Strike up a conversation with a stranger.
- Say hi to a stranger.
Start simply, perhaps with the shared experience of waiting to see a doctor or being stuck on the morning commute. Or, you could try to find common interests - for example, if someone has a Chicago Cubs ball cap you could ask if they went to a recent game.
- Listen attentively rather than interrogate to learn something about the person
Personal questions like “What do you do for a living?” will make people feel like you are sizing them up. More often than not, they will become defensive.
- Share something about yourself when it feels appropriate
Be open to sharing something which elevates the conversation from chit-chat. People connect over shared experiences.
- Keep talking as long as the conversation flows
If the conversation feels stilted or the other person is uncomfortable, don’t push it. You can try another day or try later with someone else.
- Next time you are commuting, repeat this exercise again
Repeat whenever you have the opportunity. The more you do it, the more you grow your listening skills.
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