What Do You Talk About At a Cocktail Party? Top Recommendation: Take the European View

I recently saw this article on Fast Company, where I also blog, about top conversation starters — and I would say “keepers,” too. Celebrate the full person!

Hate Small Talk? These 5 Questions Will Help You Work Any Room” by Allison Graham

Here was my response:

Dear Allison,

What wonderful ideas! One way I look at it is to take a European View: Instead of talking about work, ask about what people are interested in. Often work for people is simply a job.

In America, we often use work as a “go-to” in our conversations. That’s not bad, as many of us are passionate about our work, or have been fortunate to find a calling.

Yet Europeans take a different view. They often enjoy life through a broader perspective: art, food, intellect, spending time together. Work is one component of life.

So instead I ask what people are interested in, what they love to do. People love to talk about this, and it may or may not involve work. They also appreciate being asked about themselves holistically as people.


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