LPT: To avoid the awkwardness of small talk, ask open-ended questions instead of close-ended questions.

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why are you still a virgin and living at home


*Awkward silence as I try to think of an open-ended question*


Sales training 101 – never ask a question that can be answered with yes or no. **No**: do you want to buy one? **Yes**: How many would you like? Sales training 102 – your enthusiasm doesn’t matter, theirs does **No**: What do you do for a living? **Yes**: What do you do for fun? Then, LISTEN TO WHAT THEY ACTUALLY SAY. Don’t wait for them to stop speaking so you can say your part. What you say next must only ever be 100% based on what they just said. People respond to being heard and engaged with, rather than having a pitch delivered at them. Don’t rehearse or practice one-liners.


Great LPT and applicable in many different kinds of situations! To add to it, many great open-ended questions start with the 5 W’s: Who, what, when, where, and why (and how). Technically, “how long have you lived in the area” is an open-ended question since I requires a descriptive answer (not yes or no). While it might yield a short answer, it provides the asker with an opportunity to ask additional follow up questions, such as “What brought you to move here”, What do you like most about living here”, “Where did you move from?” Etc.