Going for a Networking Event Soon? Learn the P.H.O.N.E Technique to Engage in Interesting Conversations and Establish Rapport With Anyone

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Ever found yourself in that awkward situation where the conversation hits a dead end?

Don’t let a lack of conversation starters hold you back.

Learn how to handle small talks without running out of topics through the P-H-O-N-E Technique.

In this blog post, see how you can maximise this technique to transform small talks into meaningful conversations.

What is the PHONE Technique?

PHONE is an acronym crafted by James Borg, the author of Persuasion.

You can use it in starting conversations without worrying about what topic to ask or talk about.

Instead of just guessing the next topic, this acronym serves as your guide.

Let’s break down each element of PHONE.

1. P – People

Discussing people is a timeless small talk topic.

Inquire about mutual acquaintances, colleagues, celebrities or friends.

Here are some examples:

  • “Who’s your favourite self-help book author?”
  • “Who is your favourite role model? Who do you look up to as a source of inspiration for yourself?”
  • “Which do you admire the most?”

2. H – Hobbies

Talk about shared interests or personal hobbies.

Discovering common ground builds connection.

It also opens avenues for deeper conversations.

Here are some illustrations:

  • “I’ve recently taken up hiking. Do you have any favourite outdoor activities? I’m on the lookout for new trails to explore.”
  • “What are your go-to hobbies when you need a break? I’ve been experimenting with cooking lately and attempting exotic recipes.”
  • “Are there any hobbies you’ve always wanted to try? I’m thinking of picking up photography and capturing moments seems like a satisfying skill.”

3. O – Occupation

Occupation is a classic topic for small talk.

You may ask about their work, challenges, or recent projects.

Here are some instances:

  • “What do you do for a living? I’ve always been fascinated by the world of marketing and how it influences consumer behaviour.”
  • “How did you end up in your current profession? I find career journeys intriguing. Mine has taken a few unexpected turns!”
  • “Any exciting projects happening at work? I recently started a new role, and it’s been both challenging and rewarding.”

4. N – News

Current events provide an endless source of conversation starters.

Staying updated on news ensures you’re equipped with timely and relevant topics.

  • “Have you heard about the latest breakthrough in technology? It’s reshaping industries and has sparked some interesting debates.”
  • “Any interesting news stories that have caught your eye recently? I stumbled upon a feature about a unique community project – quite inspiring.”
  • “What’s your take on the recent developments in [a relevant industry]? I’ve been following it closely, and it seems to be heading in an intriguing direction.”

5. E – Education

Discussing educational experiences can be enriching.

This opens the door to shared learning journeys.

  • “What university did you graduate from? What degree program did you finish?”
  • “Any favourite educational books or courses you’d recommend? I’m trying to broaden my knowledge on [a specific topic].”
  • “Did you have a favourite subject in school? I always found discussions around [a particular subject] to be incredibly engaging.”

Use the PHONE technique to manage small talk smoothly.

So, go ahead and start with small talk.

Watch your conversations become remarkable.

You Can Be a Conversation Starter

Keep a rich source of topics by becoming an avid reader.

Dive into books, blogs, newspapers, and even advertisements.

The more you know, the more effortlessly you can handle different conversation topics.

By the way, if you want to start developing your speaking confidence and effective communication skills, here are 3 ways we can help:

Express to Impress – A best-selling effective speaking book where you’ll learn speaking techniques that you can use to speak confidently at work, training or any other speaking occasion. Written based on 13 years of real-world experience.

Effective Speaking Survival Guide – A 6-step online video training. Discover how to go from average to being able to speak confidently by learning how to turn your smartphone into your personal coach.

Contagious Communicator – A comprehensive online training with over 102 video lessons. Designed to help you master the 8 core foundations of effective speaking and learn techniques to conquer your fear of speaking in front of a group or crowd.

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