Learn the FORD Method and You’ll Never Struggle to Make Small Talk Again

Use this foolproof system to keep a lively conversation going with just about anyone.

“Starting a conversation doesn’t have to be intimidating. The problem for many of us when it comes to talking to strangers is thinking up questions to keep the conversational ball rolling

However, it can be as easy as memorizing the acronym FORD

FORD stands for the four big topics of small talk–family, occupation, recreation, dreams–and it can guide you to come up with questions.

Some categories are better suited to some situations more than others, so consider the context before launching into your questions, lest you come across a bit robotic. For instance, if you’re making small talk with strangers in a professional context, it’s usually best to avoid questions that get too personal—like those about their families and relationships. But if you’re attending a holiday dinner with your partner’s family and you know their sister has a daughter, it’s probably fine to ask how she’s doing.”

Read on for specific examples of questions and guidance at inc.com and lifehacker.com.

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