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The Art of Witty Repartee

"It was impossible to get a conversation going; everybody was talking too much."
— Yogi Berra

There's something about the atmosphere of a bar or restaurant that makes us all want to hold forth like master debaters. Talk sizzles up and down the room when everyone wants to weigh in.

Hot topics
As a party host, it's good to know which subjects make for pleasant table talk, and which ones you should help your guests avoid. Movies, books, travel, sports, current events and celebrity gossip — all these are good topics because they tend to keep the conversation light and fun.

Conversation starters
Movies, books and TV
Celebrities and fashion
Favorite foods and wines
Travel and hobbies

Conversation stoppers
Politics (unless your guests all share the same political views)
Religion (too personal)
Weather (too boring)

 

Icebreakers
It's also good to have a few tricks up your sleeve to make small talk, or start a conversation with someone you’ve just met. Here are some openers that can help you out in a pinch.

The Compliment: “I love the necklace you’re wearing. I’ve never seen one like it. Is it a family heirloom?”

The Question: “Did you see the new episode of Lost last night? I missed it — can you tell me what happened?”

The Trivia Fact: “Do you know how many bubbles there are in a bottle of sparkling wine? 58 million.”

The Connection: “I saw you talking to X. earlier this evening. How do you know each other?”

If you're looking for a fun way to get your whole party talking, check out TableTopics, an intriguing and beautiful collection of conversation starters. Each TableTopic cube comes with 135 cards, each with a different thought-provoking question. Just pick one out and let the conversation begin! You can choose from 10 different editions, including Gourmet and Girls Night Out.