"Where did you get that purse/necklace/shoes/whatever?" It shows interest, and who doesn't like having their taste admired?
With older people, I like to ask what their favorite pet was like. I found that suggestion in a book years ago, and it does work very well. Quite often, they have photos.
I don't know that I ask a question to get started....I usually just introduce myself and what brought me to the event we are at?
How are you?
I know, it's not creative, but I usually go from the answer.
It all depends on the event where we are at. Sometimes I'll ask them, "what brought you to our club, or event? We are so happy to have you join us." A lot of the time, I just introduce myself and ask their name and if they live locally?
"I love your... " shoes, blouse, whatever.
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