up a bit more, while also giving them with material to reply to.


Now you ask a question to give the ball on to them:

  • “Did the exam astound you as well?”
  • “Are you following a set of instructions?”
  • “Are you a [wedding cake fan]?”

Keep the conversation going.

You’ll have successfully exchanged a few niceties by adopting the efficient ARE approach, but these delicate threads of small conversation may still easily crumble and blow away at this point.

So you’re going to weave those thin strands into a stronger rope. You do this by making follow-up comments and asking follow-up questions in order to elicit responses that will help to continue the conversation. Giving a remark requires more expertise since you must create one that will extend the conversation. If they answer to your statement with a chuckle or an uh-huh, you should have a back-up question ready.


Let’s look at how our three hypothetical discussions may go:

“Those test questions were very different from what I was anticipating,” you say. This semester, I opted to study for the first time, and I think I studied the wrong stuff! “Did the exam astound you as well?”

“Indeed,” says the other. There wasn’t a single question regarding the Civil War era since I spent all of my research on it!”

“I guess I’ll need to take advantage of the extra credit chance by visiting one of the local museums,” you say. Do you have any suggestions for the greatest one?”

“Wow, that’s a great lift – I’d want to be able to deadlift that much weight.” “Are you following a set of instructions?”

“Have you heard of Starting Strength?” says the other.

“No, I haven’t,” you say. Is it something that even the most inexperienced person can do?”

“Pie for a wedding dessert!” you say. That’s something I’ve never seen before, but it’s fantastic. I’ve never been a great lover of wedding cake in the first place. “Are you there?”

“Nah, it’s usually dry,” says the other person.

You: “Exactly! I once attended a wedding where the only food served was a large table of cookies and large glasses of milk, and I thought it was a terrific idea as well.”

“That would be fantastic,” says the other person.

“How did you find out about the happy couple?” you may wonder.

Whether you respond with a remark or a question, be sure to alternate between the two and establish a balance: too many questions shot one after the other will make the discussion seem like an interrogation, and too many of your own comments will prevent the other person from speaking. That’s not good, since it’s your interest in what they have to say that makes people like you.

As a result, weight the scales in favor of inquiries, particularly open-ended ones. What is the difference between open and closed questions? That’s what we’ll talk about the next time.



Watch This Video-

The “how to make small talk with a girl” is a process that can be used to initiate conversation. The ARE method stands for:
A-Ask questions about the person’s background and interests
R-Respond to their answers
E-Express your thoughts on what they said
The article also has information on how to use the technique in different situations, such as at work or school.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you initiate small talk?

A: Small talk is a social lubricant that helps us make nice with strangers. Its easy to do something small like ask How are you today? and then follow it up by asking them their name or where they work, meaning youve already started off on the right foot!

What is the easiest way to make small talk 5?

A: 5 is a natural number.

Which instructions are to be followed while making small talk?

A: Small talk is a conversation between two people. The rules for small talk are relatively flexible and can vary depending on the situation, but there are some general guidelines that you should keep in mind when talking to others. They include avoiding any type of negative topic or behavior, being open to hearing what someone has to say, not interrupting someone elses turn at presenting their opinion or idea, and giving your opinion honestly without reservation.

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