You see it pop up annoyingly in your social media feeds all this time. It reads something like this – “this girl thought she was walking past a normal old man. You won’t believe what happened next.”

It’s called “click bait”.

You go to the link attached, expecting to be amazed. The click bait has done its job, taking you to the website of the company trying to attract your attention.

It plays on our curiosity. We are intrigued.

At least that is how it once worked. I find myself actively ignoring anything that is positioning itself as click bait. Most people do now. We see through the trick and anticipate disappointment.

But that is online. In real life, we can try a similar principle to position ourselves as more enticing company. I call it “conversation bait”. And it’s not a trick nor is it disappointing. It is just a useful tactic to maximise how interesting you already are.

Imagine if at parties you were the most appealing person to have a conversation with. It’s because people knew you would ask questions that would lead to interesting discussions. Or they overheard a question you were asking someone else and wanted to get involved.

It’s a useful tactic to maximise how interesting you already are.

Asking a question like “what birthday tradition should change” makes for a question lots of people will want to answer. People will be keen to express themselves at such an irregular question after having told a dozen other people that day that their job is still the same. More will probably join in, keen to express how much they hate the birthday song or debating the need for presents. The conversation bait has done its job.

Ranking things is great conversation bait for another reason. If people disagree with you, they’ll try to argue the case for something that should take that spot.

“Usher’s song OMG is the most annoying song ever.”
“No way! I love that song.”
“Name a song worse than that.”
“How about Dancing Queen by Abba?”

It’s the seed of a friendly debate. You can see this conversation will have legs.

If you are headed to a social gathering or beginning the start of a week of interactions, think of a couple of conversation starters that you can use as bait for gripping interactions.

Awkward Silence is a terrific tool for for having that conversation bait. We send our subscribers interesting conversation starters every week. You can ask questions that aren’t cliché.

Use conversation bait and become a conversation magnet. 

Let's Talk.