I love meeting new people and I love small talk, but many people despise it and frankly don’t know how to do it well. According to Harvard researchers here is how successful people master small talk.

First off – don’t ever use generic starters like, ‘How are you?” or talk about the weather. Instead try the ACT strategy, which stands for: Authenticity, Connection and Taste (as in give someone a taste of who you are).

I want to take it one step further and suggest the FACT approach. Fun, Authenticity, Connection and Taste.

Fun – why not comment on something they’re wearing or bring up some silly fact only you know, keep it real, forge a real Connection – use eye contact and non verbal cues, and choose an interesting topic that gives a sense of who you are.
Authenticity – keep it real and don’t fake who you are.
Connection – stay in the moment, don’t let your eyes wander to the next person you plan to meet at the party. Be with the person you’re with. Open your eyes before you open your mouth.
Taste – choose a topic to talk about that gives the listener a sense of who you are and is outside of your ‘job.’

Researchers found that people who asked thoughtful questions and not the typical – how are you? How is the weather, etc. were more likeable.

So take the extra time and don’t ever think of ‘small talk’ as insignificant. It’s often your first impression with a person and you have the power to be the most likeable version of yourself.

What is your favorite question to ask a new acquaintance and spark great conversation?