Make a Mood Match #
Try and detect your target's mood by their voice and expression as early as possible. Matching this, even if just for a moment, will make you more persuasively.
Prosaic with Passion #
Small talk and conversation topics are far less important than how you say it. More important is an empathetic mood, a positive demeanor, and passionate delivery. The content is fine as long as it's not complaining, rude, or unpleasant.
Always Wear a Whatzit #
At gatherings, wear something unusual so others have an excuse to approach you if needed. They can simply walk up and ask what that thing you have is, like an interesting button.
A great way to meet others at gatherings is simply asking the host to make an introduction, and possibly get some interesting info on them to use for icebreakers.
Eavesdrop In #
If the above two tips can't work, simply hover near your target and listen for a conversational opening. Once one arrives, jump in and say "Excuse me, I couldn't help but overhear..." They'll be taken aback for a second but it'll soon be forgotten.
Never the Naked City #
People will ask where you're from, and never give a one-word answer. Learn interesting facts about your hometown to keep the small talk going. If you can, choose the ones you share based on whose listening.
Never the Naked Job #
Same as the above, but when asked about your profession. Have interesting details, facts, or anecdotes about your job on hand.
Never the Naked Introduction #
When introducing two people, give one or both of them interesting facts about each other to push the conversation along. You can stick around or leave as you please.
Be a Word Detective #
Listen to your target's choice of words, since hints about what they want to talk about or other interests are bound to slip through. Change the topic to that as soon as you can.
The Swiveling Spotlight #
Whoever is talking is the one with the spotlight on them. The more you can keep it shining on the other person, the more they'll enjoy your company even if you say next to nothing about yourself.
If you're not sure how to continue a conversation, simply repeat the target's last few words in the form of a question. This gets them talking again, and doing this enough can draw out extra information you'd otherwise not know where to look for.
If you remember a story someone told you before and enjoyed recalling, ask them to tell it again for a suitable audience. Everyone loves an excuse to tell one of their best stories.
Accentuate the Positive #
Earlier in a relationship, save the skeletons in your closet for later. Focus on the positive and hide the negative.
The Latest News...Don't Leave Home Without It #
Knowing the latest news helps you both always have a few conversation topics on hands, and not be left behind when others are discussing current events. It's fine to just know the basics, or enough to contribute a few details.