‘Secret’ to getting better at small talk, from an experienced TV journalist

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The ‘secret’ to getting better at small talk, according to a veteran TV journalist who made a career out of talking to strangers

SuChin Pak has made a career out of talking to celebrities – here’s her ‘secret’ to getting better at small talk
2 Thoughtful Questions to Use When There’s a Break in Conversation, According to an Experienced TV Journalist
Veteran TV Journalist SuChin Pak’s Favorite 2 Questions To Open Up People

It’s rare that SuChin Pak doesn’t know what to say to someone, but when it does, she has a “secret” to making a chat that everyone can use.

The veteran TV journalist has kept straight with some of the greatest pop culture icons of our time, from Beyonce to Britney Spears to Oprah. She began her career as an MTV News correspondent in 2001 and over the past two decades has covered everything from celebrity red carpets to multicultural teens to presidential elections and international relief efforts.

Her biggest tip for keeping a conversation going, no matter the setting? “Always keep a few questions in your back pocket that work for everyone,” Pak tells CNBC Make It.

Her two favorite questions to ask new acquaintances are, “What do you want people to get out of what you do?” and “How did you start doing X?”

The beauty of these questions is that they are universal enough to apply to anyone, but they can also get personal when people want to discuss their greatest passions and goals.

Moving from superficial chats to deep conversations can help you build trust, compatibility, and rapport with someone new.

Pak says she relies on these questions in case she has a “brain freeze” or if there is a pause in the conversation. Having them also helps her relax in the conversation, “because I don’t feel like I have to constantly think about the most intelligent thing I can say.”

It’s also helpful to remember that “people like to talk,” Pak adds. “You just have to listen.”

Checking out:

The best career advice from veteran TV journalist SuChin Pak: ‘Relax. Lots of fun’

Stop asking ‘how are you?’ Harvard researchers say this is what successful people do when they chat

People who are good at small talk always avoid these 7 mistakes, says public speaker

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