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Focusing on yourself seems smarter and easier, but it’s short-sighted.

It’s ignoring the huge benefit of cooperation.


Ask open-ended questions, asking people’s thoughts.
Ask them to elaborate on whatever they’ve said.
Show that you’re interested.
Allow silence.
Don’t fill it.
Silence gives space to think, and an invitation to contribute without pressure.

Small talk is just a way of matching the other person’s tone and mood.
It helps them be comfortable with you.