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12 Magic Phrases to Make People Like You More (and End Awkward Small Talk for Good)

By Bill Murphy Jr. for Inc….

Small talk. It’s a challenge. It’s even harder now, after so many people have scaled back their human interactions during the pandemic.

However, we have some good news. Small talk fills an important need, and it turns out that you can learn to make it come more naturally, and even prompt other people to like you as a result.

There’s a hard way to do this and an easy way. I prefer the easy way, which involves memorizing specific phrases that fill awkward silences and prime other people to feel good about you.

Here are a dozen proven phrases that work more often than not. I’ll especially be interested to hear what readers think of numbers 7, 8, and 12.

1. “Can I be honest with you?”

This is a milder version of a favorite phrase, which comes directly from the 1987 movie, The Untouchables: “Let me pay you the compliment of being blunt.”

Either way, honesty is usually a compliment.

2. “I think you’re going to find this interesting … “

My wife’s uncle was a master salesman, and I got an insight into his technique once when he used this phrase pointedly.

In short, he teed up what he planned to say with a preface that suggested it would be interesting or enjoyed by the other person. It worked; it caught people’s interest, and I’ve used it dozens of times ever since, almost always to good effect.

3. “Can I ask a favor?”

This one might be counterintuitive, as you’re requesting something from someone you might not even know all that well.

But, asking for help pays a compliment to the other person, and used deftly, it’s powerful. Ben Franklin wrote about this more than 250 years ago.

4. “Can I get your opinion on something?”

Related to the above. People like to talk about their opinions, and here you’ve explicitly asked them to share.

You’ve also given them an “out” if their opinion is an unpopular one: “You literally just asked me!” 

For the rest, click here.

Image by user1505195587 from Pixabay

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