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Biz tip of the week: 5 ways to connect with anyone

Biz tip of the week: 5 ways to connect with anyone

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It is hard to connect with someone if the conversation feels forced, boring, or filled with awkward silence. One person who has mastered the gift of effective small talk is Joe Rogan.

His podcast is one of the most viewed in the world. Rogan employs a few tricks to connect with academics, athletes and celebrities alike. These are documented in Charisma on Command’s YouTube video.

First, grease the wheels early with a genuine compliment. This puts everyone at ease and introduces a positive vibe. Three categories to focus on include their work, energy level or a platonic physical compliment. Between these options, you can complement almost anyone.

Smooth transitions between topics will prevent the dreaded awkward silence. When the time is right, ask yourself, “what does this remind me of?” Then lateral the conversation toward the new topic.

For example, Rogan interviewed a celebrity who sported an impressive, full beard, and complimented him on it. The conversation moved to related topics like grooming tips and Rogan’s unwanted back hair. The conversation reminded Rogan of a professional wrestler who was covered with body hair. Rogan then asked, “who is the professional wrestler with hair all over his body?” The guest mentioned a few names and the conversation automatically evolved toward wrestling and mixed martial arts.

Listen to the other person and ask good follow-up questions. If they recently moved, what do they like most about living there? When they mention their profession, how did they choose that line of work? If they talk about scuba diving, what is the best dive they have ever been on? Their responses will usually indicate what is important to them and will provide additional topics to talk about.

Finally, a genuine laugh will put the other person at ease. Finding common shared interests to discuss really helps, too.

With a little practice, all of us can connect with virtually anyone.

Bill Nordbrock is vice president of community relations for SCORE Southern Arizona, a nonprofit that offers free small-business counseling. For more information, go to or send an email to

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