Even the sparkiliest of us can use a little help with conversation sometimes, especially with new people, so we turned to the experts on this one -- how do some of the best interviewers in the world prevent the kinds of awkward silences that can kill a party's mood?
- Barbara Walters literally wrote the book on this (excellent summary here). We're stealing Truman Capote's method now whenever we're at all bored.
- Tips from Katie Couric, Terry Gross, and Jim Lehrer, among others. (Our favorite: being curious. Having an interesting find, story, or question for people to chat about makes a huge difference. For example, stumbling onto This American Life based on a friend's recommendation led us to one of our fallback questions when things are quiet: Would you rather be able to fly or be invisible? Episode link here.)
- And an example of why you should ask short questions and then let people talk!