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:
    1. “You mentioned that you volunteer with Big Brothers—have you always done that?”
    2. “I noticed your purse is handwoven—did you make it?”
    3. “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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