Re: How do people start conversations with people they've never talked to before?
If we are talking general social interactions I would say the easiest is probably going based on context. Say you are at a concert, you could just start by commenting something along the lines of "I love this bit!" and see if you can spark a conversation then.
It is increasingly awkward to approach women especially since they seem to have an increasingly lower threshold for getting "creeped out".
Also there are new laws (totally unenforceable but whatever) in some countries that (theoritically) prevent men from approaching random women to begin with.
What are those laws?
And in an honest answer to your question, it's really easy. Just say hi.
It comes across as creepy if you stare at her for ages, creep over, stammer, stumble over your words, and say "I like the smell of your hair".
But if you just walk over like you own the place, say hi, say something interesting about what's going on (maybe you laughingly say "did any of that make no sense at all or was it just me?" in a lecture or class situation) and look cheerful.
Some girls are bitches and will brush you off. Some wont. Most will be friendly back.
I am not OP, I was replying to him, telling him the easiest way is to start the interaction by using the current context. There are other ways but this is by far the easiest.
There is the recent "anti-harassment law" in France for example; media called it "anti cat calling" or "anti wolf whistling"... Essentially it is worded in such a way that if a woman feels even vaguely uncomfortable in your presence you could be fined.
Ironically the woman who authored this law has been caught publishing (under a pen name) "romance stories" involving rape fantasies...
To add further irony many french women actually do not like this law because it makes them "seem even less approachable"...