Three Tips for Small Talk and Casual Conversation

“A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he knows something.”
Wilson Mizner

One of the more challenging aspects of entrepreneurship for engineers is the need to be able to engage in “small talk” and casual conversation with strangers. I have three suggestions that go to state of mind more than tactics:

  1. Relax. It’s not a test or a contest, it’s more like solving a puzzle together: what can we discover that we have in common.
  2. Have a sense of warm curiosity about the other person. Ask open ended questions.
  3. Be forthcoming: share details from your recent experiences and your reaction to them.

“The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit.”
Somerset Maugham

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