How To Talk To People

By SimonT

 	So you're stuck for something to say - a complete stranger and you've
	got to  make conversation.  The weather's completely exhausted as a
	topic, so is "What do you do?"  and "Where is that?",  "Live over here?" 
	and everything else you can possibly think of short of the important
	questions "Would you like to have a brief but memorable sexual encounter
	with my good self?",  or,  for the more casual of persons:  "Wanna
	ROOT?".   You need something to bridge the gap from point A. "Questions
	that you don't care about the answers to" and point B. "Oh PLEASE PLEASE

	So what do you say?

	In  communication,  professional  conversationalists  (Insurance Agents,
	Professional Salespeople, etc, etc) use a technique called OPEN ENDED
	QUESTIONS; that is,  questions  that  cannot be answered with "Yes" or
	"No".  For instance, "Have you thought about life insurance?"  is  a 
	close-ended  question, whereas "Where  do  you  think the greatest risk
	to your livelihood resides?"  is  open ended,  and  forces  the other
	person into speaking for a time, giving you some more  information 
	about  themselves  and what they're interested in.  The next step is
	then to head for the common ground  -  a topic you both know about, and
	from the the conversation will bloom!

	For instance, here's an example of my after dinner chat when I'm trying
	to pick  up that special someone for a deep and meaningful 5 minutes of
	sexual encounter.

	Me:     How was the meal?
	She:    It was fine.	

	[I go in with my open ended question:]

	Me:     Where do you think the greatest risk to your livelihood resides?
	She:    Sod off Jerk!

	This happens several times a night,  and  I'm seriously thinking of
	studying my  Insurance salesperson more,  because  his  conversations 
	always seem to last a little longer...

	Anyway, say you want to be creative and think up your own questions.

	Well, a general guideline is to start your sentence with a W word. 
	These are: WHAT,  WHEN,  WHERE,  HOW  and  WHY.   The  more
	sophisticated amongst you are probably already aware that one of the
	words mentioned above is not a "W" word and are  nudging each other in a
	rich, protestant way and making "tsk" noises, which  is  an  easier 
	word  to type than say.    For you I will demonstrate a further example
	of an open ended "W" question:

	"Why don't you go and stick your head in a pig?"

	Ok!  Now back to the conversation skills again.  Think about them and
	practice them where-ever possible, except on the bus with a person who
	smells of rotten vegetables and leaky bladder infections  -  Practise on
	people who you WISH to talk to.  If, however,  you wish  to  "pick up" 
	a person with a leaky bladder infection, disregard this last sentence
	and advance straight to GO;  there  is nothing further I can do for you.

	For you other 5 people, here's a vague list of open ended questions to avoid:

	Exactly What is that fungus growing on your teeth?
	Which STD's do you think I've personally experienced?
	Where did you get such an ugly face?
	How would someone go about picking up a social retard like yourself?

	Anyway, you can play around with it for a while, and then when you've
	finished, practice some questions as well.

	But for now, I'm off like the social butterfly I am, to pick up a nice tasty	
	one night stand.  My lines are perfect:

	Me:     Hi there, is this seat taken?   (close-ended and non-threatening)
	She:    It's my friend's; at the bar...
	Me:     Thanks                          (sitting down)
	She:    {Nothing}
	Me:     So, Why exactly do you feel you need insurance policy?
	She:    Goodbye.  »Thwack«
	Me:     »thud!«
	Ambulance: »Wee Waa Wee Waa Wee Waa...«

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