Look for the other person's "hot buttons" in conversations.

Hot-button signals can notify us when we hit the jackpot on topics our listener wants to hear and is excited about. When we know their hot-button topics, conversations are much easier, as they’re more open to speaking about it.


  1. Create a conversation using hot buttons.
    Start looking for specific details on their choices, clothing, or accessories. For example, if they’re wearing a Star Wars shirt and you’re also a fan, strike up a conversation about that. Or, if they pick a particular wine, ask if they’re a wine aficionado. Here are other examples straight from the book:

    • “You mentioned that you volunteer with Big Brothers—have you always done that?”
    • “I noticed your purse is handwoven—did you make it?”
    • “They lean in to catch more of what your saying.”
  2. Continue using/looking for the person’s hot buttons in conversations.
    People love talking about what they care about. So make sure to look for the following to know you pushed a hot button (and of course, continue with that line of conversation!):

    • They show excitement by bobbing their head up and down and saying, “Yeah!” or, “Yes!”
    • They agree with you with “Mmm-hmm.”
    • They lean in to catch more of what your saying.
    • They write a longer than expected email.
    • They say, “Huh!” or, “Wow!” when surprised about a topic.
    • They raise their eyebrows, which shows they’re curious about something.
    • They use lively gestures.


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