A great way to start a conversation is by complimenting someone to. For example, you might say, “By the way Susan that was an excellent presentation you gave today.”
Tell someone you like his new car, his shoes, his hair or the way he talks and you will have set the scene for a friendly chat.
It is very hard for anyone to resist positive feedback. We all love to hear sincere compliments and we then feel compelled to treat the giver of the compliment favorably.