Most small talk revolves around the weather, “How did you get here?” or “What’s your job?” There’s only that much you can talk about the first two, and not everybody works. Asking different questions can subvert the expected, pique curiosity, and help both parties learn to listen deeper to each other. This forges a sense of connection and intimacy, without the risk of eroding someone else’s boundaries or giving too much information.
As an exercise in self-awareness that might bring you a few hearty laughs, consider your own responses to these questions. And if you are a Question Geek like me, you may have fun crafting questions that suit your style more.
Understandably, it may feel strange asking these questions initially. Start with the lightest ones, and then use the others in response to a conversational tidbit that the other party offers.
Most importantly, remember that the people who make their craft look effortless have practiced for thousands of hours. So, use each opportunity to refine the art of having fascinating conversations. And reap the rewards that come from deeper connections.